January 24, 2011

Brain Science Institute inks deal to develop novel therapeutics

The Johns Hopkins Brain Science Institute has entered into an agreement with Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. to advance the development of novel therapeutics for neurological and psychiatric diseases.

Under terms of the agreement, Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals will support translational research at the Brain Science Institute, and OMJPI scientists and BSi researchers will collaborate to identify new therapeutic targets and pathways for psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders. Eventually, those targets and pathways may be the focus of new drug development programs at OMJPI.

Under the terms of the agreement, OMJPI will have the option to license assays to newly identified targets from the BSi and, in exchange, OMJPI will share tool compounds with BSi researchers for biological target identification and validation.

“By combining our vast reservoir of knowledge and talent, the Brain Science Institute hopes to start the next generation of neuropsychiatric pharmaceuticals down the pipeline by combining complementary skills and expertise of academic and pharmaceutical scientists,” said John Griffin, director of the Brain Science Institute, University Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Neurology and professor of neuroscience and pathology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

“This partnership should speed bench-to-bedside development of better treatments for bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and neurodegenerative diseases,” said Jeffrey D. Rothstein, co-director of the Brain Science Institute and director of the BSi NeuroTranslational Program, whose Johns Hopkins faculty scientists already work to identify novel drug targets arising from their work. Rothstein is also a professor of neurology and neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

The BSi was founded in 2007 as a multidisciplinary research enterprise fostering rapid translation of neuroscientific discoveries to treatments of brain diseases, in part by partnering with industry and biotechnology.

For more on the Johns Hopkins Brain Science Institute, go to www.brainscienceinstitute.org.