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GSK and AZ collaborate on translational research centre

Published on 12/05/11 at 10:05am
GlaxoSmithKline
GSK said a collaborative approach would improve the changes of success in the challenging area of translating basic research discoveries into new medicines

The University of Manchester has teamed up with GSK and AstraZeneca to create the Manchester Collaborative Centre for Inflammation Research (MCCIR), aimed at establishing a world-leading translational centre for inflammatory diseases.

The project starts out with an initial investment of £5 million from each partner over a three year period, and will bring together scientists from the pharma industry and academia to collaborate on inflammation research and translational medicine.

Scientists will be recruited for new positions to direct the research in line with strategic priorities set jointly by GSK, AstraZeneca and The University of Manchester, with the ultimate goal of translating findings into new and improved treatments. Such advances could potentially benefit the millions of people worldwide affected by diseases associated with chronic inflammation, including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.

Dave Allen, senior vice-president of respiratory research at GSK, said: “The translation of basic research discoveries into new medicines is challenging, but we believe we improve our chances of success through collaborative science. The MCCIR will embody this approach, and I am delighted that GSK has been able to contribute to its development.”

Dr Menelas Pangalos, executive vice-president innovative medicines at AstraZeneca, said: “Inflammatory processes underpin many of our priority areas of research and this is a ground-breaking collaboration.  The creation of the new centre is indicative of a new era of pre-competitive sharing within the pharmaceutical sector and with academic scientists, to bring our learning together to ensure the faster delivery of effective medicines to patients.”

The MCCIR will be formally opened later this year at The University of Manchester and represents a new and truly innovative vehicle to support collaborative research in the UK.

Professor Ian Jacobs, vice-president of The University of Manchester and dean of the faculty of medical and human sciences, commented: “The University of Manchester welcomes greatly this opportunity to ensure that some of its fundamental biomedical research will become more closely aligned with the need to develop new therapies for inflammatory diseases.

Prof Jacobs added that the alliance was built on longstanding relationships between the collaborators, and would firmly establish the UK and The University of Manchester at the forefront of research into inflammatory disease.

Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts, said: "The announcement made today by The University of Manchester, GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca is a fantastic example of partnership working and its potential to translate cutting-edge science into health and commercial benefits.

“It is a clear vote of confidence in the UK's world-class academic research base by our leading pharmaceutical companies and is an exciting development."

Andrew McConaghie

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