Harvard and Astellas establish strategic research alliance

Harvard Gate.

Kris Snibbe/Harvard file photo

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Harvard University and Astellas Pharma Inc. have established a three-year strategic research alliance to support multiple, multi-year research projects initiated by faculty at Harvard, focused on the research and development of innovative therapeutics and technologies of mutual interest.

The alliance will provide crucial support to future collaborative research efforts when the academic laboratories return to regular activities following the significant disruptions of the coronavirus pandemic.

Under the new alliance, Astellas will issue one or more “challenges” based on Astellas’ research scopes to inspire research proposals by Harvard faculty, a number of which will then be selected by Astellas for project funding based on strong scientific rationale and projected impact on value for patients. Projects may span a range of developmental stages, from early investigations into the biological mechanisms of disease, to the identification of possible therapeutic targets, or to the generation and validation of new therapeutic entities.

“Academic-industry collaboration is vital to the advancement of biomedical discovery and to ensure that promising new therapies are developed to their fullest potential,” said Vivian Berlin, Managing Director of Strategic Partnerships in Harvard Office of Technology Development. “This research alliance with Astellas will not only provide important funding to Harvard labs but will also expand our scientific community of collaborators to make progress against major challenges in human health and medicine. Alliances like this spur creativity and drive rapid innovation for the benefit of patients in need.”