The three-year cooperative agreement will combine the research of Weill Cornell Medicine’s Department of Genetic Medicine in novel therapeutic concepts for airway repair in chronic airway diseases, with Boehringer Ingelheim’s expertise in respiratory disease therapies.
“Our continuous search for molecular drivers of chronic obstructive airway diseases has revealed novel repair mechanisms that warrant further investigation of their potential as therapeutic approaches,” Ronald G. Crystal, chairman of genetic medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine and lead investigator in the new collaboration, said in a press release.
“We will look to further expand our knowledge about progressive airway destruction in close collaboration with Boehringer Ingelheim and focus on promising therapeutic concepts with the potential to slow down or halt progressive airway damage in patients with COPD,” Crystal added.
With the partnership of Weill Cornell’s Office of BioPharma Alliances and Research Collaborations, Boehringer will try to create a stable environment for the development of next generation therapies. This new project adds another building block to the company’s long-term strategy to improve the quality of life of patients suffering from debilitating respiratory diseases, and enable them to maintain a more independent life.
“We are delighted to work with Dr. Crystal at Weill Cornell Medicine, who is one of the leading scientists in severe progressive airway diseases worldwide,” said Clive R. Wood, senior corporate vice president of discovery research at Boehringer Ingelheim.
“The scientists at Weill Cornell Medicine and Boehringer Ingelheim will work hand in hand to translate new discoveries into drug discovery and development programs at Boehringer Ingelheim,” he added. “The new collaboration is an excellent example of our unique partnering approach and our focus on early innovation, underscoring our ambition to develop the next generation of medical treatments for patients with COPD.”
Chronic lower respiratory diseases, primarily COPD, were the third leading cause of death in the United States in 2014, affecting almost 15.7 million Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). COPD has no cure, and currently available therapies are aimed at reducing symptoms and preventing exacerbations to help improve patients’ quality of life by keeping them as active as possible.
Boehringer Ingelheim is a leader in respiratory diseases, with more than 90 years in the field. One of the company’s most pioneering therapies for COPD and other respiratory diseases is the once-daily FDA-approved Stiolto Respimat (tiotropium bromide and olodaterol) inhalation spray, a long-term continuation therapy for airflow obstruction.