The Scripps Research Institute announced Monday the formation of Scripps Advance, a new drug discovery initiative to translate early-stage biomedical research projects, both inside and outside of Scripps, into clinical development candidates.

Scripps Advance’s first collaborator in this new endeavor is the Johnson & Johnson Innovation Center in California.

“Scripps Advance is a truly novel type of relationship designed to combine the diversity and innovation of academic research enterprises with the expertise, infrastructure and capital of the private sector,” said Scott Forrest, Ph.D., Scripps’ vice president of business development. “Advance will look both inside and outside of (Scripps) for projects to take forward and it will work with pharma companies to select and fund those projects.”

Johnson & Johnson will tap into Scripps Advance’s strong ties with academic researchers and early-stage companies to help identify potential collaborators. As part of the relationship, Advance will facilitate match-making between Johnson & Johnson Innovation and emerging life science companies, companies-in-planning, researchers conducting translational research, and entrepreneurs that are part of Scripps Advance’s network.

Scripps Advance has already been active in the biotech space, collaborating with Atlas Venture, an early stage investment firm, to launch a company called Padlock Therapeutics. Padlock discovers novel therapeutics targeting the protein arginine deiminases, an emerging class of enzymes with roles in autoimmunity and epigenetic control. Padlock’s technology was developed in the laboratories of Scripps investigators Paul Thompson, Ph.D., and Kerri Mowen, Ph.D., in collaboration with Scripps Florida’s high-throughput screening facility.

The Scripps Research Institute  is one of the world’s largest independent, not-for-profit organizations focusing on research in the biomedical sciences. The institute employs about 3,000 people on its campuses in La Jolla, CA, and Jupiter, FL, where its renowned scientists—including three Nobel laureates—work toward their next discoveries.

— From a Scripps Research press release

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.