UCSF, Centre for Drug Research and Development Sign Drug Development Agreement

Collaboration Aims to Take New Medications from Laboratory to Commercial Development Stage

By Steve Tokar

UC San Francisco and The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD), a non-profit drug development center headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, today announced a collaborative affiliation to identify potential medications and develop them to the stage where they are commercially attractive to private sector partners.

“We now have a framework under which UCSF scientists can have their most promising work validated and developed for commercial use without having to shift their attention from what they do best, which is research,” said UCSF Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Jeff Bluestone, PhD. “This agreement plays to the strengths of both institutions, and represents translational science at its best.”

“Our affiliation establishes a direct pipeline between the innovators in UCSF laboratories and the experienced drug development professionals of CDRD,” said Gregorio Aversa, PhD senior vice president of drug development at CDRD. “The global commercialization of health research is paramount to CDRD’s mission, so we welcome the opportunity to shepherd potential new therapeutics through the risk-filled phase between discovery and development.”

The agreement is designed to address a challenging problem in drug development: the so-called “Valley of Death” between the discovery of a potential therapy and the point where it is of commercial interest to pharmaceutical or biotech companies or private sector investors. During this phase, the financial burden of continued research without return can often mean that a promising medication is never developed further.

The collaboration is the first in the United States for CDRD, which has similar agreements with institutions around the world, including Oxford University and the Universities of Tokyo, and Sydney.

A scientific team from CDRD will visit UCSF in November in order to explore specific collaborative opportunities with UCSF researchers. Researchers interested in meeting with CDRD to discuss possible collaborations are encouraged to contact Kaley Wilson, PhD, associate director of partnerships.

The collaboration was set up by the UCSF Innovation, Technology & Alliances office. The UCSF contact is Han Li, PhD, of the Alliance Management team.

UCSF is the nation's leading university exclusively focused on health. Now celebrating the 150th anniversary of its founding as a medical college, UCSF is dedicated to transforming health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. It includes top-ranked graduate schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy; a graduate division with world-renowned programs in the biological sciences, a preeminent biomedical research enterprise and top-tier hospitals, UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital San Francisco.