Indiana University School of Medicine has been awarded a grant expected to total $36 million over five years from the National Institutes of Health to launch a drug discovery center to accelerate the development of promising treatments for Alzheimer’s disease.
The center is a strategic partnership with the Purdue Institute for Drug Discovery. It is one of only two such multi-institution teams in the nation selected as part of a new federal program intended to “improve, diversify and reinvigorate the Alzheimer’s disease drug development pipeline,” according to the National Institute on Aging, which is part of the NIH and is funding the program.
The IU-led center will initially focus on proteins, or targets, related to the brain’s immune system that may contribute to Alzheimer’s disease. They will be culled from an extensive list of potential targets nominated by researchers at elite medical institutions across the nation as part of the NIA-led Accelerating Medicines Partnership on Alzheimer’s Disease.
The establishment of the NIA-funded drug discovery centers comes at a time when many pharmaceutical companies are scaling back efforts in the area or refocusing their strategies following setbacks of expensive, late-stage drug trials. The goal is to develop high-quality research tools and new technologies needed to broaden the number of targets being investigated, and for universities to conduct the earliest stages of drug discovery, eliminating some of the risk for pharmaceutical companies, biotech firms and other investors.
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