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Bayer, Broad Institute Expand Cardiovascular Disease Research Alliance

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) — The Broad Institute and Bayer announced today that they have launched a new initiative to investigate the causes of heart failure and identify new drug targets for the condition.

The partners have established the Precision Cardiology Laboratory, a workspace at the Broad where scientists from each organization will collaborate to develop high-resolution, single-cell maps of cardiovascular tissues in human and animal models. They also plan to use tissue samples from cardiovascular disease patients and healthy individuals to build datasets on heart failure. Initial areas of focus include heart failure, atrial fibrillation, and vascular dysfunction. 

Bayer has agreed to provide $22 million over five years to support the effort. A company spokesperson added that, upon reaching predefined decision points, Bayer can exercise an undisclosed option, triggering potential pre-negotiated milestone and royalty payments.

The lab will be managed by a joint steering committee and is expected to include about 20 people from both the Broad and Bayer. Findings will be made available through public databases and academic journals.

The alliance builds on a partnership between Bayer and the Broad that began in 2013 to discover and develop therapeutic agents that target cancer genome alterations. That relationship was expanded in 2015 to include cardiovascular genomics.

"The Broad Institute is an important and strategic partner for Bayer, enabling us to deepen our understanding in the area of cardiovascular diseases, and we are looking forward to extending our collaboration even further," Joerg Moeller, member of the executive committee of Bayer's pharmaceuticals division and head of R&D, said in a statement. "Joint laboratories are a novel partnering model for industry and academia and will bring Bayer and Broad Institute cardiovascular research to the next level."

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