The Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation (GNF), founded in 1999 and now with over 560 employees, is under the umbrella of the Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research (NIBR) and is affiliated with the Novartis Institute for Developing World Medical Research (NIDWMR). The mission of GNF is to discover new medicines that address unmet medical need.
The Institute, located in a 260,000 square foot research center on the Torrey Pines Mesa, is funded through the Novartis Research Foundation, which provides GNF the operational freedom to initiate and conduct research programs while maintaining broad collaboration and alignment with the entire Novartis research organization. This relationship has allowed GNF to develop a unique environment and accompanying technological infrastructure not found in any university or commercial pharmaceutical setting.
GNF applies integrated state-of-the-art technologies in chemistry, biology, automation, and information sciences to identify new biological processes and disease-relevant mechanisms and develop new therapeutics in a variety of areas, including cancer biology, cardiovascular/metabolism, immunology, respiratory disease, neuroscience and infectious disease. These technologies and capabilities cut across the life sciences and include genomics and proteomics tools, structural genomics and forward/reverse mammalian genetics, high-throughput screening of genomics reagents or compounds, medicinal chemistry, ADME/PK and pharmacology. GNF’s preclinical drug discovery teams interface seamlessly with the NIBR/Novartis groups responsible for translation of programs through the clinic.
The technology infrastructure on site includes many systems created by the GNF engineering group, which designs and builds industry-leading high throughput automated systems that amplify GNF capabilities and enable GNF to tackle scientific challenges on an unprecedented scale. This includes state-of-the-art high throughput screening systems capable of evaluating millions of compounds per day in biochemical or cellular assays, profiling systems that enable testing of thousands of compounds against hundreds of cell-based assays in parallel, automated protein production, purification and crystallography instrumentation that enable high throughput structural genomics and protein-intensive studies, and functional genomics screening systems that facilitate genome-wide cellular assessments of gene function. GNF operates a 24,000 square foot facility for the commercial manufacture of these sophisticated systems.
At GNF, scientists are encouraged to pursue innovative basic, translational, and drug discovery research in a highly collaborative environment. In addition to many collaborations with scientists across NIBR/Novartis, GNF also fosters active partnerships with researchers at academic institutions, non-profit foundations and federal granting agencies. GNF is located at the center of a biomedical research hub on Torrey Pines Mesa and is within walking distance of numerous other centers of research excellence, including the Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute and the University of California, San Diego. This unique environment potentiates a wide range of scientific interactions through seminars and collaborations, also facilitated by GNF’s Academic Screening Program, through which academic researchers can access GNF’s high throughput small molecule and genomics screening capacity for projects of mutual interest.