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Drug Discovery

Drug Discovery

Ruben Papoian, PhD, Director of UC's Drug Discovery Center

Sandra Nelson, PhD, of UC's Drug Discovery Center

Drug Discovery
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Publish Date: 08/11/09
Media Contact: AHC Public Relations, (513) 558-4553
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University, Lilly Partnership May Aid Drug Discovery

CINCINNATI—The University of Cincinnati (UC) has become a partner institution with Eli Lilly and Company’s Phenotypic Drug Discovery Initiative.

Also called PD2, this initiative allows university and biotech researchers to submit for evaluation compounds that have therapeutic potential in the areas of Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, diabetes and osteoporosis. The submitted compounds will be analyzed by PD2 scientists who will first evaluate the novelty of the compound. If deemed of sufficient interest, Lilly will then ask the researcher to submit a sample of the compound for a complete biological profile.

Universities and their researchers entering into the PD2 partnership retain full intellectual property rights to their work. If PD2 scientists determine a compound to be of particular interest, Lilly will get first rights to negotiate a collaboration or licensing agreement with the university. If no agreement is made, faculty researchers still retain full rights to their data and the PD2 report, and can use it in grant proposals or publications.

“This new relationship with Lilly’s PD2 program is mutually beneficial,” says Ruben Papoian, PhD, director of UC’s Drug Discovery Center. “They get to examine unique structures for therapeutic potential, and, in turn, we get a biological profile, which can be quite expensive to do independently.

“This initiative also gives us a transparent connection to a major pharmaceutical company in our region and could lead to real collaboration.”

While university and pharmaceutical partnerships are not new, the PD2 initiative may make it easier for a wider range of academic scientists to connect the industry in the drug discovery process.

“Many traditional collaboration models with pharmaceutical companies involve select investigator or institution relationships,” says Alan Palkowitz, PhD, vice president of discovery chemistry research and technologies at Lilly. “PD2 is unique in that it casts a very wide net in reaching out to universities, research institutes and small biotechs across the globe. The fact of the matter is that excellent science is neither tied to a research center's size or location. Lilly believes the approach it is taking with PD2 will maximize the probability of success in identifying new collaborative partnerships and innovative molecules.”

UC researchers interested in accessing PD2 should contact Geoffrey Pinski, JD, associate director in UC's intellectual property office, or Lynn Briggs, UC licensing associate. 

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