Boehringer Ingelheim announces joint project with Kyoto University, Kansai, Japan


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The project will aim to develop a novel treatment for hearing loss focused on regenerating specific cells in the inner ear, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.

Finding a ‘cure’ for hearing loss has long been considered a very difficult endeavor because of the complexity of the inner ear and sound processing. Recent advances have however been made and new players are entering the field.

Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH is a multinational pharmaceutical company headquartered in Ingelheim-am-Rhein, Germany. It is one of the top 20 pharma businesses in the world with research and development interests primarily in respiratory diseases, immunology, oncology, metabolism, and neurology. But now, the company is looking into new research areas, specifically diseases that currently do not have treatment options. Hearing loss is of course one of those areas.

It is in this context that Boehringer is planning to work with Kyoto University on a hair cell regeneration project. The initiative will include 10 scientists from Boehringer and Takayuki Nakagawa, a senior lecturer at Kyoto University and member of its Inner Ear Research Group. The company is one of the rare Western pharma groups to have a drug development presence in Japan, including a support center for non-clinical drug development focusing on early drug formulation and specific pharmacokinetic investigations.

The partnership, which will begin in April and continue for three years, is reported to be an unusual move for Kyoto University. The institution rarely works with non-Japanese pharmaceutical companies at the early stages of drug development.

Source: Nikkei Asian Review; Boehringer-Ingelheim