Roche will partner with the Lead Discovery Center (LDC) to identify and advance drug discovery projects intended to address diseases of unmet medical need across several areas. The value of the collaboration and the diseases to be addressed were not disclosed by the LDC, which announced the partnership today.

The partners will work to advance projects from pinpointing targets to identifying a preclinical candidate. Over an initial three-year period, LDC will act as a translational incubator for Roche and carry out small molecule projects in collaboration with the scientific inventors and their academic institutions.

The partners, LDC added, will work on projects originating from Roche’s innovation network and the center’s academic partners. These universities and institutes include the Max Planck Society and the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres, Germany’s largest scientific organization.

Roche’s contributions will include research funding and possibly in-kind support, such as access to compound libraries. In return, Roche will have option rights to an exclusive license upon attainment of an undisclosed predefined milestone.

Terms and conditions of collaboration and licensing will be agreed upon by the partners on a project-by-project basis. LDC said it will share any revenue received from a potential future commercialization with the academic inventors and collaborating institutions.

LDC was established in 2008 by Max Planck Innovation, the entity that oversees technology transfer from the research institutes of the Max Planck Society, to capitalize on basic research toward new therapies for diseases with high medical need.

Roche is one of several drug developers with which the LDC has formed alliances; others include AstraZeneca, Bayer, Merck Serono, Daiichi Sankyo, Qurient, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, and Infinity. LDC also partners with academic drug discovery centers worldwide, including the Max Planck Society, with which it maintains a “preferred” partnership.

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