Monash and Takeda Announce Research Partnership To Tackle Human Gastrointestinal Diseases

December 09, 2014

A major research partnership will enable scientists from Monash University and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company to embark on the collaborative discovery of potential new therapies to treat gastrointestinal diseases in humans.

Melbourne, Australia and Osaka, Japan, December 9, 2014 – The Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS), Monash University in Melbourne, Australia and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited (Takeda) announced today a strategic research alliance to develop new medicines to address significant unmet medical needs in gastroenterology.

Several gastrointestinal diseases and disorders in humans remain poorly understood and inadequately treated. Irritable bowel syndrome, abdominal pain, chronic itch, severe constipation and diarrhea are examples of some of the common and debilitating disorders that afflict millions of people worldwide and that will be the focus of the research alliance.

Funding from Takeda will enable MIPS and Takeda scientists to work together to research the mechanisms that underlie these diseases and develop new and highly innovative approaches for their treatment.

Professor Nigel Bunnett (Deputy Director, MIPS), who together with Dr. Daniel Poole, also from MIPS, will lead the three-year research program, said gastrointestinal diseases are a major cause of human suffering.

“There is no cure for many gastrointestinal diseases and current treatments are either inadequate or have major side-effects. If we can understand the mechanisms that trigger these diseases we can go on to develop effective drugs to treat them,” Professor Bunnett said. “Monash possesses the expertise, technology and materials at its research facilities necessary to conduct drug discovery, research and preclinical pharmaceutical development activities into gastrointestinal diseases,” he said.

Professor Bunnett said the research program will build on work by MIPS to better understand the causes of disorders of gastrointestinal function and sensation and could potentially lead to powerful therapies for digestive and sensory diseases. 

“A major thrust of the work will be to make use of our expertise in nano-medicine to deliver drugs to the source of disease within the body,” he said.

Professor Bunnett is one of the world’s leading experts in gastrointestinal diseases and disorders. He received his Ph.D. degree from the University of Cambridge, spent most of his career at the University of California, San Francisco, and joined MIPS in 2011. Professor Bunnett is a National Health and Medical Research Council Australia Fellow.

“Takeda’s gastroenterology (GI) Drug Discovery Unit is a highly specialized research team that works collaboratively with academic and industry partners.  The team is actively seeking to leverage the best scientific and pharmaceutical expertise all over the world,” said Tetsuyuki Maruyama, Ph.D., General Manager of the Pharmaceutical Research Division at Takeda. “We are so pleased to work with Professor Bunnett and his team who have a proven track record for collaborative delivery of clinical candidates. Together, we will advance GI research much faster than working alone, ultimately bringer greater benefit to patients sooner.”  

The collaboration between Monash and Takeda will focus on drug discovery, research and development of pharmaceutical products on potential therapeutic targets to treat gastrointestinal diseases and disorders.

About Monash University

Monash University is Australia's largest university and ranked in the Top 100 World Universities according to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. The Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Science (MIPS) is Australia’s largest pharmaceutical sciences research program in translational drug discovery, drug delivery and drug development. Pharmacy and Pharmacology at Monash is ranked number one in the Asia-Pacific and top 10 worldwide (2014 QS World University Rankings). http://www.monash.edu/pharm.

About Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited

Located in Osaka, Japan, Takeda is a research-based global company with its main focus on pharmaceuticals. As the largest pharmaceutical company in Japan and one of the global leaders of the industry, Takeda is committed to strive towards better health for people worldwide through leading innovation in medicine. Additional information about Takeda is available through its corporate website, www.takeda.com.

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