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GSK in R&D deal with Harvard

GlaxoSmithKline has signed a five-year deal with Harvard University worth upwards of $25m
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has signed a five-year deal with Harvard University worth upwards of $25m, which marks the start of a collaborative partnership to push forward stem cell research to discover new medicines.

According to GSK, the company's investment in stem cell R&D is the largest by any pharmaceutical company to date and will support research at four hospitals affiliated with the Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) in the Boston area of the US. GSK will also fund an annual grant to support early-stage research in stem cell biology as part of HSCI's seed grant programme.

Areas of research will include neuroscience, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, musculoskeletal disease and obesity. GSK hopes the deal will make it possible for academic and industrial scientists from GSK and HSCI to work together to develop drugs for unmet medical needs.

Patrick Vallance, head of drug discovery at GSK, said that the company believes stem cell science has the potential to unlock new medicines by improving screening, identification and development of new compounds.

"We have carefully chosen the Boston biomedical community to collaborate with on this important venture," said Vallance. "It has the highest concentration of leading stem cell scientists, and the HSCI is the epicentre of that community."

The partnership is aimed at integrating HSCI's stem cell expertise with GSK's pharmaceutical capabilities to advance drug discovery research. Some of the planned initiatives include a staff exchange programme where scientists from HSCI and GSK will spend several months in each otherís laboratories. A joint steering committee has already been set-up to oversee all projects that take place under the banner of the collaborative agreement.

25th July 2008

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