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UCB signs research deal with King’s College London

Company and academic researchers to share one facility

UCB

UCB Pharma has boosted its R&D capabilities in the UK by signing a new 3-year collaboration with King’s College London (KCL).

Scientists from both UCB and KCL will focus their efforts on early development and translational medicine, with the aim of bringing one novel medicine into clinical trials by the beginning of 2020.

UCB researchers will share labs with academics from KCL at Guy’s Campus in London to better “optimise collective expertise”.

The shared workspace initiative builds on UCB’s global satellite search site strategy, which aims to embed company scientists within global centres of excellence.

The biopharma company has already used the same approach in three US sites, resulting from acquisitions of Beryllium (Boston and Seattle) and Element Genomics (Durham, NC).

UCB says the work scientists undertake in the facilities is similar to that of the work done in its two major R&D sites in Belgium and the UK, and the company recently announced it has plans to improve the latter.

It has earmarked £1bn over the next five years for the UK site, and the new collaboration with KCL builds on this investment.

“One of the incentives for us to commit to keeping our major R&D site in the UK last year - on top of the UK’s vibrant life sciences environment - was the potential to build upon our numerous active collaborations with UK universities,” said Dhaval Patel (pictured below), Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer, UCB.

Dhaval Patel

“We are therefore thrilled to be able to announce this new collaboration with King’s, which we believe will further augment our collective research and development capabilities in the pursuit of innovative new medicines for patients, to solidify our position as a leader in UK life sciences.”

The deal is an important one for UK life science, which could soon face talent loss and business relocation as a result of Brexit, according to recent reports.

Professor Sir Robert Lechler, Vice Principal (Health) Executive Director of King’s Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre, said:“I am very excited to announce this collaboration and believe that combining our world class expertise in translational research and clinical development at King’s with UCB’s long and successful track record of partnering with UK academia will yield successful benefits for both parties, and I hope ultimately greater knowledge that can be translated into tangible benefit for patients”.

The collaboration will be managed by a board of leaders from both organisations, which will evaluate projects that should be prioritised and identify new areas of science and technology of interest to both partners.

It will span an initial three-year period, but both parties have the potential to extend the project dependent on outcomes.

Meanwhile, King’s College London will soon open a biotech hub located in Guy’s Campus to facilitate future on-site partnerships with pharma.

Article by
Gemma Jones

18th February 2019

From: Research

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