SANDOZ $75 MIL. GRANT TO THE NEUROSCIENCES INSTITUTE
SANDOZ $75 MIL. GRANT TO THE NEUROSCIENCES INSTITUTE gives Sandoz Pharmaceuticals Corp. (East Hanover, N.J.) first rights to central nervous system-related discoveries at the independent, not-for-profit brain research center. Under a 14-year deal announced Jan. 14, funding from Sandoz will help support NSI's expansion into laboratory research. Annual installments of the grant money will enable NSI to outfit the five labs it is currently building at the Scripps Research Institute Campus in La Jolla, Calif. Commenting on the new labs, NSI Director and 1972 Nobel Laureate Gerald Edelman, MD/PhD, noted that their creation marks NSI's first venture in "experimental, wet research." Since its inception in 1981, NSI has focused on theoretical modeling of brain functions, including the development of a computer method -- synthetic neural modeling -- that replicates complex neural systems. Construction and outfitting of NSI's new labs are expected to be completed in late May 1994. Edelman explained that the grant "money is for general research -- it will go to laboratories as well as for theoretic research, but it is not targeted specifically." NSI, which currently has an annual budget of between $2 and $2.5 mil., will continue work on its central mission of developing a theoretical model of the brain. According to NSI Research Director Dr. Einar Gall, PhD, almost one-third of the expanded staff will work exclusively on theoretical modeling. About six months of negotiations preceded the Jan. 14 announcement. The agreement with NSI is the third such alliance Sandoz has made in two years and part of the firm's continuing trend toward progressive R&D. The Sandoz-NSI alliance follows a similar Sandoz- Scripps agreement by one month. That $300 mil. deal gives the firm first rights to all Scripps "medical discoveries" starting in 1997 ("The Pink Sheet" Dec. 7, 1992, T&G-8). In 1991, Sandoz entered into a $100 mil., 10-year R&D collaboration with the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. "We expect that the agreement with NSI will greatly enhance developments in a number of areas related to the central nervous system," Sandoz Pharmaceuticals President and CEO Tim Rothwell commented. "This alliance will keep us at the forefront of science and technology, while providing appropriate balance with ongoing internal and external research initiatives." Four Sandoz scientists will collaborate with NSI researchers. Two scientists will learn the tissue modeling techniques developed by NSI; two other Sandoz scientists will work at one of the five labs being built on the Scripps site. NSI has a 14-person staff but expects to more than double that number by 1994. The Neurosciences Institute is run by the Neurosciences Research Foundation overseen by Edelman. Although Edelman also heads the Scripps' Department of Neurobiology, Scripps and NSI will function independently. The relationship between the two will be what NSI characterizes as a "host and paying guest relationship." NSI moved to Rockefeller University in 1982, and will officially relocate to Scripps this summer.
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