Boehringer uses crowdsourcing to build psychiatric R&D partnership with BioMed X

Boehringer Ingelheim and industry-academia collaboration BioMed X have used crowdsourcing to build a research team of scientists to find new treatments for psychiatric diseases.

The team aims to identify maladaptive brain circuits and find new approaches to treating psychiatric diseases, and is the second Boehringer partnership project built around crowdsourcing, following on from a venture focused on epigenetic drivers of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Members of the latest team had submitted the most promising solutions via a crowdsourcing competition.

The new team will be based at BioMed X Innovation Center, on the campus of the University of Heidelberg.

They will develop a brain model including authentic neuronal and non-neuronal cells, which will provide robust data for drug discovery.

The research team will be sponsored by Boehringer with the option to extend funding up to a total of four years. Further details of the agreement were not disclosed.

Christian Tidona, founder and managing director of BioMed X, said: “With this new neuroscience research group our center is growing to over 60 top researchers from around the world. We are excited about our strong partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim which is driven by scientific excellence and mutual trust.”

BioMed X creates specialist project teams, each of which has a pharma or biotech partner. Successful projects are internalised into the pipeline of the pharma or biotech, or spun off into an independent startup company.

Boehringer last year began working on a five-year project with California-based not-for-profit organisation, Sutter Health, which focuses on COPD.

Goals include creating a tablet or kiosk-based data collection system to collect information from patients, integrating clinical and patient reported data in an engaging visual display.

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