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GSK in new partnership with academia

GSK has signed a new agreement with the University of Cambridge to develop new medicines as part of a venture that will see academics share the financial risks of R&D projects

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has signed a new agreement with the University of Cambridge to develop new medicines as part of a venture that will see academics share the financial risks of R&D projects.

Cambridge will now dedicate a team of academic experts in both neuroscience and metabolic disorders to develop a novel centrally acting agent for the potential treatment of obesity and addictive disorders. GSK will provide the university with operational support, access to in-house clinical research and imaging facilities, and preclinical data already obtained on the drug.

The new GSK venture, which it is calling the Academic Incubator concept, will see leading clinicians and scientists, carefully selected from universities around the world, take direct responsibility for the design of experimental drug studies. They will also be responsible for ensuring that costs are balanced between the need to develop new compounds and delivering value to patients and healthcare customers.

"This puts academia/industry relationships on a new footing and allows academics, who are leaders in their fields, the opportunity to become directly involved in developing medicines for patients," said Patrick Vallance, senior vice-president of drug discovery at GSK.

GSK says the new agreement is aligned with findings of The Cooksey Review of UK Health Research Funding, published in 2006, which recommended that the industry consider alternative drug development models. The report suggested that firms adopt public-private partnerships to facilitate effective collaboration between industry and academic sectors in R&D of new and efficacious medicines.

21st July 2008

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