The research effort will be conducted by Dr. Huda Zoghbi, professor of molecular and human genetics, pediatrics, neurology and neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine. “My team and I are very excited to start this collaboration with UCB as their expertise will complement ours and will ensure that therapeutic targets are swiftly used to discover new medicines for patients suffering from devastating neurodegenerative diseases,” Dr. Zoghbi said in a press release.
Dr. Zoghib and her colleagues are experts in the use of functional genetics in model organisms to determine therapeutic targets for the development of new medicines. The partnership mirrors UCB’s interest in discovering and developing transformational therapeutics through partnerships with leading academic centers. Dr. Zoghbi is also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, and the director of the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children’s Hospital.
Baylor’s president, chief executive officer and executive dean, Paul Klotman, PhD, said, “These types of collaborations will ensure accelerated results. Dr. Zoghbi is world renowned in neurodegenerative disease research, and I’m confident this alliance will lead to improved clinical outcomes.”
UCB, a Brussels-based company, is focused on new treatments for people living with immune system or central nervous system (CNS) diseases. The research partnership is in line with a key company program, called New Medicines, whose goal is the discovery of effective treatments that target high-leveled genetic and human validation pathways.
“We cannot accelerate discovery of transformational medicines and create value for patients if we work alone. That is why we have been creating super networks with high quality scientific partners, combining insights from patients with deep understanding of disease mechanisms,” Ismail Kola, president at New Medicines and a UCB executive vice president, said. “This strategic research alliance brings together Huda Zoghbi’s world-class research with our high-quality R&D teams to discover medicines based on genetically validated targets that could transform the lives of people living with severe neurodegenerative disease.”