Francis Crick Institute snags GSK for first pharmaceutical collaboration

The companies will collaborate to investigate medical research and drug discovery in a variety of diseases, including cancer, HIV and malaria

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LONDON—GlaxoSmithKline has announced the beginning of a partnership with the Francis Crick Institute, the newest biomedical research facility in the United Kingdom. This open innovation collaboration, the Institute's first collaboration with a pharmaceutical company, will seek to explore new avenues of medical research and drug discovery across a variety of diseases. Scientists from GSK and the Crick Institute will work together in integrated teams at both the Crick's center of biomedical research in London and GSK's R&D hub in Stevenage, United Kingdom.
“As a company with deep research roots in the UK, we’re enormously proud of this country’s vibrant biosciences community and the cutting-edge biomedical research that takes place here. That’s why we continue to invest a quarter of our R&D spend in the UK and have collaborations in place with some of the country’s top research institutions, which rank among the best in the world,” Patrick Vallance, president of Pharmaceuticals R&D at GSK, said in a press release. “The Francis Crick Institute combines some of the world’s best scientific minds and promises to firmly cement the UK as a global leader in life-sciences research. We’re thrilled to be the first industry partner of this dynamic organization and believe that by working alongside one another, combining our unique strengths, we’ll be well placed to make game-changing advances in our understanding of human disease, which will ultimately improve our ability to make new medicines.”
Both organizations will contribute in-kind resources, which includes lab space as well as the experience and expertise of 20 staff. GSK will also provide access to its non-development compound library, key antibodies, reagents and technologies.
The Crick Institute brings with it specialized disease biology knowledge, while GSK provides extensive pharmaceutical R&D experience. It is expected that a handful of projects under this collaboration will begin this year, investigating diseases that include HIV, cancer and malaria, with the expectation of 10 to 15 projects next year. All research findings that result from this work will be published in peer-reviewed journals to be shared with the scientific community.
“This truly represents a landmark agreement in open science. In the Crick, we aim to have industrial scientists embedded in our laboratories and fully integrated with our existing scientific groups. Together the scientists will accelerate breakthroughs in the understanding of human health and disease. GSK is an outstanding partner to commence this effort, and I am excited to see what we deliver together,” David Roblin, chief operating officer and director of Scientific Translation at the Francis Crick Institute, commented in a statement.
SOURCE: GSK press release

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