CommonMind – New Open Research Resource

Press Release: CommonMind Consortium Launched as a Public-Private Effort to Generate and Broadly Share Molecular Data on Neuropsychiatric Disease.

Date: April 9th, 2012
Contact: Jonathan Derry, Vice-President, Sage Bionetworks
Tel: (206) 667-2101   email: info@CommonMind.org

SEATTLE, WA.  Sage Bionetworks, Mount Sinai School of Medicine (MSSM), University of Pennsylvania (Penn), the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), and Takeda Pharmaceuticals Company Limited (TAKEDA) have launched a Public-Private Pre-Competitive Consortium to generate and analyze large-scale genomic data from human subjects with neuropsychiatric disease and to make this data and the associated analytical results broadly available to the public. This collaboration brings together disease area expertise, large scale and well curated brain sample collections, and data management and analysis expertise from the respective institutions.

As many as 450 million people worldwide are believed to be living with a mental or behavioral disorder: schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are two of the top six leading causes of years lived with disability according to the World Health Organization. The burden on the individual as well as on society is significant with estimates for the health care costs for these individuals as high as four percent GNP. This highlights a grave need for new therapies to alleviate this suffering.

Researchers from MSSM including Dr. Pamela Sklar, Dr. Joseph Buxbaum and Dr. Eric Schadt will join with Dr. Raquel Gur and Dr. Chang-Gyu Hahn from Penn to combine their extensive brain bank collections for the generation of whole genome scale RNA and DNA sequence data. Dr. Pamela Sklar, Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience at MSSM commented “this is an exciting opportunity for us to use the newest genomic methods to really expand our understanding of the molecular underpinnings of neuropsychiatric disease”, while Dr Raquel Gur, Professor of Psychiatry from Penn observed “this will be a great complement to some of the large-scale genetic analyses that have been carried out to date because it will give a more complete mechanistic picture”.

Dr. Jonathan Derry, Vice President of Research at Sage Bionetworks noted, “We are truly thrilled to be partnering with some of the best brain researchers to generate an unprecedented scale of molecular data that we will make broadly available as a resource to the community through our data analysis and management platform Synapse.”  Dr Thomas Lehner, Chief Genomics Research Branch at NIMH added, “The NIMH is particularly excited about this partnership that will leverage resources and expertise in both the public and the private sector to accelerate research into the causes and treatments of major mental illness”.

TAKEDA has provided seed funding for the effort that will look to expand in the future. The CommonMind Consortium is committed to generating an open resource for the community and invites others with common goals to contact us at info@CommonMind.org.

Download PDF of Press Release

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