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GSK welcomes external scientists to diseases of the developing world research campus


- GSK will provide support, expertise and facilities as part of our open innovation strategy to spur global collaboration in research

London UK - External researchers from six medical research organisations have begun work in the GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) ‘open lab’ in Spain, as part of GSK’s experiment to stimulate collaboration in the search for new medicines against diseases of the developing world, such as malaria and drug resistant tuberculosis.

In total, eight scientists from six organisations from four countries, including the United States and South Africa will work on their own research projects in association with GSK scientists at the Tres Cantos research campus. They are the first external researchers to take up the ‘open lab’ placements since GSK announced that it was seeking to be more collaborative in this area of research.

In 2010, GSK stated its intention to open its research campus outside of Madrid, Spain to allow GSK researchers to work more collaboratively with scientists from universities, not-for-profit partnerships and other research institutes with the aim of discovering and developing new medicines for diseases of the developing world. The facility has made capacity for independent researchers to work alongside approximately 120 GSK scientists, accessing the state of the art facilities and expertise.

“The challenge of improving healthcare in the developing world is enormous and far too complex to be addressed by any one group or organisation alone. Success will require creative thinking and the identification of new ways for industry, academia, NGOs and governments to work together,” said Nick Cammack, Senior Vice President and head of the Tres Cantos Medicines Development Campus. “We are fully committed to playing our part and the initiation of these research projects at Tres Cantos represents an exciting step forward in a new, more open approach to stimulate research into new medicines for deadly diseases that affect the developing world.”

Half of this first wave of research projects are being supported by the Tres Cantos Open Lab Foundation, a non-profit group established with a £5m ($8m) donation in seed-funding from GSK to support suitable research projects.

Among the projects underway are research to identify and optimise compounds that could be tested in humans against multi-drug resistant TB, three separate projects into malaria, including one that investigates potential compounds from the GSK chemical library, and a new approach against the parasites that can cause leishmaniasis.

"This is an innovative model for research collaboration, with the potential for transformative outcomes for medicine in the developing world,” said Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, Trustee and Chair of the Governing Board, Tres Cantos Open Lab Foundation and current Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge.
About the Projects

iThemba Pharmaceuticals: A six-month project to identify potential new compounds against tuberculosis (TB), specifically on multidrug, extremely drug resistant TB and co-infection with HIV-AIDS.
CRESIB, Spain (The Barcelona Centre for International Health Research): A two-year project to create a continuous lab-based supply of the P. vivax malaria parasite in the blood stage. If successful this project will offer a technology breakthrough that could allow further advances in research on P. Vivax.
CICbioGUNE, Spain. An 18-month project to characterise the ubiquitylation profiles of cells infected by multiple drug resistant tuberculosis (TB) and the malaria parasite P.falciparum.
Durham University, UK. A 9-month project will be looking to identify compounds that can inhibit a new target in kinetoplastid protozoan parasites.
Weill Cornell Medical College, US: This 24-month project will attempt to identify compounds that can affect both drug-sensitive, multidrug- and extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR, XDR) in the non-replicating phase.
Imperial College London, Drug Discovery Centre and The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute: A two month project aimed at identifying CDPK (calcium dependent protein kinases) inhibitors from the 13,500 compounds identified by GSK in 2010 as inhibiting P. falciparum growth.

About Tres Cantos Open Lab Foundation

The Tres Cantos Open Lab Foundation is focussed on providing funding and support for scientists, academics and institutions to develop and advance new ideas that could lead to new medicines to treat diseases of the developing world. Researchers are invited to submit projects for collaboration and funding, to be reviewed by the Foundation’s Governing Board and Trustees.

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