Sigma-Aldrich Corp. Thursday announced a partnership with The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) to fund research and provide immediate, day-of-publication access to TSRI researchers’ discoveries for the synthesis and analysis of potential drugs. The partnership promises to eliminate months from the translation of cutting-edge chemistry into widespread applications for drug discovery.

The partnership includes six TSRI research labs led by Professors Phil Baran, Jin-Quan Yu, Benjamin Cravatt, Carlos Barbas, Phillip Dawson, and Nobel Laureate K. Barry Sharpless. TSRI will receive funds to be used to expand capacity for basic research.

TSRI approached Sigma-Aldrich to eliminate the delay between the invention of novel reagents and reliable, widespread access to those reagents for the translational research community. “The hurdles from bench to clinic, what the NIH calls the ‘valley of death’, are proving difficult to surmount, leaving numbers of potential therapeutic ideas trapped inside university doors. To clear these hurdles, it’s critical to open a myriad of novel technologies, such as these from TSRI, to the whole translational research community,” said Amanda Halford, Vice President, Academic Research at Sigma-Aldrich.

“This is the third major deal in our new targeted partnership strategy, following recent agreements with Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Bristol-Myers Squibb,” said Scott Forrest, Vice President of Business Development at TSRI. “These multi-lab, multi-year alliances fund research and infrastructure in areas of mutual interest, creating a win-win situation for moving innovations into the marketplace. We are pleased to partner with the world’s leading reagent company to accelerate the commercialization of new research tools for the scientific community.”

Sigma-Aldrich and TSRI will partner to fund development of novel reagents from the six TSRI labs, which Sigma-Aldrich will commercialize exclusively via a master licensing agreement. This will allow unfettered access to new reagents by chemists and also scientists who do not have a background in chemical synthesis, which in the past limited their ability to implement novel reagents in their research.

Last year, TSRI and Sigma-Aldrich established a partnership to produce in bulk a toolkit of ten novel zinc-based salts discovered in the Baran lab, including the Baran difluoromethylation reagent that several large pharmaceutical companies immediately adopted for optimizing lead compounds.

“The partnership with TSRI will enable us to expand our portfolio through new innovations and product development,” said Eric Green, Executive Vice President and President, Research at Sigma-Aldrich.  “We believe this partnership reinforces our strategy of broadening our research portfolio of innovative products and tools used by the translational research community.”

Publications of new reagents developed in these six TSRI labs will include a Sigma-Aldrich product number for simple reference.

While a number of collaborative partnerships have emerged between academic institutions and pharmaceutical companies, this is the first partnership of its kind between a research institute and a reagents company.

Source: Sigma-Aldrich Corp.