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Pharma Industry Funds Accelerated Drug Development Partnership

AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim, GlaxoSmithKline, Janssen, Merck-Serono and Pfizer are involved in a consortium called the Division of Signal Transduction Therapy (DSTT) are contributing £14.4 million to work by Dundee University and the Medical Research Council (MRC) on speeding up drug discovery.

The funding will back scientists’ early-stage research into therapy areas including cancer, arthritis, lupus, hypertension and Parkinson’s disease, and secures 50 academic posts for the next four years.

The DSTT includes 15 research teams based at Dundee, 13 of whom are in the MRC Protein Phosphorylation Unit and Scottish Institute for Cell Signalling (SCILLS) at the College of Life Sciences – the world’s largest centre for the study of kinases and the ubiquitin system.

InPharm reports that kinase drug discovery (which produced Novartis’ Glivec, for example) accounts for a third of the R&D budget of the pharma industry and over half of global cancer drug discovery.

Professor Dario Alessi, who will be the director of the DSTT from July, said:

“Renewal of this collaboration with six of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies is a vote of confidence in that strategy and in Dundee’s leadership position in biomedical research.”