Bridging Academia and Industry

Closing the gap between the bench and clinic

Many important discoveries in neuroscience happen in academic labs, but these discoveries can face barriers when moving from the bench into developing medicines that can enter the clinic. In a new and unique collaboration with the Weill Neurohub , scientists from Genentech and Roche are working alongside other world-class researchers and clinicians from UC San Francisco (UCSF) and UC Berkeley with the united goal of accelerating the development of new treatments for diseases of the central nervous system (CNS).

This represents a perfect opportunity to align the scientific expertise of our great public institutions with innovation that thrives at Genentech and Roche.
Stephen Hauser, M.D., a Weill Neurohub partner
Robert A. Fishman Distinguished Professor of Neurology at UCSF and director of the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences

“It also builds upon long-standing relationships with Genentech that help strengthen the collaboration across academia and industry,” Dr. Hauser says.

The collaboration, called the “Alliance for Therapies in Neuroscience,” is unique in many ways. It fosters greater teamwork not just between industry and academia, but also internally, where our research teams at Roche and Genentech are structured to operate independently.

The collaboration will initially fund projects focused on neurodegeneration, therapies based on CRISPR technology, functional genomics in human brain cells, and sleep mechanisms and circuits. It will also give our scientists more opportunities to leverage cutting-edge technologies like next-generation neuroimaging, CRISPR gene editing, AI and high-end computing. Jennifer Doudna, who won the Nobel Prize for her work in CRISPR gene editing, will be one of the leading academics that will be involved in this collaboration.

“This 10-year collaboration enables the scientists to take the risks that are needed and overcome failures that will be inevitable to tackle some of the biggest challenges in neuroscience research,” says Tom Zioncheck, Global Head Neuroscience, Ophthalmology, and Rare Diseases at Roche Pharma Partnering. “We are excited to bring together the leading scientists from academia, Roche and Genentech behind this long-term vision and hope that our work will make an impact for neuroscience R&D and ultimately for patients.”

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