Harvard signs $ 30 million agreement with pharmaceutical company for therapeutic research | New
Harvard University has signed a new five-year research and development agreement with pharmaceutical company National Resilience, Inc. to advance the development of medical technologies, including gene, stem cell and nucleic acid therapies.
Under the deal, which the institutions are calling an “alliance,” Resilience has committed $ 30 million to fund research into therapeutic and biofabrication technologies, which Harvard faculty researchers will lead.
In return, Resilience and the University have agreed that any new therapy resulting from the alliance can be developed and licensed by Resilience and any companies it forms, in order to submit these therapies to clinical trials and eventually commercialize them.
One of these companies, Circle Therapeutics, has already been formed to test therapies for skeletal muscle disorders on a large scale developed by the Rubin Lab, led by Professor of Stem Cells and Regenerative Biology Lee L. Rubin. The Rubin Lab’s research is the first Harvard project to receive funding under the new agreement.
Small molecules, in the form of oral pills, were once the only way to treat muscle disorders, according to Rubin. His lab is using funding from Resilience to continue its work in cultivating skeletal muscle stem cells – also known as satellite cells – in hopes of harnessing their regenerative properties to treat these disorders.
Rubin said in an interview that his lab has long hoped for the kind of financial support Harvard’s deal with Resilience will provide.
âWe have tried for years to find a partner to help us develop these muscle-acting therapies – with little success,â said Rubin. “There really are no stem cell based muscle therapies.”
The search for funding was made more complicated by the fact that his laboratory was developing new forms of therapy, he added.
âIn pharma, being first is not necessarily the best thing like maybe being second, where there is a way to go,â he said. âWe were leading the way and people are potentially risk averse. “
“The Rubin Lab’s platform for expanding and maintaining in vitro derived satellite cells could lead to transformative cell therapies,” said Vivian Berlin, head of the Corporate Alliances team at the Harvard Office of Technology Development, which helped coordinate the agreement. Gazette, an academic publication.
“[The Rubin lab] convincingly demonstrated the clinical relevance of this work, âBerlin told The Gazette. âNow, thanks to targeted funding and Resilience’s experience in the development of complex drugs, we hope to clearly orient it towards the benefit of patients. “
Rubin said he was happy that his lab’s research had been âapprovedâ by Resilience.
âIt was really nice to have external validation that we were doing something that could be useful, that could really treat diseases that are currently not being treated,â he said.