SEATTLE — Feb. 21, 2018 — A new research alliance between Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the University of Washington and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Ltd. aims to accelerate drug discovery in diseases with widespread need for novel treatments or cures, including cancer, gastrointestinal diseases, and neurological disorders.
The alliance, called The Seattle Partnership for Research on Innovative Therapies, or SPRInT, is intended to take biological targets that show early promise in the lab and accelerate them toward clinical applications.
“Takeda seeks to collaborate with the best scientists around the globe to deliver innovative treatments for patients across our three core therapeutic areas of GI, neuroscience and oncology,” said Dr. Steve Hitchcock, head of research at Takeda. “We are excited to partner with Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington, and leverage our collective capabilities to accelerate the discovery of scientific breakthroughs in the lab and deliver them to patients.”
The exchange will allow researchers at Fred Hutch and UW to collaborate with an industry partner to take promising biological targets associated with disease to the next step to develop candidate drugs into potential treatments for patients.
“Our partnership with Takeda is designed to allow each of us to bring our best skills sets together to accelerate development of the next generation of cancer cures,” said Dr. Gary Gilliland, president and director of Fred Hutch. “We have a range of innovative programs in our pipeline, and our scientists are eager to move their work from the proof-of-principle stage and toward treatments to help patients.”
It takes at least a decade for a new medicine to evolve from a finding in a research lab through clinical trials and approval as a treatment by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The new alliance with Takeda will expedite the development process by bringing the company’s scientists into closer collaboration with researchers at the Hutch and UW.
“In addition to our long-standing collaboration with Fred Hutch in the area of cancer research, UW faculty are at the forefront of basic science research aimed at improving therapeutic opportunities for patients suffering from debilitating central nervous system and GI disorders,” said Dr. John Slattery, UW Medicine vice dean for research and graduate education. “This collaboration will help move this research forward.”
The agreement allows Fred Hutch and UW Medicine scientists access to Takeda’s drug discovery capabilities, such as expertise in commercial-grade research and development planning.
A joint research committee comprised of Takeda, Fred Hutch and UW leadership representatives will select several ongoing research projects to be supported over the 3-year agreement. The alliance can be renewed after the first three years.
At Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, home to three Nobel laureates, interdisciplinary teams of world-renowned scientists seek new and innovative ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening diseases. Fred Hutch’s pioneering work in bone marrow transplantation led to the development of immunotherapy, which harnesses the power of the immune system to treat cancer. An independent, nonprofit research institute based in Seattle, Fred Hutch houses the nation’s first National Cancer Institute-funded cancer prevention research program, as well as the clinical coordinating center of the Women’s Health Initiative and the international headquarters of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network.