Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) has joined up with biopharmaceutical giant AbbVie for a €10m collaborative project to investigate targets for new drugs.
The Department of Innovation has backed the plan, which will see SFI and AbbVie team up in Cork and Dublin for separate projects, creating 15 new research roles in the process.
In the larger of the two parts to this partnership, AbbVie will collaborate with researchers at SFI’s research centre, the APC Microbiome Institute in UCC, in a bid to identify new treatments for patients with Crohn’s disease.
The five-year investment plan will see €7.5m put towards 11 new research positions, at a site led by Prof Fergus Shanahan.
The other €2.5m will go towards work at the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute, working on biomarkers and drug targets for autoimmune and other immune-mediated diseases – the three-year plan will generate a further four new research positions.
“Autoimmune diseases like Crohn’s are common (affecting 5pc of the global population, two-thirds of them female) and debilitating,” said SFI’s director, Prof Mark Ferguson.
“To develop new treatments we need to better understand the underlying mechanisms, which is the focus of these research collaborations.
“By partnering our leading researchers with those in a major pharmaceutical company like AbbVie we can hopefully accelerate the discovery of new knowledge, which will lead to improved treatments and outcomes for patients.”
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