Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) has formed a “strategic relationship” with Duke University’s Duke Translational Medicine Institute (DTMI) in the US that builds on a decade of collaboration in the fields of cardiology, endocrinology, and oncology.

The relationship will now extend into other therapeutic areas at all stages of development, stepping up interactions between DTMI researchers and BMS’ scientists and project teams.

For the first project under the consolidated partnership, DTMI translational researchers led by Drs Paul Noble and John Sundy will work with BMS scientists on the clinical development of BMS-986202, an orally available lysophosphatidic acid 1 (LPA1) receptor antagonist under investigation in the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).

The cross-organizational team will co-develop and co-implement the protocol for a Phase II clinical study with BMS-986202 expected to begin in late 2012, as well as performing biomarker validation studies.

IPF is a chronic, progressive form of lung disease characterised by scarring of the lung tissue. Currently the treatment options for IPF are limited, the partners noted.

Future projects

Future projects could include working together to accelerate promising investigational drugs into proof-of-concept studies; improving patient enrolment in clinical trials; and developing disease educational programmes.

Bristol-Myers Squibb and DTMI have established a joint steering committee of functional leaders and scientists that will forge the partnership, identify points of intersection and prioritise projects.

“More and more, scientific innovation in drug development is happening at the crossroad of different disciplines; so, it is important to nurture relationships at these crossroads,” commented Dr Elliott Sigal, BMS executive vice president, chief scientific officer and president of R&D.