Collaborating with Mayo Clinic to speed drug discovery

By Heather Buschman, Ph.D.
March 11, 2013

We announced today that we’ve signed a new collaborative agreement with Mayo Clinic to build a pipeline of therapeutic drugs aimed at a variety of diseases with serious unmet medical needs. Under this agreement, Mayo Clinic scientists will work with researchers in our Conrad Prebys Center for Chemical Genomics (Prebys Center) to conduct early-stage drug discovery, including assay development, high-throughput screening, and lead identification.

The agreement combines Mayo Clinic’s clinically relevant targets with our discovery platform in a translational initiative aimed at advancing a portfolio of projects through the initial stages of drug discovery. The new agreement builds on a yearlong pilot phase and expands the number and scope of drug discovery projects derived from Mayo Clinic researchers that are being conducted here at Sanford-Burnham.

“We’re looking forward to further engaging with our Mayo Clinic collaborators as we develop innovative screens to identify chemical compounds that modulate the activity of clinically relevant targets,” said Michael Jackson, Ph.D., vice president of drug discovery and development at Sanford-Burnham. “If successful, these compounds will form the basis of completely novel—‘first in class’—therapies for devastating diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, and others.”

In Sanford-Burnham’s Prebys Center, Jackson and a team of researchers—many of them recruited from the pharmaceutical industry—use state-of-the-art, ultra-high throughput screening systems to sift through the Institute’s compound library, recognized as one of the largest collections in the nonprofit research community.

“The Mayo Clinic-Sanford-Burnham collaboration provides an avenue for Mayo scientists to rapidly translate basic science discoveries into screening platforms that will enable new drug discovery, and a new paradigm in drug development,” said Andrew Badley, M.D., associate dean of research resources at Mayo Clinic.

Kristiina Vuori, M.D., Ph.D., Sanford-Burnham’s president and interim CEO, agreed, adding that “this collaborative model provides interactions between researchers with deep expertise in drug discovery technologies, basic research scientists and clinical scientists that will expedite the drug discovery process and offer a clinical outlet for testing potential new drugs.”


Media Contact:
Heather Buschman, Ph.D.
Phone: (858) 795-5343

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Heather Buschman, Ph.D.

Heather was an SBP Communications staff member.


1 Comment

  1. I wish that the amount of scientific research, time and money spent on creating drugs to cure diseases (which pharmeceutical companies reap huge profits) could be spent on causes and prevention of diseases. I think we would have a much healthier population. The over emphasis of “disease” based medicine overwhelms “health” care based medicine, which functions to maintain and enhance health. Both are needed but currently the “time, money and resources” are on the side of the “disease” model. How do we weigh in on the “health” side?

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