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Scripps Research Institute Creates New Initiative to Translate Research into Clinical Development Candidates

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The Scripps Research Institute (SRI) on Monday announced the formation of a new drug discovery initiative to translate early stage biomedical research projects — internal and external to Scripps — into clinical development candidates.

The Johnson & Johnson Innovation Center is the first collaborator in the initiative called Scripps Advance. Tapping into Scripps Advance's ties with researchers at SRI, other academic centers, and early stage companies, J&J aims to identify potential collaborators. Scripps Advance will match the J&J center with emerging life science firms, companies still in the planning stage, and researchers doing translational work, as well as entrepreneurs that belong to Scripps Advance's network.

"Scripps Advance is a truly novel type of relationship designed to combine the diversity and innovation of academic research enterprises with the expertise, infrastructure, and capital of the private sector," SRI VP of Business Development Scott Forrest said in a statement.

Scripps Advance said that it has collaborated with early stage investment firm Atlas Ventures to launch Padlock Therapeutics, which discovers novel autoimmune therapeutics targeting arginine deiminases, an emerging class of epigenetic modulators. SRI researchers Paul Thompson and Kerri Mowen in collaboration with Scripp Florida's high-throughput screening facility developed Padlock's technology.

"In building Scripps Advance, we recognized the need to focus on therapeutic developments with the potential to lead to game-changing ways in which we treat disease," Todd Huffman, SRI's director of drug discovery partnerships, said in a statement.