GSK and University of Oxford Partner on Disease Research to Advance Drug Discovery and Development

BP Elements, BioPharm International's BP Elements, January 2022, Volume 1, Issue 1

GlaxoSmithKline, together with the University of Oxford, has launched the Oxford-GSK Institute under a new collaboration that aims to study complex diseases to accelerate the success of drug discovery and drug development efforts.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and the University of Oxford have entered into a major five-year collaboration to establish the Oxford-GSK Institute of Molecular and Computational Medicine, which will be based at the University of Oxford. The institute aims to improve the success and speed of research and development of new medicines by building on insights into human genetics and by using advanced technologies, such as functional genomics and machine learning, GSK announced in a Dec. 2, 2021, press release.

Under the collaboration, GSK will fund Oxford-GSK with £30 million (US$40 million). Scientists from both GSK and Oxford will help prioritize early R&D programs that are most likely to succeed and match them to patients most likely to respond. The Institute will recruit several new research groups. In addition, five GSK/Oxford fellowships will be provided for early to mid-career researchers to establish themselves as principal investigators researching areas aligned with the Institute’s aims and objectives.

The institute will be based in the Nuffield Department of Medicine at Oxford and will be closely associated with colleagues from across departments, including the University’s Welcome Centre for Human Genetics and Big Data Institute. GSK and Oxford are in active discussions on the first projects, which they anticipate starting in the second half of 2022.

The institute will aim to build on the progress made in using genetic evidence to increase the success rates of new treatments in clinical trials and the recent digitization of human biology, a technological advancement that has the potential to improve drug discovery by more closely linking genes to patients. The institute also intends to improve on the understanding of diseases by drawing on recent advances in pathology, which includes methods for measuring changes on a cellular, protein, or tissue level.

As part of its task, Oxford-GSK will evaluate and integrate new approaches in genetics, proteomics, and digital pathology to understand detailed patterns of disease, which vary from individual to individual. The institute will initially focus on neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease. It will also aim to provide new measurements to establish proof-of-concept for potential medicines earlier in the R&D process by better identifying the most appropriate patients to enroll in clinical trials.

“We are delighted to be joining with the University of Oxford in this new collaboration. By combining the strengths of our two scientific organizations and harnessing advanced technologies, the Oxford-GSK Institute exemplifies the [United Kingdom]’s track-record and continued ambition in life sciences. Together, our aim is to improve drug discovery and development to help bring new and better medicines for patients,” said Emma Walmsley, CEO, GSK, in the press release.

Source: GlaxoSmithKline