A new collaboration to identify and validate clinical targets in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) was recently announced by Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceutical Company, Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet, and the Structural Genomics Consortium, a public-private charity.
The collaboration involves the creation of a translational medicine research team with scientists and clinicians from Takeda, Karolinska University Hospital, and SGC. The researchers will aim to develop innovative disease models using tissue samples from a large and well-characterized IBD patient group.
This will allow the testing of high-quality compounds from SGC and Takeda, which will provide information on potential cellular targets and biological pathways for the treatment of diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
“At Takeda, we take a patient centric and ‘human first’ research approach that focuses our thinking on unmet patient needs and prioritizes studies in human tissues to advance our understanding of the biology of gastrointestinal (GI) diseases,” Gareth Hicks, PhD, head of the GI Drug Discovery Unit at Takeda, said in a press release.
Hicks said the partnership with Karolinska and the SGC “is a critical element of our effort toward discovering and assessing new approaches to the treatment of IBD.”
The agreement states that Takeda will provide funding for the research developed over a three-year period. To maximize the impact of the collaboration, Takeda, Karolinska, and SGC will make all reagents and knowledge available to the research community in the early stages of the joint project.
However, in the proprietary arm of the collaboration, data will be exclusively used by Takeda, which will link patients with the appropriate drug candidates, discover new patient subpopulations, and study the biological mechanisms involved in the onset and progression of IBD.
“At Karolinska, we have created patient-based assays for systemic autoimmune disease, and the interest this project has captured among patients and industry has encouraged us to expand the program to include IBD,” said Michael Sundström, PhD, scientific director of European Initiatives at SGC.
The SGC currently has active research facilities in six leading biomedical institutions, including Karolinska. Sundström also highlighted the expectation that “disease models based on primary human samples will prove superior to commonly used models since they more accurately represent the disease.”
“The collaboration with Takeda is of high strategic and medical importance to Karolinska Institutet and to the medical community in general,” said Kristina Broliden, head of the Department of Medicine Solna at Karolinska. Boliden is also a professor and senior consultant at the Unit of Infectious Diseases at Karolinska and Clinic of Infectious Diseases, Karolinska University Hospital.
Boliden expressed her desire that the new collaborative model “can be expanded to additional pharmaceutical partners for additional diseases. The causes of IBD are poorly understood, and with our partnership we will combine our joint resources to tackle this growing medical problem, ultimately paving the way for the development of new, more specific and efficient treatments.”