Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute has signed a three-year collaboration agreement with Pfizer to identify therapeutic targets for preventing and treating complications of obesity and diabetes. The team will utilize novel screening tools including systems-biology approaches and technologies developed at Sanford-Burnham with the aim of discovering therapeutic strategies for reducing insulin resistance in obesity and diabetes.
Multi-disciplinary teams will collaborate to identify and validate targets for drug discovery. The collaboration combines Sanford-Burnham's expertise in fundamental disease biology and muscle metabolism with Pfizer's expertise in drug discovery. Investigators will utilize Sanford-Burnham's Conrad Prebys Center for Chemical Genomics to screen for new relevant targets using investigational compounds from Pfizer as well as evaluate compounds previously identified from the NIH chemical library. Once the screening identifies compounds of interest, scientists will collaborate to characterize and further study the "hit" compounds to understand their mechanism of action. These compounds will then be used as "probes" to identify novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of diabetes.
The Prebys Center houses Sanford-Burnham's screening facility established to accelerate the rate of commercialization of basic research in an independent medical research setting. Sanford-Burnham's drug discovery capabilities include ultra-high throughput screening, high-content screening, phenotypic screening and target deconvolution technologies.
"Diabetes presents an enormous public health burden. There is an acute need to translate innovative science into potential new medicines for people living with this disease," said Tim Rolph, vice president and head of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases Research Unit at Pfizer.
"This collaboration focuses our scientific and translational firepower on a major medical problem—complications of obesity-related diabetes. We can more quickly bridge the gap between basic and translational research," said Stephen Gardell, Ph.D., senior director of scientific resources at Sanford-Burnham.