Deconvoluting translation at Scripps

Why Scripps Research's non-profit model is doubling down on target discovery

With three institutes now under one roof, Scripps Research has established both its own pipeline and a non-profit funding model to bring candidates through early stage clinical trials.

Diverging from the philanthropy and investor-based approaches in other academic powerhouses that often out-license their findings at the preclinical stage, Scripps wants to hold on to its compounds up to Phase II.

By stitching together The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), California Institute of Biomedical Research (Calibr) and Scripps Research Translational Institute (SRTI), Scripps Research aims to take more drug candidates farther into development than any of the institutes could on their own.

Scripps aims to leverage its expertise in unbiased screening, allowing it to uncover the biology behind therapeutically relevant phenomena, rather than just interrogate specific targets or pathways.

“For a non-profit to compete on a known target that a large number of pharmas with vast resources are pursuing is kind of crazy,” said Scripps Research CEO Peter Schultz. He said by taking a target-agnostic screening approach, “you’re likely to find some new mechanisms for impacting disease that nobody had ever thought of.”

The October merger consolidates the three San Diego institutes’ tangled history and alliances into a single entity (see Figure:

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