LEO Pharma announces collaboration with Washington University to enhance understanding of atopic dermatitis

BALLERUP, Denmark, 30 September – LEO Pharma, a global healthcare company dedicated to helping people achieve healthy skin, today announced a research collaboration with Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri, that aims to unveil the mechanisms underlying inflammatory itch in the setting of atopic dermatitis or eczema. Atopic dermatitis is a debilitating and chronic skin disorder that manifests as itchy, swollen, and cracked skin.

The three-year collaboration will take a highly translational approach, employing cutting-edge technologies to reveal novel neuroimmunologic signalling pathways in atopic dermatitis. In addition to providing scientific resources, LEO Pharma is sponsoring a postdoctoral fellow at Washington University to carry out these studies. 

The collaboration holds promise for the identification of new therapeutic targets, said Kim Kjoeller, Executive Vice President, Global Research & Development, LEO Pharma.

“We are excited about the potential of this research collaboration with Washington University. We hope that the research can enhance our understanding of atopic dermatitis so we can explore new potential treatments for people with this skin disease,” said Kim Kjoeller. 

The new fellowship in atopic dermatitis will be conducted under the supervision of Dr. Brian Kim, Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Dermatology at Washington University and Co-director of Centre for the Study of Itch since 2014. The centre was established in 2011 and is believed to be the world’s first multidisciplinary program designed solely to understand and treat itch. 

“We look forward to the partnership with LEO Pharma, a company with a special expertise and single focus on dermatologic disorders. By combining the multidisciplinary and novel translational approaches employed in our lab with LEO Pharma’s support and commitment to taking science to patients, we are hopeful that our work can help those suffering from atopic dermatitis,” said Dr. Kim. 

The research project funded by the fellowship is called, “Cellular and Molecular Regulation of Atopic Inflammation and Itch.” Dr Kim has co-authored 24 publications in peer-reviewed journals and currently holds multiple grants from the National Institutes of Health. He also is a recipient of the highly prestigious Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Clinical Scientist Development Award.

The agreement between LEO Pharma and Washington University regarding the fellowship will be officially signed at a ceremony in Cambridge, Massachusetts on 30 September 2016. The event will be honored with the participation of Her Royal Highness, Crown Princess Mary of Denmark.

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