The Texas Therapeutics Institute at The Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine (TTI-IMM) was established in 2010 with funding from the Texas Emerging Technology Fund, The University of Texas System, and The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. TTI-IMM was created for the discovery, development, and commercialization of therapeutic agents and diagnostic tools. Research conducted at the center focuses on the establishment of proof-of-principle for therapeutics and the identification and validation of drug targets.
TTI-IMM investigators have brought in significant funding from biopharmaceutical companies such as Merck and Johnson & Johnson, and from government organizations including the National Institutes of Health, the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, and the Department of Defense. TTI investigators have made significant scientific discoveries in the areas of cancer biology, fungal natural products, and antibody drug development.
Current research activities at TTI-IMM include: 1) signaling mechanisms of receptors and enzymes that have critical roles in human diseases; 2) discovery of biologics and natural products that modulate the activity of these targets as potential lead molecules for drug discovery; and 3) characterization of antibodies from animals and humans in response to viral infections and experimental vaccines.
In addition to basic and translational research programs, TTI has built a major drug discovery platform for therapeutic monoclonal antibody lead discovery optimization and development. Over the last 12 years, TTI established a network of collaborators from institutions across Texas and the nation. TTI has more than 30 active drug discovery projects targeting cancer, metabolic diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, spinal cord injury, fibrosis, acute drug induced liver injury, and viral infections. Ten TTI inventions have been licensed to biotech companies for drug development. Five antibody based therapeutics discovered by TTI scientists are currently in human clinical trials. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, TTI scientists quickly discovered neutralizing antibodies targeting the SARS-CoV-2 virus. These antibodies are in development as potential therapies for the treatment of COVID-19. Licensing deals resulted in significant upfront payments, potential milestone payments, and royalties. The Texas Therapeutics Institute is recognized as the drug discovery engine of McGovern Medical School and UTHealth.
Zhiqiang An, PhD
Professor and Director
Robert A. Welch Distinguished University Chair in Chemistry