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Merck to Fund New Translational Research Institute

Peter Schultz (Scripps Research Institute)

Peter Schultz (Scripps Research Institute)

The pharmaceutical company Merck in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey unveiled plans today to establish the California Institute for Biomedical Research (Calibr), an independent, not-for-profit organization to speed the translation of basic biomedical research into new medicines to treat disease. Merck is expected to provide up to $90 million financing for Calibr over seven years.

Researchers at Calibr will work with academic scientists to advance new discoveries to preclinical proof of concept, when commercial partnerships will be sought for further development. Merck will be able to obtain an exclusive commercial license to any proteins or small molecule therapy candidates from work conducted by Calibr.

For projects not licensed by Merck, Calibr will be free to seek alternative sources of funding for further development. Calibr will also be able to access funds from government and non-government sources. Revenues derived from licenses will be shared between Calibr and the collaborating institutions.

Calibr will be led by Peter Schultz (pictured at top), professor of chemistry at Scripps Research Institute in San Diego. Schultz’s research covers the fields of chemistry, materials science, and biomedical research. He has studied synthetic biology, including technologies for synthesizing and screening large collections of proteins, drug-like synthetic compounds, and solid state materials with new chemical and biological properties. Schultz is also a serial entrepreneur, serving as founder of eight different start-up companies, as well as director of the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation from 1999 to 2010.

Calibr will be located in San Diego, in close proximity to Salk Institute, University of California at San Diego, and Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, as well as Scripps Research Institute.

Read more: Company-Institute Teams to Tackle Residual HIV Infection

Hat tip: Xconomy

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