UC Berkeley Receives $7 Million for Center for Emerging and Neglected Diseases

The University of California, Berkeley has announced a $7 million pledge from Henry Wheeler to establish the Center for Emerging and Neglected Diseases (CEND).

The center will work to advance scientific discovery for disabling diseases such as trypanosomiasis and dengue fever that affect individuals in developing countries through the funding of interdisciplinary research and the facilitation of research translation by biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, nonprofits, and academic partners within those countries. Drawing on the university's programs in law, economics, and business, CEND also will work to address global health policy issues, including the need for innovation incentives and intellectual property models that accelerate the discovery of medicines for neglected diseases.

In addition, the center will use community research competitions and targeted grants and fellowships to spur collaborations among campus experts in biology, chemistry, engineering, nanoscience, ecology, and public health. The first such competition will focus on identifying new drug targets for neglected diseases, which will be screened against a library of small molecules maintained by the Small Molecule Discovery Center at University of California, San Francisco.

"So many people die every year from diseases that aren't treated," said W. Geoffrey Owen, emeritus dean of biological sciences at Berkeley. "Meanwhile, we're facing potential disaster with multi-drug resistant tuberculosis, HIV, and staphylococcus. With this collaboration between world-class scientists, hopefully we can feed the pipeline with discoveries of new drugs."

"Berkeley Center for Neglected Diseases Receives $7 Million Pledge." University of California, Berkeley Press Release 12/11/2008.