Major Drug Firms to Collaborate on Research

The Battelle Drug Discovery CoLaborative is designed to bring big pharmaceutical and biotech firms together to bring new drugs to market more quickly.

Battelle, a global leader in health care research and development, unveiled a unique and innovative collaboration model that will enhance the efficiency of the pharmaceutical industry's drug discovery efforts.

The Battelle Drug Discovery CoLaborative, or CoLab, is a novel way to bring together a variety of industry-leading companies to deliver the highest quality of mid- to late-stage drug discovery services through a single, integrated approach. The overall goal of the CoLab and Battelle's Drug Discovery Science offering is to de-risk drug candidates earlier in the discovery phase, which could potentially save significant time and money for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

The CoLab is a unique approach that brings together external collaborators who are experts in their specific fields with Battelle's internal expertise to provide the best research available for the mid- to late-stage discovery phase of pharmaceutical research. The execution of all these services within the CoLab provides consistency, accountability and the ability to condense the development timeline.

Battelle is making the announcement at the Cambridge Healthtech Institute's 11th Annual World Pharma Congress being held in Philadelphia, June 5-7.

"This advanced approach to drug discovery -- and the foresight our leaders have shown in the development of the CoLab -- displays Battelle's leadership and commitment to improving global health through innovative ideas," said Barbara Kunz, President of Battelle's Health and Life Sciences. "Battelle is one of the few organizations that can bring industry experts together to work toward a common cause of improving the efficiency and cost of pharmaceutical development."

In addition to Battelle, the CoLab will include Zenas Technologies, a pioneering contract research organization, which was the first to offer ion channel assays. Zenas Technologies specializes in accurate, predictive good laboratory practices (GLP) and non-GLP assays and in-depth analysis, with particular expertise in the central nervous system and cardiovascular area, including hERG. The CoLab will strengthen Battelle's existing external collaborations with The Ohio State University's Wright Center of Innovation in Biomedical Imaging, which offers large-scale in vivo imaging capabilities, and Molecular Imaging, Inc., which offers small-scale, multi-modality in vivo imaging services.

The CoLab will enhance efficiency by aligning multiple drug discovery providers in a single, cohesive process. For example, a pharmaceutical company that requires Zenas to perform a hERG assay can seamlessly pass the project along through Battelle's cardiac safety assessment service, providing the unique ability to offer in vitro and in vivo expertise under one roof at Battelle's headquarters in Columbus.

Participants in the CoLab benefit from information sharing and increased visibility made possible by the collaboration of multiple providers working together. The CoLab will expand to include additional collaborators that offer differentiated services for drug discovery efforts, such as on hepatotoxicity and immunotoxicity.

Another component of Battelle's Drug Discovery Science is its systems toxicology approach to assess latent drug-induced cardiac effects. Drug candidates' cardiac toxicity have been a major source of frustration and wasted investment for many pharmaceutical companies. Brian Roche, Ph.D. in Cardiovascular Physiology and Battelle's Manager of Safety Pharmacology, will present "The Tell Tale Heart: Integration of Whole Heart Energetics, Proteomics, and Function to Assess Cardiac Toxicity in the Isolated Heart" during the World Pharma Congress's Predicting Drug-Induced Toxicity track on June 5. The presentation describes Battelle's unique efforts to uncover latent cardiac effects much earlier than current methods.

In addition to cardiac safety, other services offered by Battelle's Drug Discovery Science include:
      
        --  Bioinformatics
        --  Biomarkers and in vitro assays
        --  Non-GLP in vivo studies
        --  Immuno and infectious disease models
        --  Efficacy testing
        --  Imaging
        --  Engineering and bioengineering
        --  Drug delivery

"Our integrated systems biology and systems toxicology approach is aimed at defining the critical pathways involved with organ system failures," said Dr. Michael Holsapple, Senior Research Leader and the Chief Scientist for the Battelle Drug Discovery CoLaborative. "This approach to drug discovery is designed to improve the efficiency of the process by helping our clients make smarter decisions when it comes to de-risking and advancing drug candidates. We are taking a big step forward to a new model of assessing the safety and efficacy of drug candidates."

About Battelle

As the world's largest independent research and development organization, Battelle provides innovative solutions to the world's most pressing needs through its four global businesses: Laboratory Management; National Security; Health and Life Sciences; and Energy, Environment and Material Sciences. It advances scientific discovery and application by conducting $6.5 billion in global R&D annually through contract research, laboratory management and technology commercialization. Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Battelle oversees 22,000 employees in more than 130 locations worldwide, including eight national laboratories for which Battelle has a significant management role on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the United Kingdom. Battelle also is one of the nation's leading charitable trusts focusing on societal and economic impact and actively supporting and promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.

Source: Battelle via MarketWatch

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