Emory, GlaxoSmithKline, NIMH enter public-private partnership to develop new drugs for depression

December 01, 2003

ATLANTA, US; LONDON, UK -- Through a unique partnership among academia, industry, and government, a team of scientists from Emory University School of Medicine, GlaxoSmithKine (GSK), and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) will work together to accelerate the development of drugs to treat depression and other mood disorders. The new venture, funded through a $4.9 million, five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health, is one of three new national NIH (NIMH and NIDA)-supported National Cooperative Drug Discovery Groups.

The "Emory-GSK-NIMH Collaborative Mood Disorders Initiative" will join the expertise of three complementary research groups: the Emory University School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, the Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program at NIMH, and the Center for Excellence for Drug Discovery in Psychiatry at GlaxoSmithKline. The two major goals of the new venture will be the development of innovative new models for basic and clinical research in mood disorders, and the intensive scrutiny of novel GSK antidepressant candidates in pre-clinical and clinical studies.

Scientists at NIMH's own laboratories in Bethesda, MD, led by Dennis S. Charney, MD, will develop clinical models to assess novel antidepressants. Emory School of Medicine faculty including Michael Davis, PhD, Robert Woodruff professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and Andrew H. Miller, MD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, will develop preclinical models of fear, anxiety, and depression. In collaboration with scientists at GSK, they will test novel antidepressant candidates already under development by the pharmaceutical company as well as newly discovered candidates.

"By joining Emory's longstanding and groundbreaking research programs in depression and mood disorders with the highly successful programs at NIMH and the novel drug development program at GlaxoSmithKline, we hope to better serve the millions of patients worldwide who suffer from these debilitating conditions," said Charles B. Nemeroff, MD, PhD, Reunette W. Harris professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in Emory University School of Medicine, who will serve as principal investigator of this new center. Clinton D. Kilts, PhD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and vice-chair for research serves as associate director of the center.

"This exciting program is an ideal example of a scientific collaboration among diverse laboratories and distinct research enterprises that can potentially lead to the rapid development of new drugs that are of tremendous benefit to patients," said Emiliangelo Ratti, senior vice president and head of the GSK Centre of Excellence for Drug Discovery in Psychiatry.

The NIH National Cooperative Drug Discovery Program was developed in order to facilitate innovative drug discovery, the development of pharmacologic tools for basic and clinical research, and the development and validation of models for evaluating novel therapeutics. The partnership among academic research centers, the NIH, and industry is an example of the "research teams of the future" outlined by the NIH in its recently released roadmap for encouraging more streamlined and rapid progression of effective clinical tools and pharmaceuticals from the laboratory into the marketplace and into patient care. The new paradigm for conducting medical research also helps fulfill an NIH goal of advancing the development of rationally designed drugs for mental disorders and drug addiction.
The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University
Emory University's Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center encompasses those components of Emory University responsible for education of health professionals, research affecting health and illness, patient care, and policies for prevention and treatment of disease. The Health Sciences Center includes Emory University School of Medicine, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Rollins School of Public Health, Yerkes National Primate Research Center, and Emory Healthcare, which is the largest and most comprehensive health system in Georgia. For more information visit www.emory.edu/WHSC.

GlaxoSmithKline - one of the world's leading research-based phamaceutical and healthcare companies - is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer. For company information, visit GlaxoSmithKline at www.gsk.com

GlaxoSmithKline's drug discovery programme for psychiatric diseases is led by the Psychiatry Centre of Excellence for Drug Discovery which is based in Verona, Italy, and in Harlow, UK; with supporting sites in Research Triangle Park, US; and Barcelona, Spain. Within this therapeutic area, drug discovery and clinical development efforts are focussing on: depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder (manic depression), anxiety disorders, sleep disorder, drug addiction (nicotine and alcohol), and hypo-active sexual desire disorder.

The National Institute of Mental Health
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Federal Government's primary agency for biomedical and behavioral research. The NIMH mission is to reduce the burden of mental illness and behavioral disorders through research on mind, brain, and behavior. Part of the Institute's intramural, or in-house, research, the Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program brings a critical mass of clinical and basic science expertise to bear on depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, posttraumatic stress disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder.

Emory University Health Sciences Center

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