Takeda Partners With Universities on Research Into GI and Liver Disorders

Takeda Partners With Universities on Research Into GI and Liver Disorders
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Takeda Pharmaceuticals has entered a five-year research collaboration with New York University and Columbia University to discover and develop new therapies for people with gastrointestinal and liver disorders.

Gut inflammation, which underlies several medical conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and celiac disease, is among the target areas of interest.

The collaborative research alliance will take advantage of Takeda’s research, development, and funding capabilities to boost existing gastroenterology research and early-stage technologies at NYU and Columbia.

The pharmaceutical company will fund the most promising and innovative projects, which, if successful, may be eligible for additional funding for larger studies.

“Takeda looks forward to working together with the universities to successfully bring forth the most innovative, differentiated ideas to design and translate early research into therapeutics for patients with significant unmet liver and gastrointestinal disorders,” Gareth Hicks, PhD, head of Takeda’s gastrointestinal drug discovery unit, said in an NYU press release.

“Through this unique partnership between academia and industry, our goal is to develop better [therapies] for common yet debilitating diseases of the liver and gastrointestinal system that are not well managed by existing therapies,” said Nigel Bunnett, PhD, professor and chair of the department of molecular pathobiology at NYU College of Dentistry, who will lead the collaboration at the university.

Notably, Bunnett and other NYU and Columbia researchers were recently part of an international team that identified a promising target for chronic pain relief in IBD. Published earlier this year in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the preclinical study also described how the researchers used tiny particles to successfully deliver a therapy to this target, resulting in long-lasting pain suppression.

Timothy Wang, MD, who will lead the collaboration at Columbia, hopes the alliance will “accelerate breakthroughs made in research labs, with a goal of shortening the time it takes to turn initial scientific discoveries into readily available therapeutics that benefit patients.” Wang is the Silberberg professor of medicine and the GI division chief at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians & Surgeons.

The research group is currently seeking proposals from NYU and Columbia investigators for one-year pilot studies aligned with Takeda’s target areas of interest. In addition to gut inflammation, these include liver disease and motility disorders, such as nausea, vomiting, and bowel incontinence.

The company is also looking for ways to improve translational and clinical research, as well as innovations in cell and gene therapy, and therapy delivery systems.

Project selection will be made by a joint research committee composed of representatives from Takeda, NYU, and Columbia. The first round of pilot studies is expected to begin this fall.

“It’s an exciting opportunity to cultivate projects in the lab and hopefully translate them into promising clinical treatments,” Bunnett said.

Takeda will have the option to license intellectual property developed through this research alliance.

Marta Figueiredo holds a BSc in Biology and a MSc in Evolutionary and Developmental Biology from the University of Lisbon, Portugal. She is currently finishing her PhD in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Lisbon, where she focused her research on the role of several signalling pathways in thymus and parathyroid glands embryonic development.
Total Posts: 30
Joana holds a BSc in Biology, a MSc in Evolutionary and Developmental Biology and a PhD in Biomedical Sciences from Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal. Her work has been focused on the impact of non-canonical Wnt signaling in the collective behavior of endothelial cells — cells that made up the lining of blood vessels — found in the umbilical cord of newborns.
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Marta Figueiredo holds a BSc in Biology and a MSc in Evolutionary and Developmental Biology from the University of Lisbon, Portugal. She is currently finishing her PhD in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Lisbon, where she focused her research on the role of several signalling pathways in thymus and parathyroid glands embryonic development.
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