Boehringer Ingelheim has linked hands with four different academic institutions under an overarching aim to accelerate the development of new therapies for inflammatory bowel disease.

The collaborations all focus on the identification and validation of new therapeutic targets and biomarkers that offer the potential to address the significant unmet medical needs of patients suffering from IBD, including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

“Academia-industry collaborations are an extraordinarily effective way to advance research and we recognise the importance of joining forces with leading experts to effectively develop innovative therapies," said Clive Wood, Discovery Research, BI. 

Under its agreement with Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, joint research teams will look at both adaptive and innate immune response mechanisms that might be unique to both Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis, gathering new insights into IBD pathogenesis. The deal “offers unique opportunities for target discovery and biomarker validation,” the firm said.

Elsewhere, BI’s ongoing collaboration with Frederick Ausubel at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston will utilise “state-of-the-art, high-throughput chemical and genetic screening capabilities” to uncover new mechanisms at the host-environment interface that are compromised in patients with IBD.

An alliance with Scripps Research Institute, California, aims to gain a deeper understanding of the role of specific bacterial enzymes in the onset of ulcerative colitis, while a research collaboration with Weill Cornell Medicine will pursue an integrated preclinical and translational research programme related to certain defined cellular processes and targets that regulate the maintenance of the gut mucosal barrier in healthy and IBD-affected patients. 

Pradaxa data

Meanwhile, the drugmaker and Brigham and Women’s Hospital have unveiled findings of a new interim analysis from a long-term study of bloodthinner Pradaxa (dabigatran etexilate) relative to warfarin in routine clinical practice. 

The data, from a pooled analysis of two large US commercial health insurance databases, showed that patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation treated with Pradaxa had fewer strokes and fewer major bleeding events compared to AF patients treated with warfarin. 

From 44,672 AF patients in two insurance databases, researchers identified 65 strokes for Pradaxa-treated patients and 78 for warfarin-treated patients, representing a 28% reduction in stroke risk with BI’s drug. Researchers also reported a 26% reduction in the risk of major bleeds - 395 events versus 459, respectively.