New International Neurobiology Partnerships

Sage Bionetworks has built a strong program in neuroscience with partnerships to build advanced computational models of disease with CHDI Foundation and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company. The analyses and the resulting models will be deposited in the Sage Bionetworks repository and will be valuable public resources available to all interested researchers.

Huntington’s Disease

CHDI Foundation is continuing to support Sage Bionetworks in a project to apply advanced computational modeling to the discovery and development of biomarkers and therapies for Huntington’s disease (HD). Initially, Sage Bionetworks and CHDI will work with Massachusetts General Hospital colleagues to conduct a worldwide inventory of HD tissues available for research purposes.

“Even though HD is caused by mutations in a single gene, there are unexplained variations in disease onset and progression,” explained Jonathan Derry PhD, Project Leader and Vice President of Research at Sage Bionetworks. ”We believe that genomic network analysis that uses both genetic and phenotypic data will help identify the factors underlying this complexity and provide insights into new models and therapies for the disease.” Robi Blumenstein, President of CHDI Management said, “We are particularly excited to bring HD to Sage Bionetworks’ open-access infrastructure. This shared platform will allow investigators to freely build and compare their network models using Sage Bionetworks’ sophisticated tools, to the benefit of the entire HD research community.”

Schizophrenia and other CNS Diseases

Takeda Pharmaceutical Company and Sage Bionetworks have began a four-year research alliance focusing on therapeutic targets for central nervous system (CNS) disease. Using its integrated genomics methods, Sage Bionetworks scientists will build predictive computational models and identify key regulatory genes and predictive biomarkers in patients with CNS diseases including schizophrenia. Scientists at the two companies will then collaborate to discover and prioritize the targets holding the greatest potential for molecular intervention. Under the terms of the agreement, Takeda will provide more than $3.6 million over four years in research funding and fees.

“Sage Bionetworks’ leading-edge technology and world-wide reach offers the potential for Takeda to understand currently unknown disease mechanisms. This represents a key strategy for meeting Takeda’s challenge for innovation,” said Dr. Paul Chapman, General Manager, Head of Pharmaceutical Research Division of Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited. Dr. Stephen Friend, President of Sage Bionetworks noted, “We believe this project, which is our first in central nervous system area, creates an opportunity for new therapeutic insights.”

30 March 2011 Press release

New Oncology Partnership with AstraZeneca

Sage Bionetworks and AstraZeneca have begun an exciting cancer collaboration using advanced computational modeling. The goal is to develop a deeper understanding of cancer to help better match patients with appropriate treatments and might one day lead to new cancer therapeutics.

Cancer is a major cause of mortality globally; accounting for 7.4 million (or 13%) of all deaths in 2004. The World Health Organization estimates the incidence of cancer to continue rising to reach an estimated 9.2 million deaths in 2015, driving the critical need for novel therapies to reach patients quickly and efficiently as well as better ways to match patients with treatments.

The partnership will combine Sage Bionetworks’ expertise in computer models of disease genetics with AstraZeneca’s extensive knowledge and expertise of oncology including access to data on AstraZeneca’s compounds.  It will focus on investigating regulatory pathways among different cancers using large coherent cancer genomic datasets and predictive disease models developed at Sage Bionetworks. This will potentially provide data-driven rationales for prioritizing therapeutic targets for developing new insights to improve cancer treatments, as well as potentially helping to identify cancer patient subpopulations that will most likely benefit from such treatments. Dr. Jonathan Derry, Vice President of Research at Sage Bionetworks noted, “This is an exciting opportunity to combine what we have learned about complex genetic networks with the outstanding resources and scientists at AstraZeneca.”

Dr. Susan Galbraith, Vice President and Head of Oncology Innovative Medicines Unit at AstraZeneca said: “We are looking forward to collaborating with Sage Bionetworks to build realistic, predictive models of cancers to expand our current understanding of these diseases and potentially harness that knowledge into new target identification, portfolio positioning and patient selection all of which we hope will lead to new treatment options for patients.”

“Everyone truly wins in this project,” noted Dr. Stephen Friend, President of Sage Bionetworks. “Sage Bionetworks gets to work with an industry innovator and the resultant computational models will be placed in our public repository and available to all researchers following the completion of the project. Most importantly, we hope patients will gain better drugs.”

18 March 2011 Press Release