The UCB-Harvard Research Alliance Expands and Moves Forward

Research collaboration launched to develop novel therapies for the treatment of neurodegenerative disease

19-Jun-2012 - Belgium

UCB announced that it has launched a second collaborative research project with Harvard that builds upon the Research Alliance signed between UCB and Harvard in 2011. The second research project comprises a collaboration with the laboratory of Junying Yuan, Ph.D., Professor of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School, aimed at driving translation and developing small molecule compounds for induction of autophagy, with potential applications in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.

Autophagy is best described as a mechanism the cell uses to auto-digest intracellular components. It is an evolutionarily conserved catabolic process, mediating the turnover of malfunctioning, aged or damaged proteins and organelles within cells. Autophagy is seen as an important regulator of many critical biological processes. Professor Junying Yuan has been at the forefront of molecular research for over two decades and has received numerous honors and awards in recognition of her work.

The research alliance between Harvard and UCB reflects UCB’s open innovation model that aims to generate new knowledge and capitalize on external scientific advances, resources and expertise through dedicated collaborations that complement the company’s unique internal capabilities and expertise.

The first, ongoing research project funded under the Harvard-UCB alliance is a collaboration with Professor Gökhan S. Hotamisligil, M.D., Ph.D., Chair, Department of Genetics and Complex Diseases, Harvard School of Public Health, to generate and develop novel antibodies against a target with potential application in a range of diseases including diabetes and other metabolic disorders.

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