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The Wistar Institute and Fox Chase Chemical Diversity Center Launch Alliance to Propel Early-Stage Discoveries

Drug Development through Creative Partnerships

PHILADELPHIA—(May 5, 2015)—The Wistar Institute, an international leader in biomedical research in cancer, immunology and vaccines, and the Fox Chase Chemical Diversity Center, Inc. (FCCDC), a local drug discovery company with exceptional medicinal chemistry, target validation, pharmacology and chemical biology capabilities, announce a new partnership to combine Wistar’s early-stage scientific breakthroughs with FCCDC’s drug development expertise. The symbiotic relationship is centered on a co-development model whereby Wistar’s promising early-stage “hit” therapeutic candidates are efficiently advanced down the drug discovery continuum into commercially viable “lead” small molecule therapeutic programs that will more likely be attractive to downstream industry partners.

Since the November 2014 arrival of Heather Steinman, Ph.D., M.B.A., Vice President for Business Development and Executive Director, Technology Transfer, Wistar has implemented a proactive and flexible approach to facilitating academic-industry technology development. Steinman’s leadership focuses on cultivating long-standing, “win-win” collaborative partnerships to bridge the translational gap between biomedical research and therapeutic impact.

“Advancing Wistar Science and technology development through creative partnerships is central to our mission,” said Steinman. “While Wistar excels at generating cutting-edge research, novel drug targets and innovative new therapeutic approaches, we fully recognize that we are not drug developers. We need exceptional partners like FCCDC to work with us to move our discoveries from invention to demonstrated proof-of-concept. FCCDC’s intellectual contributions from the medicinal chemistry and drug development perspective are critical for advancing our small molecule programs. Together, we can increase the odds of developing new and useful therapies for those patients that have limited treatment options.”

“Wistar conducts groundbreaking research and discovery aimed at identifying new therapeutic targets and small molecules capable of acting on such targets, but we come from the industry spectrum and can look at these small molecules to assess them from a drug development perspective,” said Allen B. Reitz, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of FCCDC. “If there is a potential for the small molecule to be developed into a therapeutic candidate, then our partnership continues on as we leverage the early innovative targets and apply for translational research grants.” 

“In these highly competitive and changing times, the biomedical science community needs to embrace, with flexibility and openness, collaborative models of partnership and unique approaches to accelerating drug discovery,” said Dario C. Altieri, M.D., President and CEO of The Wistar Institute, Director of Wistar’s Cancer Center, and the Robert and Penny Fox Distinguished Professor. “I am confident that together Heather and Allen have created a complementary, proactive collaboration that will catapult Wistar science beyond the translational gap and on to effective, lifesaving drugs.”

Fox Chase Chemical Diversity Center, Inc. provides medicinal chemistry, target validation, in vitro pharmacology, and chemical biology support to investigators at universities, non-profit research organizations and foundations. The goal of the FCCDC is to transition innovation biomedical research technologies into full-fledged drug discovery and development programs of study. On the Web at

The Wistar Institute is an international leader in biomedical research with special expertise in cancer research and vaccine development. Founded in 1892 as the first independent nonprofit biomedical research institute in the country, Wistar has long held the prestigious National Cancer Institute Cancer Center designation and works actively to ensure that research advances move from the laboratory to the clinic as quickly as possible. Wistar Science Saves Lives. On the Web at


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