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From novel research to innovative medicines: GSK launches Discovery Fast Track competition for academic researchers

Issued: Tuesday 21 May 2013, Philadelphia, PA

- Scientists in U.S. and Canada challenged to submit groundbreaking research proposals for chance at collaborative partnership focused on drug discovery

GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK) today announced the launch of Discovery Fast Track, a competition designed to accelerate the translation of academic research into novel therapies. Winners of the competition will partner with investigators on GSK’s Discovery Partnerships with Academia (DPAc) team with a goal of developing viable research-stage drug candidates into innovative medicines.

Launched in the U.K. in late 2010, the DPAc program is a new approach to drug discovery where academic partners become core members of drug-hunting teams. GSK and the academic partner share the risk and reward of innovation, where GSK funds activities in the partner laboratories, as well as provides in-kind resources to progress a program from an idea to a candidate medicine. DPAc’s reach is global. To date, GSK has initiated nine collaborations in nine disease areas, including two in the U.S. and one in Canada.  

"DPAc programs are incredibly valuable,” said Roger Cone, professor of molecular physiology and biophysics at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and a DPAc participant. “Pharmaceutical companies bring an industrial approach to drug discovery that can’t be replicated in academia. Combined with the pharmacological and biological expertise of academia, it’s a perfect combination of skills and resources."

To avoid initial contract negotiations, which are often perceived as the biggest bottleneck in the pharma/academia collaborative process, the DPAc team conceived the Discovery Fast Track competition as a means to rapidly identify and to screen the most promising hypotheses in academia.

“With the Discovery Fast Track competition, we want to give all academic researchers who are passionate about translating their science into therapy, a chance to collaborate and access GSK resources and expertise to help bring novel and transformative  treatments to patients,” said Pearl Huang, Ph.D., Global Head of DPAc. “We are excited to receive submissions in all therapeutic areas and look forward to being part of the researcher’s journey in making a difference.”

The benefits of Discovery Fast Track

Each winning academic investigator will share a novel drug development concept – including the therapeutic hypothesis, target, assay protocols and reagents – and GSK will configure a high-throughput assay to screen the target against its extensive compound library.

Together, GSK and the investigator will interpret and triage the output to identify chemical probes that researchers can use to test their hypotheses in more advanced biological assays. If successful, this could lead to a DPAc partnership to further assess the drug development potential.

The application consists of a one-page summary, including the therapeutic hypothesis, the target information and the biological screen’s status. In August, an expert panel of judges will select up to 20 finalists, who will then submit an expanded application including confidential supporting data and present their proposal to GSK. Winners will be selected in October.  

Further details can be found online at http://www.openinnovation.gsk.com/. Registration closes on July 19.  

GlaxoSmithKline – one of the world’s leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies – is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer.  For further information please visit http://us.gsk.com/

GlaxoSmithKline Inquiries: 

US Media Inquiries:
Melinda Stubbee
+1 919 483 2510 (North Carolina)

Analyst/Investor Inquiries:
Tom Curry
+1 215 751 5419 (Philadelphia)
Jeff McLaughlin
+1 215 751 7002 (Philadelphia)