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Brain Science Institute Announces Collaboration with Biogen to Develop New Treatments for Brain Disorders - 09/24/2007

Brain Science Institute Announces Collaboration with Biogen to Develop New Treatments for Brain Disorders

Release Date: September 24, 2007

Johns Hopkins University’s newly formed Brain Science Institute (BSI) and pharmaceutical development company Biogen Idec have agreed to collaborate on the development of new therapies for such neurodegenerative diseases as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

 The collaboration, which will run indefinitely, will be guided by a joint committee of representatives from Johns Hopkins and Biogen Idec. John Griffin, M.D., director of the BSI, will serve as the academic lead of the collaboration.  He is a professor of neurology, neuroscience and pathology at Johns Hopkins and is the former director of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Department of Neurology.  Griffin also is a longstanding participant in Biogen Idec’s neurology scientific advisory board. The BSI is codirected by Rick Huganir, Ph.D., director of the Solomon Snyder Department of Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins.

 The BSI was launched in March to speed the application of new discoveries to neurological diseases that currently have limited treatment options. Supported with a gift from an anonymous donor family, it brings together brain scientists from across the Hopkins schools and campuses to solve fundamental questions about brain development and function and to use these insights to understand the mechanisms of brain diseases, to develop effective treatments, and to take these therapies to patients. 

“An important component of its mission is to foster translation of basic discovery into treatment,” says Griffin, who is among the many Hopkins neuroscientists who collectively have more than 300 therapeutic and related patent applications.  These inventions include candidate drugs for Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis, novel cancer biomarkers, and a medical device for improved intracranial delivery of drugs.

The collaboration with the BSI would give Biogen Idec access to intellectual property to develop new neurological pharmaceuticals in exchange for research funding. Boards from both companies are expected to meet soon to select BSI projects to fund.

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