LA JOLLA, CA—La Jolla Institute for Immunology (LJI) and Kyowa Kirin Pharmaceutical Research, Inc. (KKR), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kyowa Hakko Kirin Co., Ltd., a global specialty pharmaceutical company, today announced the signing of a new agreement. The agreement extends the longest industry-academic collaboration in the world for another three-year term, through until the end of 2021.
The renewed collaboration marks yet another milestone in an extraordinarily successful and enduring research alliance, now entering its fourth decade, between La Jolla Institute, an academic non-profit and a world-leader in immunology research and KKR, which focuses on early stage drug discovery and translational activities. The collaboration leverages the pharmaceutical company’s discovery and development capabilities and La Jolla Institute’s expertise in discovery research to accelerate translation of research discoveries into potential new treatments. It has led to clinical trials for a number of conditions, including psoriasis, inflammatory bowel disease, and atopic dermatitis.
“Our continuing collaboration is a natural outgrowth of the mutual respect and growing scientific exchange with KKR under the leadership of Dr. Andrew McKnight and a visionary move guided by Kyowa Hakko Kirin’s head of R&D, Dr. Mitsuo Satoh,” says Mitchell Kronenberg, Ph.D., LJI President and Chief Scientific Officer. “Our unique partnership allows us to double down on mechanistic research while creating a direct path to propel major discoveries made in LJI labs into drug development and ultimately into the hands of patients.”
Recognizing the importance of immunological interventions for the future of human health Andrew McKnight, Ph.D., KKR’s President and Chief Scientific Officer, says the agreement is beneficial for everyone involved, most importantly for the legions of patients who are in desperate need of better treatments. “LJI scientists are worldwide recognized for their pioneering immunological research, while Kyowa Kirin has long history of successful drug development,” he says. “By reaffirming our mutual efforts to foster scientific breakthroughs, identify new intervention points and enhance drug discovery efforts, we will get closer to our ultimate goal of improving health worldwide.
Under the terms of the agreement, La Jolla Institute will receive a combination of discretionary research funding, funds reserved for specific, collaborative projects and, for the first time, the support of two investigators transitioning to independence. Because of the discretionary component, all laboratories at LJI are able to benefit from this partnership. Furthermore, while KKR is the primary drug discovery partner for the Institute, LJI maintains partnerships with a diverse set pharmaceutical and biotech companies, especially in the infectious disease area. Kyowa Kirin Pharmaceutical Research will receive first rights of negotiation to pursue translation of La Jolla Institute discoveries stemming from research projects funded by KKR. The research agreement will be active through the end of 2021.
LJI Instructors Dr. Chan-Wang “Jerry” Lio and Dr. Gregory Seumois, were selected as the inaugural Independent Investigators based on their research proposals. Dr. Lio will explore the role of DNA modifications and other genome-wide, regulatory mechanisms in B cells to understand how they contribute to cancer as well as self-tolerance and autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus. In a direct extension of his previous work, Dr. Seumois, who currently directs the Institute’s sequencing facility, wants to develop a genomics-based platform to gain a detailed understanding of the immunological and molecular effects of novel therapeutic targets in patients with asthma.
About La Jolla Institute
La Jolla Institute for Immunology is dedicated to understanding the intricacies and power of the immune system so that we may apply that knowledge to promote human health and prevent a wide range of diseases. Since its founding in 1988 as an independent, nonprofit research organization, the Institute has made numerous advances leading toward its goal: life without disease. For more information, visit: http://www.lji.org
About Kyowa Kirin Pharmaceutical Research
Kyowa Kirin Pharmaceutical Research, Inc. (KKR) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kyowa Hakko Kirin of Japan, acting as Kyowa Hakko Kirin’s primary drug discovery and translational research center in the U.S., and a cornerstone of Kyowa Hakko Kirin’s global network-based research.
About Kyowa Hakko Kirin
Kyowa Hakko Kirin Co., Ltd. is a research-based life sciences company, with special strengths in biotechnologies. In the core therapeutic areas of oncology, nephrology and immunology/allergy, Kyowa Hakko Kirin leverages leading-edge biotechnologies centered on antibody technologies, to continually discover innovative new drugs and to develop and market those drugs world-wide. In this way, the company is working to realize its vision of becoming a Japan-based global specialty pharmaceutical company that contributes to the health and wellbeing of people around the world. You can learn more about the business at: www.kyowa-kirin.com.