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Biogen joins Center for Therapeutic Target Validation

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Biogen has joined the Center for Therapeutic Target Validation (CTTV), a public-private collaboration to improve the success rate for discovering new medicines. Originally formed by GlaxoSmithKline, the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), the CTTV fosters deep, ongoing interactions between academic and industry members for the purpose of developing open, transformative approaches to selecting and validating novel targets in drug development.

The CTTV uses advances in genetic research and computational biology to help scientists with the crucial first step in exploring new medicines: finding where to start. Target validation, an exercise that clearly defines the role that a biological process plays in a disease, is a key initial phase of drug discovery. Currently, an estimated 90% of compounds entering clinical trials fail to demonstrate the necessary efficacy and safety requirements, never reaching patients as medicines. This is often because the biological target chosen is not well understood.

“We are committed to advancing evidence-based target discovery and opening up the field for researchers to create innovative methods and tools to accelerate the development of new medicines,” said Sally John, vice president, Computational Biology & Genomics at Biogen. “Being part of the CTTV helps us realize this vision and provides a practical, harmonized way to share data with the scientific community.”

Biogen’s new membership follows the launch of the new CTTV Target Validation Platform, which helps researchers identify therapeutic targets for new medicines. Underscoring its utility for drug discovery, the platform has had over 9000 visits since its launch in December 2015.

Philip Ma, vice president, Digital Health Technology & Data Sciences at Biogen, said, “The importance of accessing and managing searchable, structured data is critical to sharing knowledge on target validation.”

Jeffrey Barrett, CTTV director, said “The pre-competitive nature of CTTV is critical: the collaboration of our members allows us to make the most of commercial R&D practice while making the data and information available to everyone. It is truly exciting to apply so many different areas of expertise, from cell biology to large scale genome analysis, to the challenge of creating better medicines.”

The CTTV covers all aspects of human health and disease. The cornerstone of the collaboration is an agreement that experimental data and information gathered within the CTTV will be shared to benefit the broader scientific community, after basic quality control checks to ensure consistency with the data-sharing guidelines of both institutes. The CTTV welcomes new interest from companies and academic institutions that wish to accelerate the discovery of drug targets through open innovation.

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