Affiliation: Vanderbilt Program in Drug Discovery, Department of Pharmacology, Vanderbilt Medical Center, Nashville, TN 37232 USA.
This article describes the unique industrial - academic collaboration that has been running for four years between Janssen Pharmaceutica NV and the Vanderbilt Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery (VCNDD) towards identifying the next generation of schizophrenia therapeutics. This was a true collaboration, with both entities engaged in chemistry, In vitro pharmacology, DMPK and In vivo behavioral pharmacology, and aligned to deliver a first-in-class clinical candidate (NME) and additional back-up molecules. Notably, a first NME was delivered in a rapid timeframe and targeted the novel mechanism of mGlu5 positive allosteric modulation. As with any true collaboration, both sides brought unique skills to the table - Janssen leveraged deep drug discovery expertise and infrastructure, while Vanderbilt brought deep knowledge of the chemistry and pharmacology of the target in addition to the ability to provide deep scientific insight into the mechanism behind target modulation. In this article, we will discuss the science which drove our collaboration as well as some key lessons learned.