Bayer Will Invest $30M in Joint Research Lab for Chronic Lung Diseases

Bayer Will Invest $30M in Joint Research Lab for Chronic Lung Diseases

Bayer will invest more than $30 million over the next five years to fund collaborative research projects focused on finding new treatments for chronic lung diseases, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The projects will be developed in a new lab launched in collaboration with the founding members of Partners HealthCareBrigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). Both are leaders in the field of lung diseases.

The joint lab, located at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, in Boston, will host more than 20 scientists from the three partner groups.

Research projects will be led by four leading experts: Edwin Silverman, MD, PhD, BWH’s chief of the Channing division of network medicine; Bruce Levy, MD, BWH’s chief of pulmonary and care medicine; Benjamin Medoff, MD, MGH’s chief of pulmonary and critical care; and Markus Koch, PhD, Bayer’s head of lung diseases preclinical research.

This collaboration will combine Bayer’s expertise in drug discovery and development with the clinical expertise, understanding of disease mechanisms, data analysis capabilities, and insights from the physician-scientists at BWH and MGH.

“Our investigators have unique expertise in cell and molecular biology of lung disease, genetics, imaging, and bioinformatics, which complement the expertise Bayer investigators additionally have in drug development, pharmacology, and medicinal chemistry,” Silverman said in a Q&A published on the Bayer website.

“We anticipate that we will learn a great deal from each other during this collaboration, and that those complementary strengths will lead to greater progress than either group could make by themselves,” he added.

In the Q&A, Levy emphasized that current treatments are inadequate for COPD — the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. While there are therapies that provide symptomatic relief, there are no treatments targeting the underlying mechanisms of the disease.

“Rather than focusing on developing more bronchodilator medications for COPD, our goal is to develop new types of treatments that focus on disease mechanisms for COPD and interstitial lung disease,” Levy said.

The researchers hope the initiative will speed up treatment development.

“This collaboration provides the opportunity to integrate novel findings directly into the drug development pipeline,” Paul Anderson, MD, PhD, BWH’s senior vice president and chief academic officer, said in a press release. “We strongly believe that this model will significantly accelerate the pace of discovery toward the goal of getting new therapies from the lab to patients safely and efficiently.”

Joerg Moeller, member of the executive committee of Bayer’s pharmaceuticals division and head of research and development, believes this collaboration will complement the company’s research, bringing its scientists closer to identifying and provide life-changing therapies for people with chronic lung diseases.

“The joint lab concept continues to be an innovative model for collaboration between academia and industry, enabling novel approaches to drug discovery,” Moeller said.

Rights of any commercially viable findings will be shared equally between Bayer, BMH and MGH.

The new joint lab expands Bayer’s existing footprint in the Boston region. The company last year established its first joint lab in Boston with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard to focus on cardiovascular diseases.

Marta Figueiredo holds a BSc in Biology and a MSc in Evolutionary and Developmental Biology from the University of Lisbon, Portugal. She is currently finishing her PhD in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Lisbon, where she focused her research on the role of several signalling pathways in thymus and parathyroid glands embryonic development.
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Patrícia holds her PhD in Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases from the Leiden University Medical Center in Leiden, The Netherlands. She has studied Applied Biology at Universidade do Minho and was a postdoctoral research fellow at Instituto de Medicina Molecular in Lisbon, Portugal. Her work has been focused on molecular genetic traits of infectious agents such as viruses and parasites.
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Marta Figueiredo holds a BSc in Biology and a MSc in Evolutionary and Developmental Biology from the University of Lisbon, Portugal. She is currently finishing her PhD in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Lisbon, where she focused her research on the role of several signalling pathways in thymus and parathyroid glands embryonic development.
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9 comments

  1. Denise Lapadura says:

    The top part of both lungs collapse when I exhale. The only cure is a double lung transplant. Should you need volunteers for any new treatments before I receive new lungs I will gladly oblige. Thank you …. Denise Lapadura

  2. Catherine Cunningham says:

    This is very interesting to me as my copd is getting worse I try to do what I can to curtail it but I think its beating me

  3. Maria Dransfield says:

    Hello
    I have COPD an live in the UK. If you’re looking for someone to help with trials I would love to put my name forward an give a little something back an help with your research.

  4. fred mann says:

    I have been trying with a petition to get the UK Government ,PM and Health Minister to get this started in the UK, to get money into researching this killer disease, i.m still trying with signatures at the moment, if i can be of any help please let me know.

  5. John Polachek says:

    I believe it will be hard to find a cure, when drug companies make 35 billion a year just on COPD. Besides I believe they can tell in several months if these drugs work, not 20 years in trials and if your dying who cares about side effects.

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