As part of a new Food and Drug Administration-funded partnership, Stanford University and the University of California at San Francisco will open a new center to study drug development, with the goal of spurring innovation and improving medication safety, the universities have announced.
The UCSF-Stanford Center of Excellence in Regulatory Science will bring together top scientists from both universities, along with FDA partners, to conduct research and run a range of education and scientific exchange programs, according to a Stanford press release. The programs will focus on three areas: improving preclinical safety and efficacy tests; improving clinical trials and evaluation; and curating data sets to "accelerate and improve new drug development," the release states.
The collaborative center's initial funding has come in the form of a $3.3 million grant from the FDA. The center, which will be based at UCSF, will support FDA efforts to evaluate and approve safe and effective medications, the release states. It will also be managed by the FDA'S Office of Regulatory Science and Innovation.
The release also refers to the unique timing of the center's creation. The pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries are increasingly turning to quantitative pharmacology, or informatics and data-driven computer models, to improve these fields and help develop new drug therapies that are safer, more precise and have fewer side effects.
"Data on drug action at all levels, from molecular to population, is exploding and requires sophisticated computational integration to fully understand it," said Russ Altman, professor of bioengineering, of genetics and of medicine at Stanford, and director of the university's biomedical informatics training program. "We are bringing together the best minds in therapeutics, genetics and computational sciences to transform how drugs are made and how we assess whether they're safe or not."
Altman and Kathy Giacomini, professor and chair of bioengineering and therapeutic sciences at UCSF and co-chair of its Center for Quantitative Pharmacology, have been named the center's co-principal investigators.