New collaboration between EMBL and GSK

by Sonia Furtado Neves

GSK and EMBL have signed a collaboration agreement to enhance understanding of disease and drug mechanisms

GSK and EMBL (European Molecular Biology Laboratory), Europe’s flagship laboratory for life sciences, have signed a collaboration agreement to leverage the skills of both organisations to enhance understanding of disease and drug mechanisms and advance early drug discovery.

EMBL and GSK will jointly develop and apply cutting edge technologies that will allow the comprehensive characterisation of how a potential new medicine will interact with human biology on a molecular, cellular and organ level to better predict its actions in the human body. This will help address key questions in drug discovery, like which biological pathways to target and what drug candidate molecules to choose.

This brings together our skills and expertise to create a hub for life sciences at the Heidelberg science campus

Both organisations will contribute scientific expertise, technologies, tools and data to create a better understanding of the efficacy and safety of candidate drugs. GSK will also provide funding for a joint EMBL-GSK postdoctoral programme and further collaborative research efforts. The alliance will initially run for five years and builds on successful scientific collaborations on the EMBL Heidelberg campus, where GSK’s Cellzome site is located. By extending from target validation to drug discovery this new collaboration provides a continuum from Open Targets where GSK and EMBL-EBI have an ongoing collaboration.

Patrick Vallance, President R&D, commented: “We are excited about this collaboration as it builds on the long-standing relationship between GSK and EMBL. This brings together our skills and expertise to create a hub for life sciences at the Heidelberg science campus, which has the potential to act as a real catalyst and deliver progress at the cutting edge of biological research, applying and expanding our use of genomics and other emerging areas. In the longer term it is hoped that this information will help advance our understanding of mechanisms of disease and drug action.”

We strive to share the knowledge and technologies we develop, in part by nurturing lasting relationships with a number of industry partners such as GSK

“We look forward to exploring the new avenues of research that will surely stem from the close interactions between scientists at EMBL and GSK,” says Iain Mattaj, EMBL’s Director General. “This collaboration will further strengthen our efforts to ensure that the fundamental research carried out at EMBL is translated into tangible benefits for society. We strive to share the knowledge and technologies we develop, in part by nurturing lasting relationships with a number of industry partners such as GSK.”

This collaboration was forged by EMBLEM, EMBL’s wholly owned technology transfer company. It builds on the ongoing interactions between GSK and EMBL. Cellzome, an EMBL spin-off company in the area of chemoproteomics, was acquired by GSK in 2012. EMBL-EBI and GSK, along with Biogen and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, collaborate in Open Targets, an open innovation, public-private partnership with a focus on target selection and validation. GSK is also a member of EMBL’s Corporate Partnership Programme and of EMBL-EBI’s Industry Programme.

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