UCB Pharma and Oxford University have agreed to collaborate on cutting-edge pharmaceutical research projects, enabling scientists from industry and academia to work together to develop innovative medicines to treat serious diseases in immunology and neurology.
These combined resources and expertise will give the best possible chance of turning innovative research into new medicines for patients, an area identified as a priority in the recent government Strategy for UK Life Sciences.
Professor Sir John Bell (Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford University and former president of the Academy of Medical Sciences) and David Willetts (Minister for Universities and Science) join Roch Doliveux (Chief Executive, UCB and Chairman of the Innovative Medicines Initiative) and Ismail Kola (Executive Vice President and President of New Medicines™ UCB) at UCB to sign the agreement.
UCB is a research-driven biopharma company and invests heavily in R&D, with almost half its research spend being in the UK.
UCB is one of the top five pharma R&D investors in the UK, spending over £230 million on R&D in 2010 and we continue to invest in new facilities and research.
The Oxford-UCB partnership will be funded by a contribution of £3.6 million from UCB and will run over 3 years. A steering committee of UCB and Oxford University representatives will oversee the collaboration via regular meetings to scope out and monitor new projects.
Between five and 10 projects will be selected for investigation over the course of the three-year agreement.
Professor Sir John Bell, Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford University, said: “This is an exciting new partnership and I am eager to see the research that results. Partnerships between industry and academia will have an increasingly prominent role to play in the development of new drugs, therapies and medical technologies. Pooling expertise and resources is exactly what we should be doing to carry out the best research, identify the most promising new drug candidates and take them forward.
Roch Doliveux, Chief Executive of UCB and Chairman of the Innovative Medicines Initiative, said: “UCB actively connects its internal capabilities with world-class innovation, especially in academia. This new partnership combines Oxford University’s world-class academic research with UCB’s world-class antibody research to bring two parties, committed to scientific exploration and the exchange of cutting edge ideas, together on a mission to discover new medicines that will aim to transform the lives of people living with severe diseases.”
Stephen Whitehead, Chief Executive of the ABPI commented: “Innovation in medicine is critical to the future of our industry, to the effectiveness of the UK healthcare environment, and most importantly, it is fundamental to the health and wellbeing of future patients. We are excited by the scientific advances collaboration with world-class academics can spur, to transform lives through the development of new, innovative medicines.”
Commenting on the new R&D partnership, Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts said: “In our Strategy for UK Life Sciences we set out ambitious plans to make Britain the number one choice for investment, so today’s announcement from UCB and Oxford University is very welcome news. The initiative brings together leaders from the academic and business worlds to drive innovation and develop treatments for serious diseases affecting millions of people. This will in turn have benefits for patients and the economy.”
The UK premises of UCB are located in Slough, Berkshire. The site at Slough houses the immunology research hub which focuses on research for conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, inflammatory bowel disease and osteoporosis.