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Structural Genomics Consortium, CHDI Launch Open-access Huntington's Disease Initiative

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The Structural Genomics Consortium and the CHDI Foundation have struck an agreement to discover and characterize new drug targets for Huntington's disease and to make their findings available for use by academic researchers and pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

Neither the SGC nor CHDI will file for patents on any of their research findings, but will make all the reagents and knowledge they generate widely available without restrictions, the partners said yesterday.

Because the partners will not patent their findings, investigators will have "complete freedom to operate," SGC and CHDI said.

"By providing open access to their discoveries, the SGC and CHDI are doing exactly what is needed to help us discover and develop new medicines," Tetsuyuki Maruyama, head of research at SGC partner Takeda Pharmaceuticals, said in a statement. "This targeted approach within a specific disease domain will invite pharmaceutical sector researchers to look more closely at Huntington's disease as a tractable neurodegenerative disorder."

CHDI, a New York-based non-profit focused on supporting development of treatments to rapidly slow the progression of HD, will support SGC scientists' efforts to develop research tools to solve protein structures of potential drug targets. Working with a disease foundation that targets HD will enable SGC researchers to move their research tools to scientists who specialize in this field, and under this agreement, CHDI will help disseminate SGC's existing novel inhibitors of epigenetics pathways to its network of scientists and clinicians, the partners said.

The agreement provides "a template for how patient-oriented funders can help the research community develop new drugs," SGC CEO Alec Edwards said in a statement.

"With this collaboration the SGC is now pushing our open-access research to exploit specific chemical probes and define protein structures in a particular disease, in order to further clarify the underlying disease biology and aid drug discoverers in academia, biotech, and pharma with the highest quality information about new drug targets," Edwards added.

SGC's facilities are housed at the University of Toronto and Oxford University.

The consortium is funded by the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, Genome Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation, the Wellcome Trust, and nine pharmaceutical companies.