GSK has received £5m funding from the Wellcome Trust to support its collaborative work aimed at developing new drugs for diseases of the developing world.
The ‘open innovation’ research facility at Tres Cantos, Madrid, brings GSK’s drug discovery specialists together with 27 external researchers.
The funding will help to build on early-stage research to develop new medicines for tropical diseases including malaria, TB, Leishmaniasis and sleeping sickness.
The Open Lab facility, created by GSK in 2010, aims to develop two significant experimental drugs over the next five years, based on the most promising early-stage research both at Tres Cantos and at GSK.
GSK’s commitment to ‘open innovation’ was signalled by CEO Andrew Witty’s comment in 2012 that “the market has failed” to bring forward new drugs that are needed but will not generate immediate high revenues.
Dr Nick Cammack, Head of GSK’s Tres Cantos Medicines Development Campus, said: “This support highlights a growing recognition that collaborative and open research is the key to tackling these devastating diseases.
“Since adopting an open approach to discovering new medicines for developing world diseases, we’ve hosted some of the world's brightest academic scientists at Tres Cantos. The fusion of their academic excellence with GSK expertise has yielded some really exciting research projects.
“This tremendous show of support from the Wellcome Trust means we now have the potential to start driving these projects further towards finding new medicines.”
The Wellcome Trust is an independent global charitable foundation that supports research to improve human and animal health.
Dr Richard Seabrook, the Trust’s Head of Business Development, commented: “Academic researchers are making incredible progress in our understanding of neglected diseases, yet we’ve still got a bottleneck when it comes to the development of new drugs.
“Taking a more collaborative approach, as GSK have through their open lab, will see these advances reap the full benefit of the industry’s commercial expertise to give us the best chance of securing new treatments for these devastating diseases.”