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Freeman: More pharma-charity research partnerships needed

Life sciences minister wants greater collaboration between organisations
George Freeman

Life sciences minister George Freeman has called for pharma companies and research charities to work more closely together.

Freeman yesterday opened the new laboratories of an AstraZeneca and Cancer Research UK (CRUK) partnership, known as the CRUK-MEDI alliance.

Speaking at Granta Park in Cambridge he said he was working to make more partnerships happen in order to speed up the process of drug development and uptake.

“Charities and patient associations have a huge future in shaping this new research agenda and when AstraZeneca partners with Cancer Research UK, it is sending out a very powerful signal to the wider life sciences community.” he said.

“I hope other charities will form partnerships with pharma companies and part of what I'm doing is to this make sure this happens.”

Acknowledging CRUK's clout, as the UK's largest medical charity, he described the charity as “the gorilla in a very big zoo”, but added “charities have a bigger role now”.

Keith Blundy, CEO of CRUK's commercial arm Cancer Research Technology, told PMLiVE that the UK was in prime position for such charity-pharma partnerships as its health system's “unique architecture is unlike anywhere else in the world.”

Similar partnerships have been launched in recent years for conditions, including dementia and Parkinson's disease - both areas of significant unmet medical need.

Earlier this year, Lilly, Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, Biogen Idec and Johnson & Johnson joined a $100m dementia discovery fund alongside Alzheimer's Research UK. 

Alzheimer's Research UK also stated plans to invest around £30m to help fast track the development of new treatments for Alzheimer's and other dementias.

Freeman further expressed his hope to “accelerate and drive a quiet revolution for all investment and research in the UK” to further strengthen oncology R&D. 

Article by
Nikhil Patel

11th September 2015

From: Research

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