SLOUGH, England—A new collaboration was announced this weekbetween UCB Pharma and Oxford University, centered on pharmaceutical researchprojects. The collaboration will bring together researchers from academia andindustry to focus on the development of innovative medicines to treat diseasesin the realms of immunology and neurology.
"In our Strategy for UK Life Sciences, we set out ambitiousplans to make Britain the number one choice for investment, so today'sannouncement from UCB and Oxford University is very welcome news," DavidWilletts, Minister for Universities and Science, said in a press release. "Theinitiative brings together leaders from the academic and business worlds todrive innovation and develop treatments for serious diseases affecting millionsof people. This will in turn have benefits for patients and the economy."
The partnership will run for a period of three years, andwill be funded by a contribution of 3.6 million pounds ($5.7 million) from UCB.A joint steering made up of representatives from UCB and Oxford University willbe in charge of overseeing the collaboration and will handle the monitoring ofnew projects. The agreement will focus on the investigation of between five and10 projects over its duration.
According to UCB, nearly half of its research spending occursin the United Kingdom, where it ranks as one of the top five R&D spenders.UCB spent over 230 million pounds ($364.8 million) for research and developmentin the United Kingdom in 2010.
"UCB actively connects its internal capabilities withworld-class innovation, especially in academia," Roch Doliveux, Chief Executiveof UCB and Chairman of the Innovative Medicines Initiative, said in a pressrelease about the collaboration. "This new partnership combines Oxford University'sworld-class academic research with UCB's world-class antibody research to bringtwo parties, committed to scientific exploration and the exchange of cuttingedge ideas, together on a mission to discover new medicines that will aim totransform the lives of people living with severe diseases."
Professor Sir John Bell, Regius Professor of Medicine atOxford University, called the collaboration "an exciting new partnership."
"I am eager to see the research that results. Partnershipsbetween industry and academia will have an increasingly prominent role to playin the development of new drugs, therapies and medical technologies," said Bellin a press release. "Pooling expertise and resources is exactly what we shouldbe doing to carry out the best research, identify the most promising new drugcandidates and take them forward."
The Strategy for UK Life Sciences was initiated Dec. 5, 2011by the Prime Minister, as part of an effort to encourage and aid in the growthof life-sciences businesses. The initiative, according to the Office for Life Sciences website, is based on "building a U.K.life-sciences ecosystem;" "attracting, developing and rewarding talent" and"overcoming barriers and creating incentives for the promotion of healthcareinnovation."