The project from the Centre of Excellence in New Target Discovery (CENTD) was selected by a committee of scientists chosen by FAPESP and GSK, to foster collaborative research between the university and the industry, with characteristics considered as priorities to ensure that the Center reach the proposed objectives. The objectives involve the production of first-class science, the commitment of the host institution to provide adequate support for the Center, and the participation of researchers from the industry working together with scientists from the Research Institute.
CENTD is therefore the result of a partnership between the Butantan Institute and the São Paulo State Research Foundation (FAPESP) and the GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceutical (GSK).
It was inaugurated on July 21, 2017 and aims to validate therapeutic targets for the production of new drugs for inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, metabolic syndrome and neurodegenerative diseases. It uses natural products, such as poisons and animal secretions, to validate therapeutic targets, paving the way for the development of new drugs.
It is coordinated by the researcher Ana Marisa Chudzinski-Tavassi, who is the principal investigator. There is also an associate coordinator, Isro Gloger, who is a qualified researcher appointed by GSK, who acts as a visiting researcher at the host institution to ensure that the partner institution is involved in all of the decisions and day-to-day operations of the Center, participating in meetings and discussions of all projects.
CENTD follows the rules of the FAPESP Program to Support Research Partnership for Technological Innovation (PITE) and the Engineering Research Centers supported by the Foundation, for conducting long-term research with companies, enabling the shared generation of knowledge in areas of common interest, with great potential for application of the results generated.
The project received financial support of R$ 24 million. FAPESP invested R$ 12.7 million and GSK R$ 11.3 million to purchase equipment, reagents and hiring postdoctoral students. On the other hand, the Butantan Institute should provide, over five years, all the infrastructure and human resources to carry out the research, which is equivalent to approximately R$ 33 million.
“The interaction with GSK throughout the selection process and now, supporting the Center, was very effective because the company knows and values science and has research goals with boldness and potential of international impact”, explains Carlos Henrique de Brito Cruz, scientific director of FAPESP
For Isro Gloger, director of GSK's Trust in Science Program, the Center is a true reflection of GSK's exceptional public-private partnership with FAPESP in Brazil. "This partnership supports the excellent scientific level that exists in the country and, in particular, the new approaches that the Butantan Institute can apply to the discovery of a new target of relevance in the area of immuno-inflammation, which will open the way for the development of innovative medicines to treat diseases, "says Isro.