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NEW: UMass Medical School Finds New Partner for Biomedical Innovation

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


The University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) has joined the Biopontis Alliance in an effort to put its academic biomedical discoveries to clinical use.

With the agreement, UMMS and Biopontis will collaborate to identify which breakthroughs made at UMMS have the potential to become viable treatments for cancer, neurological disorders, as well as other diseases. Biopontis will evaluate these discoveries for commercial viability, with extensive input from its network of pharmaceutical industry partners and investors.

Discoveries that show the capacity for development will then move on to being approved by pharmaceutical licensors before they can become real-world treatments. The hope is that eventually these UMMS discoveries can be brought to the marketplace through licensing or the creation of independent new companies.

“One of our goals as an academic research center is to take scientific discoveries made in the laboratory and turn them into treatments and strategies for patients in the clinic,” said Katherine Luzuriaga, MD, director of the UMass center for clinical and translational science and professor of pediatrics and molecular medicine. “This alliance with BioPontis has the potential to help us do that rapidly and efficiently.”

Biopontis is a hybrid firm that combines early-stage capital investment with early-stage drug development. It has forged agreements with three giants of the pharmaceutical industry in Merck, Pfizer and the Janssen Biotech unit of Johnson & Johnson. Biopontis uses its knowledge of these three companies' priorities to seek out relevant drug research at university partners like UMMS.

“BioPontis brings a unique combination of scientific expertise and industry connections to our efforts at translating basic biomedical research into real-world clinical treatments,” said Terence R. Flotte, MD, the Celia and Isaac Haidak Professor in Medicine, executive deputy chancellor, provost, dean of the School of Medicine and professor of pediatrics and microbiology & physiological systems. “Our faculty will benefit from insights that BioPontis brings to the table regarding what products companies are looking to develop.”

UMMS joins ten other BioPontis Alliance Partners, including Columbia, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Virginia, and Memorial Sloan Kettering. The agreement makes UMMS a scientific and profit-sharing partner in all intellectual property development that may occur after Biopontis licenses and begins to invest in a potential new drug.


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