On January 31, Sanford-Burnham, Florida Hospital and Takeda Pharmaceuticalcelebrated their new research alliance with a signing ceremony steeped in Japanese tradition. Representatives from each organization met at Sanford-Burnham’s Lake Nona campus in Orlando to sign the agreement and exchange gifts.The drawing of one “eye” on a Daruma doll held special significance for the Japanese scientists. As Takeda executives explained, at the start of a new undertaking, partners color in one eye of the doll. Later, if discovery efforts are successful — isolating a new target or a good lead compound — the team will fill in the remaining eye. Dr. Paul Chapman, general manager of Takeda’s research division, joked that the particularly large doll was symbolic of the big challenges ahead. Takeda, the largest pharmaceutical company in Japan, is committed to discovering new therapeutics to treat obesity and diabetes.
“We are delighted to have found the world-class talent that we are seeking here in Central Florida,” Dr. Chapman said.
Dr. Daniel Kelly, Sanford-Burnham’s scientific director at Lake Nona, called the alliance a “new age partnership” and described the collaborative skill set of the Institute’s discovery research, Florida Hospital’s translational know-how and Takeda’s drug development expertise as a paradigm shift.
The two-year, collaborative agreement includes research to discover and evaluate new therapeutic approaches to obesity, a growing worldwide health problem. Dr. Steven Smith, scientific director of the Translational Research Institute, located at Florida Hospital, will oversee the patient-oriented research component of the Takeda partnership. For Takeda, this collaboration represents one of the largest and most ambitious discovery research partnerships that it has conducted with the not-for-profit sector.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported last week that the number of people with diabetes in the U.S. continued to grow in 2010. More than 90 percent of those patients have type 2 diabetes, a disease for which obesity is a contributing factor.
Read more from the Orlando Sentinel: “It’s On! Japanese drug company and Orlando researchers formally sign deal“.