Vanderbilt University announced a licensing and research agreement with Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, focusing on discovery of novel drugs for the treatment of schizophrenia. Under the terms of the agreement Vanderbilt University grants Janssen Pharmaceutica NV a worldwide exclusive license to existing compounds acting on a neurotransmitter receptor target, and provides a mechanism for the discovery and licensing of additional novel compounds over the next three years.

The licensing and research agreement provides for a total of $10 million in upfront payment and committed research funding to the laboratory of Jeffrey Conn, director of Vanderbilt's Programme in Drug Discovery. Additional payments will be made based on meeting certain milestones and through royalties on product sales.

Vanderbilt will use its state-of-the-art drug discovery infrastructure, including high throughput screening, medicinal chemistry, molecular biology, and pharmacology testing, to create novel compounds with properties compatible with becoming schizophrenia drugs. In addition to carrying selected compounds from the collaboration into clinical development and through commercialization, Janssen Pharmaceutica NV will bring its expertise to the partnership through input on compound design, synthesis and later -stage safety and pharmacokinetic studies.

"This is another milestone for our Programme in Drug Discovery and we are excited to be teaming up with one of the world's leading developers of drugs for treatment of schizophrenia, said Conn. "It is also a testament to Vanderbilt's commitment to new approaches to drug discovery and developing new models by which academic institutions work closely with industry partners to deliver new breakthrough medicines that have a fundamental impact on human health."

Stef Heylen, chief medical officer, CNS Research and Early Development at Janssen said, "Academic collaborations are an important part of our drug discovery strategy. This collaboration underscores the synergies between industry and academia that can help to create solutions for addressing unmet medical needs. It is a great example of how we can work together with academia to better understand complex diseases and hopefully bring improved treatments to patients."