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GSK Launches Discovery Fast Track Competition for Academic Researchers

Published: Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Last Updated: Wednesday, May 22, 2013
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Scientists in U.S., Canada challenged to submit groundbreaking research proposals for chance at collaborative partnership focused on drug discovery.

GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK) 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 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.”


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