Novartis and UC Berkeley collaborate to tackle 'undruggable' disease targets
- Collaboration aims to unlock difficult drug targets and accelerate the discovery of new medicines in areas such as infectious diseases and cancer
- New Novartis-Berkeley Center for Proteomics and Chemistry Technologies combines Novartis' expertise in chemical biology with Berkeley's expertise in covalent chemoproteomics
Basel, Switzerland, September 28, 2017 - Novartis has joined forces with researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, to develop new technologies for the discovery of next-generation therapeutics, pursuing the vast number of disease targets in cancer and other illnesses that have eluded traditional small-molecule compounds and are considered "undruggable."
"Novartis pioneers new therapeutic paradigms, creating definitive medicines for life-threatening diseases," said Jay Bradner, President of the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research. "Our Berkeley alliance powerfully extends our ability to advance discovery of molecules aimed at the historically inaccessible drug targets."
The collaboration establishes the Novartis-Berkeley Center for Proteomics and Chemistry Technologies, based in existing labs at Berkeley, and includes support for joint research projects between Novartis and Berkeley scientists. The projects harness covalent chemoproteomics technology that rapidly maps locations on protein targets-including those that have been considered "undruggable"--where compounds could form lasting bonds while providing starting points for novel therapeutics.
"Never before have we been able to explore what we call the proteome, the totality of over 20,000 proteins in the body, with such breadth, depth and speed," said covalent chemoproteomics expert Daniel Nomura, Director of the Center and Associate Professor of Chemistry, of Molecular and Cell Biology, and of Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology at Berkeley. "Combining technology advances in proteomics and chemistry allows us to imagine creating compounds to bind every known protein in the body, especially those underlying serious diseases such as cancer."
The alliance will also explore the potential of emerging therapeutics known as degraders, which involve the use of bifunctional molecules that bind to disease targets on one end and on the other end to a key component in a cell's natural protein-disposal system. The collaborators plan to test whether the covalent chemoproteomics technology could aid in reducing the time required to create potential degraders from years to months.
"Traditional drug compounds bind to proteins at places that cause them to malfunction, but many disease targets lack these functional binding locations," said John Tallarico, Head of Chemical Biology and Therapeutics at NIBR. "Degraders are different because they can bind to disease targets at non-functional sites and trigger the destruction of the target proteins, resulting in the interference of their function."
Other aspects of the collaboration include screening natural product compounds and using the covalent chemoproteomics system to discover their targets, understanding mechanism of action and developing new platform technology enabling the discovery of compounds to bind to greater numbers of proteins.
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements can generally be identified by words such as "to tackle," "aims," "next-generation," "pioneers," "aimed," "to explore," "potential," "can," "will," "plan," "could," "investigational," or similar terms, or by express or implied discussions regarding the aims of the collaboration with UC Berkeley, regarding potential new platform technology or products arising from the collaboration with UC Berkeley, , or regarding potential future revenues from such new platform technology or products. You should not place undue reliance on these statements. Such forward-looking statements are based on our current beliefs and expectations regarding future events, and are subject to significant known and unknown risks and uncertainties. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements. There can be no guarantee that the collaboration with UC Berkeley will be successful or achieve its intended goals. Neither can there be any guarantee that any new platform technology or investigational products will result from the collaboration. Nor can there be any guarantee that any investigational products resulting from the collaboration will be submitted or approved for sale in any market, or at any particular time. Nor can there be any guarantee that such new platform technology or products will be commercially successful in the future. In particular, our expectations regarding such new platform technology and products could be affected by, among other things, the success of the collaboration with UC Berkeley, our ability to effectively deploy and use any new platform technology arising from the collaboration, the uncertainties inherent in research and development, including clinical trial results and additional analysis of existing clinical data; regulatory actions or delays or government regulation generally; our ability to obtain or maintain proprietary intellectual property protection; the particular prescribing preferences of physicians and patients; global trends toward health care cost containment, including government, payor and general public pricing and reimbursement pressures; general economic and industry conditions, including the effects of the persistently weak economic and financial environment in many countries; safety, quality or manufacturing issues, and other risks and factors referred to in Novartis AG's current Form 20-F on file with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Novartis is providing the information in this press release as of this date and does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained in this press release as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
Novartis provides innovative healthcare solutions that address the evolving needs of patients and societies. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis offers a diversified portfolio to best meet these needs: innovative medicines, cost-saving generic and biosimilar pharmaceuticals and eye care. Novartis has leading positions globally in each of these areas. In 2016, the Group achieved net sales of USD 48.5 billion, while R&D throughout the Group amounted to approximately USD 9.0 billion. Novartis Group companies employ approximately 119,000 full-time-equivalent associates. Novartis products are sold in approximately 155 countries around the world. For more information, please visit http://www.novartis.com.
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