Through the Toronto Recombinant Antibody Centre (TRAC), Boehringer Ingelheim established a research alliance with the University of Toronto, the University Health Network, and Mount Sinai Hospital to characterize new therapeutic targets in the field of ubiquitin biology. Boehringer Ingelheim scientists will work closely with researchers in the Toronto academic community to explore different therapeutic concepts within the ubiquitin system.

As part of the agreement, the collaboration aims to provide starting points for drug discovery in a multi-year research program focusing on the development and characterization of novel ubiquitin binding variants developed at TRAC.

Alterations of the ubiquitin system are linked to many common diseases such as cancer, diabetes, inflammation, and several central nervous system disorders.

“We are very pleased to work closely in a joint research program with the distinguished scientists at the University of Toronto, the University Health Network and the Mount Sinai Hospital in this emerging field of breakthrough therapeutics,” said Michel Pairet, Ph.D., senior corporate vp of research and nonclinical development at Boehringer Ingelheim. “We believe that this research program, headed by Sachdev Sidhu at the University of Toronto, will further strengthen our strong commitment in initiating new drug discovery programs in areas of high unmet medical need.”

Ubiquitin research has received a lot of attention this year. In April, Alexander Varshavsky, Ph.D., the Howard and Gwen Laurie Smits professor of cell biology at the California Institute of Technology, received the Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research for his discoveries on intracellular protein degradation. Dr. Varshavsky is responsible for discovering the first degradation signals in short-lived proteins, the first biological functions of the ubiquitin system.

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