Published January 31, 2022
Release Date: January 31, 2022
BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Empire Discovery Institute and global pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk A/S have formed a five-year partnership to commercialize life sciences research from the institute’s academic partners, including the University at Buffalo.
The new initiative, called LeapRx, aims to accelerate the speed in which academic research discoveries are turned into pharmaceuticals. It will involve Empire Discovery Institute’s two other partners, the University of Rochester and Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.
“It’s our mission to support early-stage research. Through incubating and providing resources to accelerate innovative drug discovery and development projects, we will ensure scientific and operational success and move drugs to market at a faster rate,” says Rick Gardner, UB associate vice president for economic development.
LeapRx will provide financial support and pharmaceutical industry expertise to researchers at UB, Rochester and Roswell. Through the initiative, Empire Discovery Institute will work closely with the recently formed Novo Nordisk Bio Innovation Hub in Massachusetts.
“We look forward to working with our R&D collaboration partners at Novo Nordisk. By bringing together scientific innovation, pharmaceutical industry expertise and funding, our mission is to facilitate the efficient translation of fundamental scientific discoveries into important new medicines for commercialization,” said Martin Graham, CEO of Empire Discovery Institute.
For Novo Nordisk, the partnership represents a continuation of its dedication to support life science ecosystems in the Northeast U.S.
“The intersection between fundamental academic research and pharmaceutical R&D is where we believe we can uncover the innovation that will lead to medicines of the future. We are excited to see what early-stage research projects we can support the development of through our collaboration with [Empire Discovery Institute] and participating academic institutions,” said Uli Stilz, vice president of Novo Nordisk Bio Innovation Hub.
LeapRx will focus on areas of mutual interest to Empire Discovery Institute and Novo Nordisk, specifically therapies for diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2), obesity, cardiovascular disease, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), chronic kidney disease and rare blood disorders.
Empire Discovery Institute’s early-stage drug discovery and development expertise – along with Novo Nordisk’s scientific, regulatory, clinical, commercial and marketing capabilities – will help advance the discovery, development, and commercialization of innovative, breakthrough medicines, leaders say.
“Development of promising drug targets or novel compounds will benefit from this co-investment and accelerate breakthrough medicines that could reach patients faster. UB investigators will co-develop milestone-based work plans with LeapRx pharmaceutical experts designed to add patient and commercial value,” says Jeff Dunbar, director of technology transfer at UB.