In 2020, a partnership between Indiana University School of Medicine and Eli Lilly and Company was created to collaborate in specific areas of scientific development. Leaders of this effort say the progress so far from the five year, $5 million collaboration is a good sign for potential expansion in the future.
“The scientific collaboration between IU School of Medicine and Lilly has achieved more than we anticipated at this stage,” said Adrienne Takacs, PhD., the alliance leader for the partnership who is an adjunct clinical assistant professor of medicine at IU School of Medicine. “Feedback has been positive and we hope the collaboration continues for many years to come.”
The purpose of the arrangement was to gain an understanding of the molecular and cellular changes in patients after the use of some of Lilly’s currently marketed autoimmune therapies as they are being developed for the potential of new autoimmune diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease and psoriasis.
“The partnership provides a unique opportunity for the IU School of Medicine and the Regenstrief Institute researchers to collaborate with the scientists from Eli Lilly and Company on important information related to improving patient care generated with break-through medicines from their pipeline of novel therapeutics,” said Andrew Dahlem, PhD, who is a senior research professor of medicine and the Division of Clinical Pharmacology Chief at IU School of Medicine.
Early on, the teams addressed a way to collaborate effectively on the topics of intellectual property (IP), description of governance, and performance. The partnership consists of two committees that each serve a valuable role in the production of scientific discovery.
The Joint Steering Committee sets the vision and guides the direction of each project in the partnership. The IU membership on this committee includes Jay Hess, MHSA, PhD, MD, Dahlem, Carmel Egan, PhD, and Sharon Moe, MD. The Lilly members include Jim McGill, MD, Gary Krishnan, PhD, and Joel Ott. Their duties are aligned and each works together to monitor the progress and results of each project including budget and deliverables
The Technical Steering Committee oversees the technical aspects of each research plan. This committee includes a subject matter expert – one principal investigator each from IU School of Medicine and Lilly. The Technical Steering Committee members bring new projects and proposals to the Joint Steering Committee members while making recommendations on the technical merit of each project. Another responsibility of the Technical Steering Committee is assessing progress on milestones on a quarterly basis and ensuring deliverables are provided with all the technical components.
Three projects have achieved noteworthy milestones since the partnership was established just over a year and a half ago. Some of their research has been presented at the American College of Gastroenterology and European Crohn's and Colitis Organisation, as well as being published in the Journal of Crohn’s and Colitis.