San Diego Business Journal

A collaboration between Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute and Eli Lilly and Co. has been extended three years.

SBP and Eli Lilly are working to discover and develop immunological therapies, one of which they put into phase 1 clinical testing last year. Immunology spans 80 diseases, from lupus to arthritis.

“Uniting our researchers’ deep scientific understanding of the immune system with Lilly’s expertise in protein engineering and clinical development is proving to be a powerful combination,” said Carl Ware, director of the infectious and inflammatory disease center at SBP and collaboration co-chair.

“Expanding our successful partnership brings us one step closer to finding innovative medicines that could help millions of people who are affected by immune disorders that lack effective treatments.”

The two organizations said the three-year extension expanded the scope to encompass “omics” technologies, like the genetic engineering tool CRISPR.

“CRISPR-based libraries allow for state-of-the-art screens that provide a 40,000-foot view of all the genes that may control a disease state — in this case, immune system dysfunction,” Sumit Chanda, director of SBP’s immunity and pathogenesis program, said in a news release.

“Our scientists have more than two decades of experience using these genome-level technologies to uncover new biology and translate discoveries into therapeutic innovation,” Chanda said. “By combining our expertise with Lilly’s formidable capabilities in drug discovery, we are uniquely positioned to discover new, effective medicines for autoimmune diseases.”

Deal terms weren’t disclosed.

SBP has been active on the partnership front lately.

Under a five-year deal inked earlier this year, SBP, WARF Therapeutics and University of

Wisconsin-Madison scientists plan to translate drug targets into early-drug discovery. That includes hunting for chemical compounds that could lead to prototype drugs, drawing on SBP’s compound library.

And SBP has a partnership with the Mayo Clinic, struck in 2012 to build a pipeline of drugs for unmet diseases.

SBP employs almost 800 scientists and staff. It has a NCI-designated Cancer Center, the Conrad Prebys Center for Chemical Genomics and the Sanford Children’s Health Research Center.