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Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies
Non-profit research center dedicated to innovative disease research methods
Non-profit research center dedicated to innovative disease research methods


Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies and InvivoSciences, Inc. Initiate Research Collaboration to Accelerate Drug Discovery
Port St. Lucie, FL – Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies (TPIMS), a non-profit research institution and leader in advanced methods of drug discovery, and InvivoSciences Inc., an innovative company providing screening for first-in-class drug discovery, announced today a new collaboration to accelerate drug discovery in cardiac disease. Under the terms of the agreement, Torrey Pines Institute will work with InvivoSciences to screen the TPIMS collection of compounds in InvivoSciences’ 2012 Edison Award winning assay system. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Torrey Pines Institute has developed methods for the rapid synthesis and screening of compound libraries containing up to billions of compounds. The preparation of compound libraries in organized mixtures allows for the positional screening technique to be utilized, ultimately enabling the screening of billions of compounds in exponentially fewer samples.
InvivoSciences has developed an assay system with engineered tissue-based compound screening technology, including their PalpatorTM device and connective tissue constructs fabricated in MC96TM.  The ready-to-use tissues and assay platforms produced by InvivoSciences provide three-dimensional (3D) geometrics and physical environments for cells, bridging the gap between cell-based systems and isolated organ tissue systems or animal models by mimicking the functions of living organisms, specifically those of humans.
Richard A. Houghten, Founder, CEO & President of Torrey Pines Institute said, “It is exciting to combine our libraries and screening techniques with the assay systems developed by InvivoSciences.  Their assay approach closely models human disease so the potential to identify and develop disease-modifying therapies is significant.” Ayla Annac, Co-founder and CEO of InvivoSciences comments, “We are especially proud and pleased to establish a long-term relationship with the internationally recognized Torrey Pines Institute and recognize its entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to accelerate drug discovery.”
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Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies Initiates Research Collaboration with Takeda

Port St. Lucie, FL – Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies ,a non-profit institute dedicated to conducting basic research to advance the understanding of human disease and the improvement of human health, announced today the initiation of a research collaboration with Envoy Therapeutics, a wholly owned subsidiary of Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited.

Torrey Pines Institute will supply Envoy with compound libraries for evaluation and validation of Envoy’s assays to identify new tools and lead compounds for future drug development.  Over the years, Torrey Pines Institute has developed multiple compound libraries containing billions of compounds and the technologies that allow rapid screening of these libraries.  Financial terms of the research collaboration were not disclosed.

Richard A. Houghten, Founder, CEO & President of Torrey Pines Institute said, “We are excited about this collaboration with Envoy Therapeutics and Takeda.  Our expertise with library preparation and screening coupled with Envoy’s expertise in target identification and assay development brings together two powerful technologies capable of accelerating preclinical drug discovery.”

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Torrey Pines Antibiotic Resistance Research Featured in Drug Discovery Journal ChemMedChem

Bacterial infections are becoming increasingly difficult to treat due to the development and spread of antibiotic resistance. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, virtually all important bacterial pathogens are becoming resistant to currently available antibiotics. Therefore, developing new antibiotics capable of treating infections from multi-drug resistant bacteria is of vital importance. Historically, natural products have served as important source of biologically active compounds. Among natural products, cyclic depsipeptides are particularly attractive candidates for new drug discovery due to their broad spectrum of biological activities. Occurrence of multi-drug resistant bacteria and urgent demands for new and more potent antibiotics place this class of natural products in the center of the attention for development of new antibacterial agents.

Dr. Predrag Cudic, Associate Member, Bioorganic Chemistry of Torrey Pines Institute, and his research on new antimicrobial drugs, was featured on the inside cover of the May 2012 issue of ChemMedChem, one of top journals for research at the interface of chemistry, biology and medicine. Dr. Cudic’s cyclic peptide research was shown for the unique approach his lab took in identifying new compounds that may fight against drug-resistant infections. The approach focused on the fusaricidin class of cyclic depsipeptide natural products as promising lead compounds for the development of new antibacterial agents capable of reverting infections caused by multi-drug resistant bacteria. The team found that chemical modification of cyclic depsipeptide natural products may be equally potent with improved stability and minimal toxicity. Moreover, they are synthetically more accessible than the natural product, simplifying the drug discovery process.

Dr. Predrag Cudic’s research goals are to develop synthetic access to naturally occurring cyclic depsipeptides and their analogs, to better understand their mode of antibacterial activity, and to find new and more potent compounds of this class capable of reverting multi-drug resistant bacteria. In addition to discovery of new antibacterial drugs with new modes of action, Dr. Cudic’s lab is also interested in better understanding the role that carbohydrates play in biological systems. Carbohydrates mediate numerous biological processes involving cell-cell recognition, cell differentiation, cancer immunology as well as in host defense against viruses, bacteria and parasites.

More information on Dr. Cudic and the on-going research at Torrey Pines Institute may be found at

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Research shows that a protein involved in blood clotting promotes obesity, insulin-resistance and type-2 diabetes

Obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the U.S., leading to an increase in obesity-mediated health complications including insulin resistance, type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. In spite of this, the molecular changes that promote these disorders are still poorly defined, but researchers at Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies are beginning to discover the relationship between fat cells, obesity and type-2 diabetes.

Dr. Fahumiya Samad, Associate Member/Obesity & Diabetes Research, discovered many years ago that tissue factor (TF) a protein with a primary function of blood clotting was expressed in the fat tissue, and subsequently increased in the fat from obese mice. Puzzled as to what a blood clotting protein is doing in the fat, Dr. Samad collaborated with Dr. Wolfram Ruf of the Scripps Research Institute and discovered an unexpected finding that TF contributes to weight gain, insulin resistance and type-2 diabetes. Specifically, the research teams found that TF signaling in adipocytes, or fat cells, promotes obesity, whereas signaling in adipose tissue macrophages promotes local inflammation and insulin resistance leading to type-2 diabetes. Thus, the inhibition of TF signaling could be used to improve insulin-resistance, type-2 diabetes and reduce weight gain in obese individuals.

Importantly, the researchers noted that the signaling pathways used by TF for obesity and insulin resistance is different from the pathways used for its blood-clotting function. This means that we can safely inhibit TF signaling pathways leading to obesity, insulin resistance and type-2 diabetes without interfering with the TF clotting function.

Dr. Samad, in collaboration with Dr. Ruf, is evaluating new approaches using antibodies or inhibitors that block TF signaling in the treatment of obesity and the metabolic syndrome, a group of risk factors that occur together and increase the risk for coronary artery disease, stroke, and type-2 diabetes.

For more information and scientific details on this research, view the complete articles in Nature Medicine News & Views and the official article titled "Tissue factor–protease-activated receptor 2 signaling promotes diet-induced obesity and adipose inflammation", or view Dr. Samad’s webpage.

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Alzheimer’s disease recognized as a “major public health issue” by U.S. government, Torrey Pines scientist shares research information with local caretakers

On February 22, 2012, the Obama administration declared Alzheimer's disease as "one of the most feared health conditions" and issued a draft plan on the nation's first strategic course of action to fight the rise of the mind-destroying disease. With over 5 million Americans already diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and the toll being forecasted to reach up to 16 million by 2050, the government has issued a goal to find effective diagnostic and treatment methods for Alzheimer’s disease by 2025. In addition, the government has ramped up research efforts by budgeting an extra $50 million to the National Institute of Health’s dementia research.

Alzheimer's Research at Torrey Pines Institute

As a growing concern among aging Americans and the only major disease with an increasing death rate (the death rates for cancer, stroke and heart disease are declining- Alzheimer’s Association, Facts and Figures, 2011), Alzheimer’s disease research has become one of the hottest topics in biomedical research. In collaboration with Alzheimer’s Community Care, Torrey Pines Institute’s Associate Member of Neurobiology, Dr. Madepalli Lakshmana presented his research and goals to a group of 150 caretakers and staff at the Treasure Coast Hospice Center in Fort Pierce, Florida. Dr. Lakshmana’s research aims to find disease modifying therapy through the understanding of molecular mechanisms responsible for the generation and accumulation of toxic amyloid beta peptide within the amyloid plaques. The aggregation of amyloid beta peptide in the form of insoluble clumps is considered to be responsible for the reduced synaptic connections as well as massive loss of healthy neurons within the brain that leads to loss of memory, the primary feature of the disease.

Percentage changes in selected causes of death 2000-2008. Source: Alzheimer's Association.

In spite of rigorous research efforts worldwide, there are currently no drugs available that can effectively reverse or at least slow down the loss of memory in Alzheimer’s disease patients. The loss of synapses due to accumulation of amyloid beta peptide is an early event in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease which closely correlates with cognitive decline and memory loss. Therefore, Dr. Lakshmana’s goal is to identify all the proteins responsible for increasing amyloid beta peptide followed by identification of small molecule compounds that can effectively disrupt interactions between proteins. Such inhibitors are designed to prevent loss of synapses and neuronal death which in turn are expected to completely relieve memory loss and other personality changes seen in Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s Community Care Responds to Presentation

These facts were presented to the caretakers and staff at Alzheimer’s Community Care, which were met with great applause and thanks.

“Our Alzheimer’s families’ thirst for knowledge about the latest research is never ending,” stated Mary Barnes, President/CEO of Alzheimer’s Community Care. “Dr. Madepalli Lakshmana presented priceless information that was greatly appreciated by our attendees. He conveyed his message - that a cure is well within our future - so eloquently and with such conviction. His presentation helped to make our caregivers’ experience at the conference so worthwhile and meaningful.”

Dr. Lakshmana responded with excitement and satisfaction of increasing awareness. “This is the first time the government has recognized Alzheimer’s disease as a social problem. The problem is a complex one, with genetic, demographic, social and lifestyle risk factors to consider. We have the tools at Torrey Pines Institute and, with the support of government grant funding, philanthropy and organizations like Alzheimer’s Community Care, a cure for Alzheimer’s disease is certainly possible. For the first time, we have identified several proteins that increase the generation of amyloid beta peptide. Additionally, there are several small molecule compounds identified in our laboratory which are at the early stages of drug development. Some of our research findings have recently been published in prestigious journals such as FASEB Journal and Cell Death and Differentiation.”

More information on Dr. Lakshmana and his Alzheimer’s research may be found here. Also be sure to visit the Alzheimer's and Aging Research Center, which supports research of Alzheimer's disease and other aging-related diseases.

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Torrey Pines could begin human testing of new pain medication in 2013
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