Scripps Research Agreement to Boost Biomarker and Drug Discovery

Scripps Research Agreement to Boost Biomarker and Drug Discovery

29 Nov 2021

Research partnership paves the way for translating scientific discoveries to impact public health

QBRI is one of three institutes within HBKU focusing on translational research

Qatar Biomedical Research Institute (QBRI), a leading research institute under Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU), has signed a collaboration agreement with Scripps Research, which is ranked as the most influential institution in the world for its impact on innovation.

Under the agreement, QBRI and Scripps Research will combine their respective scientific expertise and world-class facilities to accelerate biomarker and drug discovery for unmet medical needs. Scripps Research scientists are at the forefront of research efforts and education in the biomedical sciences, including translational research. Recently, Scripps Research Professor Ardem Patapoutian was awarded the 2021 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for groundbreaking research that solved a long-standing mystery of how the body senses touch and other mechanical stimuli.

The partnership will enable the exchange of expertise and capabilities between laboratories of both institutes. To this end, the agreement identifies several joint research projects that lay the groundwork for future broader opportunities. 

"Last year brought many advancements in biomedical and health research at a pace that many previously believed impossible. As the world recovers from the pandemic, we must also welcome the many insights it provided for the scientific community and the drug development process - in particular, the value and impact of meaningful partnerships. We are delighted to be entering this collaboration with Scripps Research to accelerate innovative biomedical research aimed at enhancing the quality of life and well-being of our citizens," said Dr. Richard O’Kennedy, Vice President for Research, Development, and Innovation at Qatar Foundation and Vice President for Research at HBKU.

The collaboration will leverage the drug discovery infrastructure and expertise established at Calibr - the drug discovery division of Scripps Research - to address pressing medical needs that range from chronic diseases of the intestine and lung to COVID-19 and other viruses of concern. It will also leverage the proteomics capabilities at QBRI to identify biomarkers that facilitate clinical trials. One of QBRI’s seven research core facilities - the proteomics core - represents an important and enabling platform for interdisciplinary research programs that improve the understanding of different human diseases and aims to contribute to the development of precision medicine in Qatar.

Projects led by Scripps Research will focus on developing therapies for intestinal and lung repair, whereas projects led by Dr. Omar El-Agnaf, Executive Director at QBRI, and Dr. Paul Thornalley, Director of the Diabetes Research Center (DRC) at QBRI, will identify novel therapies against SARS-CoV-2. 

The partnership also includes the identification of therapeutic agents for neurodegenerative diseases, led by Dr. Nasser Zawia, Research Director at QBRI. 

“Together, we hope to translate fundamental scientific discoveries into clinical advances that improve patient outcomes and human health,” said Dr. Zawia.

Commenting further on the agreement, Dr. El-Agnaf said: “Working closely with a leader in medical breakthroughs that aims to develop profound innovations and improve wellbeing is an honor. Collaborations like these demonstrate the high standard of research we conduct at QBRI. Together with Scripps Research, we can generate innovative solutions of great importance to science and medicine with a focus on biomarkers and drug discovery for the advancement of precision medicine. Through this partnership, we can further our vision to develop healthcare solutions and create new innovations.”

Dr. Peter Schultz, President and CEO at Scripps Research, said: “We are excited to partner with QBRI, with whom we share a commitment to scientific excellence and serving public health needs. This joint research effort gives the teams at QBRI and Scripps Research the opportunity to leverage our respective areas of expertise for a global impact.” 

To learn more about Qatar Biomedical Research Institute, please visit, and to learn more about Scripps Research, please visit