UCB announced today that it has launched a second collaborative research project with Harvard that builds upon the innovative Research Alliance signed between UCB and Harvard in 2011. The second research project comprises a collaboration with the laboratory of Junying Yuan, Ph.D., Professor of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School, aimed at driving translation and developing small molecule compounds for induction of autophagy, with potential applications in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.
Autophagy is best described as a mechanism the cell uses to auto-digest intracellular components. It is an evolutionarily conserved catabolic process, mediating the turnover of malfunctioning, aged or damaged proteins and organelles within cells. Autophagy is seen as an important regulator of many critical biological processes. Professor Junying Yuan has been at the forefront of molecular research for over two decades and has received numerous honors and awards in recognition of her work.
The research alliance between Harvard and UCB reflects UCB's open innovation model that aims to generate new knowledge and capitalize on external scientific advances, resources and expertise through dedicated collaborations that complement the company's unique internal capabilities and expertise.
"Harvard's academic excellence is an ideal fit with UCB's expertise in discovery research. Both Harvard and UCB share the same drive for scientific excellence and innovation to benefit patients and meet unmet health care needs," said Ismail Kola, President of UCB New Medicines, UCB's research and early development division. "We are delighted with our ongoing translational research collaboration with Harvard and are looking forward to further interactions with Harvard's world-class research enterprise in areas of mutual interest."
"We couldn't be more pleased about entering into this, our second innovative collaboration with UCB, which once again joins together leaders in academia and industry to advance pioneering research from the lab to the clinic," said Isaac T. Kohlberg, Harvard's Chief Technology Development Officer and head of its Office of Technology Development. "Harvard has a deep and abiding commitment to collaborate with industry in ways that push the boundaries of translational research and focus on developing next generation therapies that will make a difference and improve the lives of patients."
The first, ongoing research project funded under the Harvard-UCB alliance is a collaboration with Professor Gokhan S. Hotamisligil, M.D., Ph.D., Chair, Department of Genetics and Complex Diseases, Harvard School of Public Health, to generate and develop novel antibodies against an exciting target with potential application in a range of diseases including diabetes and other metabolic disorders.
For further information
Kristie Madara, U.S. Corporate Communications, UCB T +1.770.970.8726, Kristie.Madara@ucb.com
France Nivelle, Global Communications, UCB T +32.2.559.9178, France.Nivelle@ucb.com
Laurent Schots, Media Relations, UCB T +32.2.559.9264, Laurent.Schots@ucb.com
Notes to the editor
About UCB UCB, Brussels, Belgium (www.ucb.com) is a global biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of innovative medicines and solutions to transform the lives of people living with severe diseases of the immune system or of the central nervous system. With more than 8,500 people in about 40 countries, the company generated revenue of EUR 3.2 billion in 2011. UCB is listed on Euronext Brussels (symbol: UCB).
About Harvard University's Office of Technology Development The Harvard Office of Technology Development (OTD) is responsible for all activities pertaining to the evaluation, patenting and licensing of new inventions and discoveries made at Harvard University and Harvard Medical School. OTD also serves to further the development of Harvard technologies through the establishment of sponsored research collaborations with industry. OTD's mission is to promote the public good by fostering innovation and translating new inventions made at Harvard into useful products available and beneficial to society.
About the UCB-Harvard research alliance Under the collaborative alliance with Harvard, UCB is bringing its expertise on antibody generation and medicinal chemistry and providing up to $6 million in a multiyear agreement to fund specific innovative research projects led by Harvard scientists. Within the current collaboration agreement, two projects have been funded: one with Professor Gokhan S. Hotamisligil, M.D., Ph.D., Chair, Department of Genetics and Complex Diseases, Harvard School of Public Health in antibodies, the second recent one with Junying Yuan, Ph.D., Professor of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School in Autophagy. The collaboration focuses on Central Nervous System (CNS) and immunology, two key research domains for UCB.
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