The Jerusalem Post
TAU establishes center to discover effective drugs
Tel Aviv University has established the Blavatnik Center for Drug Discovery to help scientists create new medications, it was announced on Wednesday.
“The development of a new drug is a long and complex process that involves very high costs,” said the center’s initiator, Prof. Ehud Gazit of the molecular microbiology and biotechnology department and the department of science and materials engineering.
“Many important discoveries that originated in our labs remain within academia and don’t manage to break out into the world of applied research,” he said. “Our researchers are unable to finance these projects or obtain the equipment, logistics and scientific cooperation to do this. Thus, that is exactly the aim of BCDD. This is the engine that we waited for many years. It’s a dream come true.”
The development of pharmaceutical drugs is the most significant added value that academia can give society, said Dr. Ludmilla Bojanski, the head of the new center. “We hope that our work will enrich the global bank of potential drugs. Almost every researcher that I know has an ‘idea in the drawer’ that he dreams of developing one day. This occurs in all relevant fields, from life sciences, exact sciences and engineering to medicine. Some are really brilliant, but they remain in the drawer.”
The new center will develop the ideas until they reach the stage when they can be sold to pharmaceutical companies. “Our work will save the companies years of R&D. That is translational science,” said Bojanski.
The center will use computers to test various molecules that can become drugs. TAU scientists already create cell systems that resemble diseases. They will now examine the behavior of the cells and genes and then find potential treatments. Even robots will be used for this purpose. TAU researchers will focus on genetic problems, including rare “orphan diseases” and cancers.