Bayer Partners with Brigham Health and Mass General to Accelerate New Treatments for Lung Disease

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Approximately 65 million people suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) worldwide,  and three million people die from it each year. It is the third leading cause of disease-related death in the U.S. and a significant cause of long-term disability.

The costs attributable to the disease are also staggering—from $32.1 billion in the U.S. in 2010 to an estimated $49 billion by 2020. This includes the cost of medical treatments as well as the productivity loss from individuals who are unable to work because of the disease.

Despite its significant health and financial impacts, there is still much unknown about this disease, including the key inciting events, how to reverse them therapeutically and what molecular targets to aim for when developing and testing new drugs.

A new investigative approach that combines the drug discovery and development capabilities of industry with the clinical and research expertise of academia could help change that.

Bayer, Brigham Health (BH) and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) recently announced a five-year, $30 million collaboration to investigate new treatments for lung diseases, including COPD and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).

The alliance includes a joint lab based at Brigham and Women’s Hospital to be staffed by Bayer, BH, and MGH scientists. Researchers from the three institutions will work side-by-side to identify and test new therapeutic strategies and move them down the translational pipeline to the clinic.


The lab will be led by four experts in the field:


“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 Paul Anderson, MD, PhD, Senior Vice President of Research and Education and Chief Academic Officer at BH.

“The joint lab concept continues to be an innovative model for collaboration between academia and industry, enabling novel approaches for drug discovery,” says Joerg Moeller, MD, Member of the Executive Committee of Bayer AG’s Pharmaceuticals Division and Head of Global Research and Development.

The lab will be located in the Longwood area and be home to 20 scientists. The rights to all research findings will be shared by all three institutions. The agreement was negotiated by Partners Innovation on behalf of MGH and BH and the Pharmaceuticals Business Development & Licensing team at Bayer.

“This collaboration is a terrific match of long-standing clinical and research excellence at Brigham Health and Mass General with Bayer’s drug development strength,” said Chris Coburn, Chief Innovation Officer of Partners HealthCare Innovation. “This state-of-the-art partnership has emerged from a shared commitment to improving patients’ lives.”

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