Public Release: 

Sanford-Burnham and Florida Hospital renew research partnership with Takeda

Novel model for collaboration combines basic and clinical research with drug development to find new obesity therapeutics

Sanford-Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute

ORLANDO, Fla., February 11, 2013--Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute (Sanford-Burnham) and Florida Hospital announced today that they have renewed a research agreement with Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited (Takeda) to extend their collaboration to discover and evaluate new therapeutic approaches to obesity. The collaboration uses a research and drug-development model that creates an early feedback loop in the discovery pipeline. The partners expect this model will shorten the time to develop new therapeutics.

Interest in the development of obesity treatments remains strong, as the regulatory approval of two new obesity therapeutics in 2012 offered a proven pathway for drug candidates. "As the worldwide obesity crisis continues to escalate, we are seeing a rise in the prevalence of severe obesity--defined by BMI>40--and we know that this subset of the obese population experiences increased mortality and associated diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer," said Steven R. Smith, M.D., scientific director of the Florida Hospital - Sanford-Burnham Translational Research Institute for Metabolism and Diabetes (TRI) and president-elect of The Obesity Society. "These statistics are staggering and clearly demonstrate the need to rapidly develop treatment strategies for obesity."

The partnership combines complementary strengths in basic and clinical research at Sanford-Burnham and the TRI with Takeda's drug development expertise. The partners expect collaboration in the early discovery phase to accelerate the two-way exchange of valuable insights between laboratory research and clinical testing. Scientists evaluate discoveries made at Sanford-Burnham in a clinical setting at the TRI to ensure that only clinically relevant targets are pursued.

"Our collaborative model for innovative bench-to-bedside translational research offers much promise for expediting new drug candidates into Takeda's development pipeline. This approach allows us to identify new therapeutic targets and to evaluate clinical utility more efficiently than in the traditional drug development process," said Daniel P. Kelly, M.D., scientific director, Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute at Lake Nona.

The next phase of research will expand upon the therapeutic target identification conducted during the first two years of the partnership. Sanford-Burnham has used advanced technologies, including genomic and metabolite profiling, to identify metabolic signatures, genes, and pathways that could serve as novel drug targets and corresponding biomarkers. The next set of projects aims at investigating factors that regulate energy metabolism, including cross-talk between metabolically relevant tissues.

Through this novel partnership model, the collaborators hope to discover new therapeutic options for the ever-growing obese population around the world and to make the drug development process more efficient. The ultimate goal is to deliver innovative, safe, and more personalized obesity treatments to patients faster.


Obesity: An Epidemic

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, over one third of Americans is overweight and another one third is obese. Obesity leads to numerous serious illnesses, including type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, gallstones, fatty liver disease, sleep apnea, heart failure, birth defects, miscarriages, asthma, and some forms of cancer. Obesity causes at least 112,000 excess deaths in the U.S. each year and reduces life span by up to eight years. Medical-related expenses attributable to obesity are projected to top $344 billion by 2018.

About Florida Hospital

Opened in 1908, Florida Hospital is a faith-based institution focused on providing whole person care. It is one of the largest not-for-profit hospitals in the country, caring for more than a million patient visits per year--more than any other hospital in the country, according to the American Hospital Association. The more than 2,000-bed system is comprised of eight hospitals, including the Walt Disney Pavilion at Florida Hospital for Children, 30 outpatient facilities and 21 Centra Care locations throughout Central Florida.

With advanced research and industry partnerships, Florida Hospital seeks to extend and improve the quality of lives through the translation of fundamental scientific discoveries to the diagnosis and treatment of human disease. For more information, please visit

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. The Institute consistently ranks among the top five organizations worldwide for its scientific impact in the fields of biology and biochemistry (defined by citations per publication) and currently ranks third in the nation in NIH funding among all laboratory-based research institutes. Sanford-Burnham utilizes a unique, collaborative approach to medical research and has established major research programs in cancer, neurodegeneration, diabetes, and infectious, inflammatory, and childhood diseases. The Institute is especially known for its world-class capabilities in stem cell research and drug discovery technologies. Sanford-Burnham is a U.S.-based, nonprofit public benefit corporation, with operations in San Diego (La Jolla), Calif., and Orlando (Lake Nona), Fla. For more information, news, and events, please visit us at

About the TRI

The Florida Hospital - Sanford-Burnham Translational Research Institute for Metabolism and Diabetes (TRI) is the product of an innovative affiliation between Florida Hospital and Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute. By linking one of the largest not-for-profit hospitals in the country with a nationally renowned basic science leader, the TRI bridges the gap between the research bench and the patient's bedside. The mission of the TRI is extend and improve the quality of lives through the conduct of world-class, innovative translational research empowered by state-of-the-art technology that leads to discoveries--and ultimately cures--for obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. For additional information, please visit

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.