The University of Toronto has partnered with Janssen and Johnson & Johnson (J&J) Innovation Center of California to identify and validate new therapeutic targets that could treat major brain disorders, including mood disorders and Alzheimer’s disease.

As part of the three-year agreement, research will be carried through the Collaborative Center for Drug Research (CCDR), which will issue three calls for proposals over three years.

University of Toronto medicine faculty dean professor Catharine Whiteside said: "This is an important opportunity to enhance discovery of new therapeutics targeted at mental health and neurodegenerative disorders."

"This is an important opportunity to enhance discovery of new therapeutics targeted at mental health and neurodegenerative disorders."

Through the Toronto Academic Health Science Network, collaborative and open-source research projects will be obtained from researchers at U of T and its affiliated hospitals.

Janssen scientists will work with the university researchers to provide drug discovery expertise to develop new medicines from basic science innovations.

University of Toronto research and innovation interim vice-president professor Peter Lewis said: "The potential for tremendous gains in human health can be found in working together in an open innovation partnership.

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"Janssen’s support of open discovery furthers U of T’s research goals, while identifying new therapeutic options that can provide new treatment options for patients."

The partnership has been established to increase the spirit of discovery and exploration in the field of neuroscience and mental health.

Established in 2013, CCDR pools researchers from the Faculty of Medicine, the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) to develop new innovative treatments in the area of mental health and neurodegeneration.