The Center for Developmental Therapeutics (CDT) was established to rapidly and efficiently advance novel therapeutic interventions from basic research to the clinic. The CDT is one of the first academic-based drug development centers that bridges all aspects of translational research in a single entity including early drug discovery, mechanistic research, pre-clinical development and translation into the clinic. The Mission of Center encompasses the following tenets:
- To fill the void left in late discovery and early drug development by pharma and biotech by advancing academic therapeutic projects to the clinic. Projects continue to be supported and de-risked by NIH commitment and peer review. NIH and other sources of funding are evolving to focus on translation and deliverables and the CDT is positioned to be a leader in developing a new model of academic drug translation.
- To build a NU drug translation pipeline off of core academic strengths at NU including:
- Basic science strengths
- Therapeutic area strengths
- Unique centers and cores
- Early clinical development interests
- To provide an operational vehicle for translational projects. Our approach is proactive and we will work side by side with investigators to advance their ideas to the clinic and toward commercialization. The CDT provides a single portal of entry into the drug development process regardless of the stage or source of a project. We will work with internal or external translational projects of interest to Northwestern investigators; assist with virtual company and spin-out formation; and pharma and biotechnology interactions. This will be accomplished by accessing existing university resources (e.g. Cores, Centers) using a matrix approach and establishing new university resources as necessary to fill gaps. For example, the Developmental Therapeutics Core (DTC, formerly known as the Tumor Biology Core) was set up to carry out animal disease models and early drug development functions.
- To work across NU with the Chemistry of Life Processes Institute (CLP) and the Innovation and New Venture Office (INVO) to identify and enter into partnerships with investors and pharma and to proactively identify and advance projects from the pre-IP space into the community.
A schematic summarizing CDT operations is presented below: