Credit: Texas Medical Center/Baylor College of Medicine

Commercial-stage biopharmaceutical company BridgeBio Pharma and Baylor College of Medicine announced the two will enter an academic collaboration that will seek to translate research findings into new therapies to treat genetic diseases.

BridgeBio has adopted a strategy of identifying cutting-edge research in academia and finding way to leverage this information as part of the drug development process.

“In these challenging times, we believe it is more important than ever to be a stalwart partner to academic institutions working to serve patient populations big and small, said Neil Kumar, Ph.D., BridgeBio founder and CEO in a press release announcing the collaboration. “We look forward to developing a close partnership with scientists at Baylor College of Medicine, which is known for its productive research engine, in the hope of translating innovations into meaningful medicines for patients with unmet medical needs.”

Baylor College of Medicine is known as one of the leading academic medical institutions in the U.S. that is looking to unlock the molecular underpinnings of genetic diseases and cancer using an approach that integrates basic scientific research with translational and clinical sciences. In this case, BridgeBio and Baylor will work together to identify and translate promising research findings into potential therapeutics for genetically driven diseases.

“Together with BridgeBio’s drug development team, we are optimistic that our interdisciplinary team of scientists and physicians will be able to develop new therapeutics for patients in need and further our mission to identify and develop drugs for a wide variety of diseases,” said Joseph Petrosino, Ph.D., chief scientific innovation officer and chair and professor of molecular virology & microbiology at Baylor.

To date, BridgeBio has forged nearly a dozen-and-a-half similar research-drug development collaborations with academic institutions, a strategy the company says will move it beyond the typical one-off approach that most companies take with academia and into more lasting, comprehensive creative partnerships.

“Far too often strong scientific research that could benefit patients is left on the shelves of academia because it can’t get the funding needed to move it forward,” the company notes on its website. “At BridgeBio, we are focused on forging meaningful partnerships with academic institutions to support and accelerate the work of researchers who are on the front lines of understanding how genetic diseases may be treated.

We feel privileged to partner with top academic and research institutions that share our commitment to discover, create, test ,and deliver life-changing medicines for patients with genetic diseases and cancers with clear genetic drivers.”

In a similar vein, BridgeBio also announced on Thursday a founding affiliation with Bakar Labs, the incubator at UC Berkeley’s Bakar BioEnginuity Hub. Bakar Labs was established by the University of California (UC), Berkeley and QB3, UC’s research institute for innovation and entrepreneurship in the life sciences. Bakar labs is available to academic researchers from around the world and plans to provide research facilities for as many as up to 50 life science start-up companies seeking to commercialize promising research.

“Partnering with UC Berkeley and QB3 to launch Bakar Labs is a natural extension of our mission to discover, create, test, and deliver transformative medicines to as many patients as possible. Through this collaboration, we aim to strengthen the Bay Area biotech ecosystem and potentially unlock new therapies for patients with unmet needs,” Kumar said.

BridgeBio’s participation in the incubator will provide it with the opportunity to review discoveries made by resident researchers, provide support to entrepreneurs, and consider possible partnership opportunities with startups focused on potential therapies for patients with genetically-driven diseases and cancers.

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