EMD Serono Collaborates with Lupus Research Institute to Sponsor Research with Promise for Developing New Treatments

A New Model of Collaboration Between the Pharmaceutical Industry and Patient Groups

RothsteinThe Lupus Research Institute (LRI) is very pleased to announce a new joint initiative to support innovative research in lupus with EMD Serono, the biopharmaceutical division of global pharmaceutical giant Merck KGaA Darmstadt, Germany.

The EMD Serono unrestricted educational grant supports the first year of a potentially groundbreaking study looking at whether a specific type of B cells may be responsible for producing the antibodies that attack the body’s own immune system in lupus. One of 12 projects selected for 2012 LRI Novel Research Grants, this study will be led by Thomas L. Rothstein, MD, PhD Investigator and Head of the Center for Oncology and Cell Biology at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in New York.

In describing the newly funded project, Dr. Rothstein noted, “If our results prove our theory, therapies could be developed targeting harmful B1 cells without damaging the healthy B cells that defend against infection.”

“We share the LRI’s belief in the science as the way to make the greatest impact on lupus patients’ lives,” said Henry Hess, Director, Immunology & Pharmacology Research, EMD Serono. “We are particularly excited about Dr. Rothstein’s study because advancing the understanding of B cell biology is critical to our ability to continue developing safer and more effective treatments for lupus.”

“Collaborating with industry leaders like EMD Serono is helping us drive lupus research to the next level — from science to solutions, from innovation to impact,” said Margaret Dowd, LRI President and CEO. “Industry partnerships offer a new approach to funding the best novel research that can speed progress to new drug development for people with lupus.”