An announcement was made at the end of September that revealed the launch of a joint lab between Bayer, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, to research new drug candidates to treat chronic lung diseases. The lab will host scientists from all parties in addition to $30 million that will be invested by Bayer to fund joint projects over the next five years.
The new lab is located at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and will have include more than 20 people from all three organizations. The rights to the research findings will be shared equally between the organizations.
“We strongly believe that this model will significantly accelerate the pace of discovery toward the goal of getting new therapies from the lab to patients safely and efficiently,” said Dr. Paul Anderson, chief academic officer, Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Chronic lung disease, as defined by the National Cancer Institute, is a broad term to define a type of disorder that affects the lungs and other parts of the respiratory system. Types of chronic lung disease include asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pulmonary fibrosis, asbestosis, pneumonitis, and others. About 65 million people suffer from COPD and 3 million die from it each year. This makes it the third leading cause of death worldwide.
“This collaboration provides the opportunity to integrate novel findings directly into the drug development pipeline, thus speeding up the time to move a new treatment into the clinic,” said Anderson.
— Bayer | Pharmaceuticals (@BayerPharma) September 24, 2019
The four leading experts that have been identified to search for new treatment options for people who suffer from chronic lung diseases are Edwin Silverman, Bruce Levy, Benjamin Medoff and Markus Koch.
In 2018, Bayer opened a joint lab in Boston with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in order to focus on cardiovascular diseases. The aim here was to further understand heart failure and develop a new drug that better targets the disease. Now, they are looking to tackle chronic lung disease because of the high unmet medical needs required in this area, said Joerg Moeller member of the executive committee of Bayer AG’s pharmaceuticals division and head of research and development, in a Bayer Q&A.
In a Boston Globe statement, Dr. Edwin Silverman, a pulmonary specialist at Brigham and one of the lab leaders said the current treatments available only address the symptoms and are not very effective. He predicts that the new collaboration will result in novel approaches to treating this underlying biological mechanism of chronic lung disease.