In keeping with its strategic goal to partner with industry for translational hemostasis and vascular biology research, the VMI has launched several projects under Pitt’s master collaboration agreement with Bayer.

The goal of this major new initiative is to advance translational research and therapies for heart, lung, and blood diseases.  Led by a joint steering committee comprised of representatives from both Bayer and Pitt, the collaboration focuses on pre-clinical and early phase clinical trials for drug development and big data analysis, including real-world evidence studies.

Through this collaboration, Bayer has funded several real-world evidence studies led by Pitt scientists as well as a nation-wide sickle cell disease clinical trial initiated and led by VMI Principal Investigator Gregory Kato, MD.  Ten hospitals across the country are currently recruiting or planning to recruit participants for this large phase 2 clinical trial that will assess in patients with sickle cell disease the safety, tolerability, and efficacy of riociguat, a drug currently approved to treat pulmonary hypertension.  The double-blind study will focus on changes in participants’ pain experience and physical function capabilities after twelve weeks in the study.  Dr. Kato is excited to combine the support of Bayer with the VMI’s sickle cell disease research expertise to expedite the development of new therapeutic interventions for patients with this severe disease with limited treatment options.

As it continues to develop, this partnership will aim to bring together our distinguished scientists with Bayer’s clinical disease experts to better understand patient needs, and to develop novel therapies for heart, lung and blood diseases.