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Cardiovascular and Immunology Research Alliance Announced by Yale and Boehringer Ingelheim


New Haven, Conn. — Yale University School of Medicine and Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (BIPI) finalized a Research Alliance Agreement to support translational cardiovascular and immunology research.

The alliance between Yale and BIPI creates a framework for collaborations of mutual interest that will move basic research in immunological and in cardiovascular diseases to applied technologies and therapies. It is governed by a Joint Steering Committee that will approve collaborative projects between Yale and BIPI scientists funded under the approximately $1 million annual commitment.

A meeting of the Joint Steering Committee was hosted by Yale to launch the alliance and review potential projects. The initial projects include studies on the cytokine pathways in heart muscle cells and cells that line blood vessels, the identification of calcium channels in cells that mediate immunity, the protection of kidney blood vessels from hypertension, and the therapeutic potential of the regulatory protein HIF-1a in the cardiovascular system.

Both the projects and the funding will be flexible and have two phases. The first phase covers preliminary work designed to be completed within a year. Second phase protocols will expand successful projects and be designed to complete within two years. Each research project will have two principal investigators, one each from BIPI and Yale.

Leaders of the alliance are Jordan S. Pober, professor of Pathology, Dermatology, and Immunobiology at Yale, and Uwe Schoenbeck, Vice President, Cardiovascular Disease, at BIPI. The alliance arose out of conversations between Pober and Carolyn Slayman, Sterling Professor of Genetics and Deputy Dean of the School of Medicine, and BIPI’s Schoenbeck, Mikael Dolsten, Head, Corporate Division Pharma Research and Paul Anderson, Senior Vice President, Research.

“This collaboration is to work on the scientific frontier together with Yale. It is something that we as a company believe is very important,” said Dolsten. “Even as we come from various directions, we share the goal of trying to translate basic science to medical progress for the benefit of patients.”

The new program enhances Boehringer Ingelheim’s relationship with Yale research. For a number of years, BIPI has provided philanthropic support for both the School of Medicine and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. The most significant gifts to date have been in support of the STARS (Science, Technology and Research Scholars) program, which has helped scores of students from underrepresented backgrounds excel in the sciences as undergraduates and prepare for careers in science and medicine.

In addition to Pober and Slayman, Yale representatives to the Steering Committee include Richard Flavell, Sterling Professor and chair of Immunobiology and Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; William Sessa, professor of Pharmacology, and Kim Bottomly, professor of Immunobiology and Deputy Provost for Science, Technology and Faculty Development. BIPI’s representatives to the Committee are Schoenbeck, Anderson and Dolsten.

Several two-year projects are under way:

* Jordan Pober, professor of Pathology, Immunobiology, and Dermatology (Yale) and Revati Tatake (BIPI): “Gp130 cytokines and the MEK5/ERK5 pathway in endothelial cells and cardiac myocytes”
* Abdallah Badou, associate research scientist in Immunobiology (Yale), and Chris Pargellis (BIPI): “Identification of calcium channels in Th1 cells”
* Steven Hebert, C. N. H. Long Professor & chair of Cellular & Molecular Physiology (Yale), and Alisa Kabcenell (BIPI): “Effects of soluble epoxide hydrolase expression on mouse kidney physiology”
* Frank Giordano, associate professor of Medicine (Yale), and Richard Schneiderman (BIPI): “Pharmacological manipulation of HIF-1-alpha levels and the therapeutic potential in the cardiovascular system”
* Agnes Vignery, associate professor of Orthopedics (Yale), and Jun Li (BIPI): “Identification and characterization of new molecular targets to treat osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis”


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