The Wellcome Trust has awarded a £5 million seeding drug discovery award to GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK) to support its open approach to discovering and developing urgently needed new treatments for diseases of low-income countries
The funding will help to move early-stage research to find new medicines for diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, leishmaniasis and sleeping sickness to the next level. Scientists from around the world will work in collaboration with GSK drug discovery experts at the GSK facility in Tres Cantos, Madrid, with the ultimate goal of developing two high-quality experimental drugs over the next five years.
Diseases of low-income countries affect millions of people and yet research to find new treatments is struggling, owing to the complexity of the science and low return on investment. To address this, GSK set up its Tres Cantos facility to be an engine room of scientific innovation, stimulating more R&D into diseases that affect the world's poorest people.
In 2010, GSK opened the doors of its Tres Cantos facility to external researchers to create the Open Lab. The result is academic scientists working alongside GSK scientists at a dedicated facility, enabling them to benefit from the facilities, resources and knowledge of a major pharmaceutical company to help them advance their own research projects.
The £5 million Wellcome Trust funding announced today will be used to take this open approach a significant step further, tackling the next phase of drug development with the aim of turning promising active compounds into high-quality experimental drugs. The funding will provide the opportunity to progress the most promising projects underway by independent scientists at the Open Lab and from GSK's own research portfolio.