Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) said today they have created a new center designed to advance translational neuroscience by identifying and validating new therapeutic targets.

The new SBP-GSK Center for Translational Neuroscience—to be located on SBP’s campus in La Jolla, CA—will promote collaboration by researchers from SBP and GSK.

SBP scientists, postdoctoral candidates, and technicians will work with neuroscientists from GSK to investigate factors that influence brain function and potentially reverse or slow down neurodegeneration, the research institute said.

GSK will provide an undisclosed amount of funding to create and support the new Center for 3 years, SBP added.

The collaboration is intended to combine the expertise of SBP scientists in basic neuroscience research with GSK’s pharmaceutical development capability and know-how.

“This unique alliance provides an opportunity to combine the complementary expertise of our institutions to address one of the greatest unmet needs of our society today,” SBP CEO Perry Nisen, M.D., Ph.D., said in a statement.

For the most common form of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, developers have long struggled to create successful new drugs. Only a handful of drug successes have ever reached the market, and even they merely slow progression of symptoms by 6–12 months. A 2014 Cleveland Clinic study found a 99.6% failure rate of clinical trials for Alzheimer's drug candidates between 2002 and 2012.

Neuroscience is one of GSK’s 12 therapeutic areas of interest. Also of interest to the pharma giant is academic–industry collaboration in the San Diego region.

Last year, GSK opened an R&D satellite site in La Jolla focused on creating and nurturing collaborative relationships in the San Diego region and elsewhere on the West Coast, with the goal of finding, funding, and advancing research leading to new medicines.

Also in 2015, SBP renamed itself following a $100 million gift from San Diego developer and philanthropist Conrad Prebys toward supporting R&D and furthering research in its focus disease areas of neurodegeneration, as well as cancer, immunity, metabolic disorders, and rare children’s diseases.

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