The University of Edinburgh agrees a collaboration agreement with GSK

Released: Monday 24th October 2011

Monday 24th October 2011



EDINBURGH, Scotland – GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and the University of Edinburgh have agreed a collaborative partnership to discover and develop medicines with the potential to treat severe acute pancreatitis.

The alliance will seek to build on work by university researchers that recently uncovered a molecular mechanism believed to have a major role in triggering life-threatening multiple organ failure. This condition develops in roughly one out of four cases of acute pancreatitis. The collaboration will integrate the deep biology and disease understanding of the academic group led by Mr Damian Mole and Dr Scott Webster of the University’s College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine with GSK’s expertise in drug discovery and development.

Under the terms of the agreement negotiated by Edinburgh BioQuarter, the University will receive success-based financial support from GSK linked to reaching agreed milestones, as well as an undisclosed upfront payment and royalties on sales from any product that is successfully commercialised out of the collaboration.

Work on the project will be carried out both within GSK and at the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine located at Edinburgh BioQuarter, Scotland’s flagship life sciences development.

“Severe acute pancreatitis can be expensive to treat as patients require intensive care. Despite treatment, up to a quarter of people will die from an attack.1<> By teaming up with GSK, we have the opportunity to turn our science into a medicine”, said Mr Mole. Dr Webster added, “This is a great example of translating academic research. The alliance brings together our collective expertise in target biology and drug discovery to tackle an enormous unmet medical need.”

This alliance comes through GSK’s Discovery Partnerships with Academia (DPAc) team, a recently formed group designed to bring together the complementary skill sets of GSK and individual academic groups in the search for innovative medicines.
Dr Diane Harbison, Head of Business Development at Edinburgh BioQuarter, said: “This collaborative partnership with a world-leader in drug discovery demonstrates the strength and depth of research being conducted here in Edinburgh. We are delighted to have been selected as one of just ten DPAc projects being awarded globally by GlaxoSmithKline.”


For more information, interviews or imagery:

Edinburgh BioQuarter:

James Wood

M: 07834 288 899<>

Notes to Editors:

1. About Edinburgh BioQuarter: At the heart of Scottish life sciences, Edinburgh BioQuarter is a joint venture between Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc, the NHS, the University of Edinburgh and Scottish Enterprise. Edinburgh BioQuarter commercialises world-leading medical research and brings investors, ideas and companies together at the BioQuarter campus on the outskirts of Edinburgh.<C:\Documents%20and%20Settings\cdp38900\Local%20Settings\Temporary%20Internet%20Files\Content.Outlook\ZQCMFF2B\>

2. About Acute pancreatitis: Acute pancreatitis is caused by inflammation of the pancreas. About a third of patients who suffer an attack of acute pancreatitis end up in intensive care, requiring extensive and costly treatment. The condition is serious and potentially life-threatening. The cost of treating such patients in the United States is estimated at US$130billion per year.

3. Note on Damian Mole: Mr Mole is jointly affiliated to the MRC Centre for Inflammation Research, and the Department of Surgery at the University of Edinburgh and NHS Lothian. He is the recipient of funding as a Health Foundation/Academy of Medical Sciences Clinician Scientist and has also received grant funding through the MRC Developmental Pathway Funding Stream Pilot Portfolio.

1 This figure comes from this reference:


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