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Tri-Institutional Therapeutics Discovery Institute expands focus to include antibody drug discovery research

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, The Rockefeller University and Weill Cornell Medicine today announced that they will expand the focus of the successful Tri-Institutional Therapeutics Discovery Institute, Inc., a partnership established in 2013 to expedite early-stage drug discovery of innovative new therapies. Under this expansion, Tri-I TDI will extend its current relationship with its industry partner Takeda Pharmaceutical Company, Ltd. from the realm of small molecule discovery into the new research area of antibody drug discovery.

Antibody therapies represent a different way to design a targeted treatment, as they tend to bind more specifically, have fewer side effects, and may also last longer in the body. Antibodies naturally interface with the immune system, and potential therapeutics could use antibodies to harness innate immune responses to treat diverse classes of disease, from cancer to autoimmune disorders. However, antibodies are large, complex proteins that require special manufacturing approaches, and they must be injected. By bringing together academic and industry scientists, the Tri-I TDI hopes to better understand how antibodies work and how they could be exploited for therapeutics.

“TDI has already had an important impact by providing an opportunity for our scientists, and those of our collaborating institutions, to develop small molecules that might lead to new drugs,” said Marc Tessier-Lavigne, president of The Rockefeller University. “With the addition of its antibody program, TDI will go even further, jumpstarting the development of an additional type of therapy for poorly treated diseases.”

Read the press release from the Tri-Institutional Therapeutics Discovery Institute.