A comprehensive long-term alliance led to novel insights in diabetes and obesity treatments.
In December 2002 Takeda Chemical Industries, LTD. and BIDMC entered into one of the medical center’s largest ever research agreement, embarking on a collaboration to investigate the molecular bases of diabetes and obesity and develop new therapies for these widespread metabolic diseases.
The BIDMC-Takeda partnership was notable for its size and scope, including an initial three-year $13.7 million agreement later extended for an additional six years and $13 million. But this pairing of industry and academia was distinctly unique in its collaborative approach to scientific investigation, bringing together a team of prominent and respected BIDMC investigators -- Barbara Kahn, MD, Bradford Lowell, MD, PhD, Jeffrey Flier, MD, Joel Elmquist, PhD, Lewis Cantley, PhD, Anthony Hollenberg, MD, PhD, Evan Rosen, PhD, and Eleftheria Maratos-Flier, MD -- each a world-renowned scientist in the fields of endocrinology and metabolism.
As an industry leader in the development of diabetes therapies, Takeda Chemical Industries is Japan’s oldest and largest pharmaceutical firm. Drawn to BIDMC for its influential and prolific accomplishments in investigating metabolic disease, Takeda was also greatly influenced by BIDMC’s unique environment of scientific cooperation and teamwork, in keeping with their own culture’s emphasis on partnership and collaboration.
"Mutual trust and open communication were essential to the relationship,” says Muneo Takatani, PhD, former Director of Strategic Research Planning for Takeda’s Pharmaceutical Research Division who now works with similar industry partnerships for Kyoto University. “We created the small molecules, and BIDMC provided the drug targets and screening systems and evaluated the compounds." Takeda leveraged their in-house chemistry capabilities for further development and testing of these “lead compounds,” resulting in several new projects being pursued as possible diabetes and obesity drug candidates. Among the promising new targets was the work from the Kahn lab: nine classes of agents that could lower serum RBP4 levels and thereby counteract its effects.