Daiichi Pharmaceutical Co. Donates $11 Million For UCSF Heart Disease And Cancer Research

June 30, 1998

After a successful five-year partnership with the University of California San Francisco, Tokyo-based Daiichi Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. will expand that relationship through an $11 million grant to study heart disease and cancer.

About $7.5 million of the grant will be used for continuing research into the causes of heart disease at the Daiichi Research Center for the study of cardiovascular disease at UCSF, which was established with a $19.8 million grant from Daiichi in 1993. Daiichi also is expanding its support of UCSF research to other areas, with a $3.5 million grant to establish the Daiichi Cancer Research Program at the UCSF Cancer Research Institute.

The goal of the research is to understand further the causes of heart disease and cancer in hopes of developing remedies to fight them. The continuing financial support from Daiichi makes that possible, UCSF researchers said.

"This has been a wonderful partnership. As university researchers, we seek to improve our understanding of the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying cardiovascular disease and Daiichi has provided us with invaluable support for this endeavor," said Shaun Coughlin, MD, PhD, UCSF professor of medicine, director of the Daiichi Research Center and UCSF's Cardiovascular Research Institute (CVRI).

Tadashi Suzuki, president and chief executive officer of Daiichi, said Daiichi strongly believes in supporting research that could ultimately lead to improved health for people around the world.

"In the more than 80 years since its establishment in 1915, Daiichi has been guided by the commitment to provide superior pharmaceuticals that promote better health worldwide," Suzuki said.

"We are satisfied very much with the results of the research that has been achieved by the Daiichi Research Center in the last five years," he said. "During this period, 14 patent applications were filed and 45 papers were published in prestigious journals by the Daiichi Research Center. This reinforces our conviction that our collaboration with UCSF as a research partner is a correct and productive one."

The money set aside for cardiovascular research will be used to continue the work of Daiichi Research Center scientists into illnesses that affect the heart and blood vessels, the leading cause of death in the United States, Coughlin said.

The overall goal of the research is to get a better understanding of atherosclerosis, the build-up of deposits inside arteries that can lead to heart attacks. "It is our fondest hope that knowledge contributed by the Center will provide a basis for the development of new drugs to fight heart disease," Coughlin said.

The cancer research will be focused on signaling pathways of cancer cells. The research program will involve work in several different laboratories within the UCSF Cancer Center to identify components of the pathways and to determine their significance in cancer cells and in normal cells. This work will allow researchers at Daiichi to search for specific inhibitors of key components of the pathway, leading to possible new types of anti-cancer therapeutics.

"The goal of these efforts is to untangle the signaling pathways of cancer cells, and to identify what has gone wrong and how to deal with it," said Frank McCormick, PhD, FRS, director of the UCSF Cancer Center and Cancer Research Institute. "This funding from Daiichi is important in that it can help us to identify possible new opportunities for therapeutic intervention."

All research will be overseen by UCSF faculty. The Regents of the University of California will own all patents on inventions made in the course of the Daiichi-funded research by UCSF researchers or Daiichi visiting scientists working at UCSF. Daiichi will have the first right to negotiate an exclusive license to such inventions, as provided under the University's policies regarding privately sponsored research.

University of California - San Francisco

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