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AbbVie and Rice University establish research accelerator to advance oncology therapies

By David Schwartz
Published: May 8th, 2018

Rice University and global biopharma company AbbVie have entered into a joint research collaboration to establish the K.C. Nicolaou Research Accelerator. The research at the Accelerator will focus on synthesizing novel cytotoxic agents for use in cancer treatment.

The K.C. Nicolaou laboratory — named after the renowned cancer researcher who will lead it — has unique expertise in replicating complex natural molecules that have cancer-fighting properties. The process, called total synthesis, allows researchers to apply organic chemistry strategies and technologies to optimize anti-tumor agents. When combined with AbbVie’s medicinal chemistry and antibody engineering capabilities, these anti-tumor agents have the potential to transform cancer treatment paradigms and significantly benefit patients.

“Dr. Nicolaou and his team at Rice University are conducting world-class research in organic chemistry that has the potential to aid in the development of new and effective cancer therapies for patients,” said Tom Hudson, MD, AbbVie’s vice president for oncology discovery and early development. “Our goal is to transform the way cancer is treated and we look forward to aligning our development capabilities with the team’s expertise in chemistry to better address patient needs.”

Nicolaou is one of the world’s leading researchers focused on on total organic synthesis. He achieved the first total synthesis of the widely used chemotherapy agent paclitaxel (Taxol), along with many other complex molecules.

The research accelerator he’ll be overseeing “is a new model for university-industry collaboration,” said Yousif Shamoo, vice provost for research at Rice University. “It is a true partnership between AbbVie and Rice scientists to conduct the highest-quality cutting-edge research and development in cancer therapeutics. Rice is moving away from more transactional relations with industry and replacing them with an integrative and deeper collaborative structure that we think will produce better outcomes for industry as well as better research and knowledge creation for the University.”

“Collaborations like this one afford exciting opportunities for the commercialization of Rice research,” said Asha Rajagopal, the school’s director of technology transfer. “University-industry partnerships can marry academic exploration to market need and help streamline the translation of academic results into products with commercial impact. Such partnerships help foster a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation in the university community.”

Source: PR Newswire

Posted under: Industry-Sponsored Research Week

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