News Release

Sanford-Burnham licenses small molecule to Daiichi Sankyo for further development

Scientists at the Institute developed a small molecule to prevent cardiovascular-metabolic disease; the collaboration strives to accelerate the discovery to affected patients

Business Announcement

Sanford Burnham Prebys

LA JOLLA, Calif., April 2, 2015--Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute (Sanford-Burnham) today announced that it has signed a licensing agreement to further develop a first-in-class small molecule with Daiichi Sankyo for the treatment of cardiovascular-metabolic disease. The small molecule is based on longstanding, groundbreaking biology work by a Sanford-Burnham scientist and his laboratory team, who for decades focused their research on treating a consequence of cardiovascular-metabolic disease.

"The inhibitor is the product of a deliberate initiative at Sanford-Burnham to enable the process of translating basic research discoveries made by the Institute's researchers into novel therapeutics. This outcome is the first of a number of promising candidates that are emerging from our faculty's fundamental research and progressing through our discovery pipeline," said Perry Nisen, M.D., Ph.D., CEO of Sanford-Burnham. "We are all very excited that Daiichi Sankyo is now working with us to accelerate the pace at which this drug candidate will move into the clinic."

The licensing agreement follows a strategic alliance the two organizations initiated last year. By working with Sanford-Burnham, scientists at Daiichi Sankyo are seeking continued and expanded access to the Institute's deep human biology insights and drug discovery technology, with the ultimate goal of advancing lead drugs toward clinical trials.

Sanford-Burnham's Conrad Prebys Center for Chemical Genomics (Prebys Center) played a key role in the development of the small molecule. The Prebys Center led the drug discovery effort, from assay development and chemical-library screening to a significant lead-optimization effort, which ultimately resulted in a highly selective, drug-like inhibitor. Prebys Center scientists also developed a biomarker assay that may be used to measure the efficacy; this test could help physicians optimize patient management.


About Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute

Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute is dedicated to discovering the fundamental molecular causes of disease and devising the innovative therapies of tomorrow. Sanford-Burnham takes a collaborative approach to medical research with major programs in cancer, neurodegeneration and stem cells, diabetes, and infectious, inflammatory, and childhood diseases. The Institute is recognized for its National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center, its NIH-designated Neuroscience Center Cores, and expertise in drug discovery technologies. Sanford-Burnham is a nonprofit, independent institute that employs more than 1,000 scientists and staff in San Diego (La Jolla), Calif., and Orlando (Lake Nona), Fla. For more information, visit us at

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