Pharmaceutical industry and university create Manchester Collaborative Centre for Inflammation Research

GlaxoSmithKlineGlaxoSmithKline (GSK), The University of Manchester, and AstraZeneca announce today the creation of the Manchester Collaborative Centre for Inflammation Research (MCCIR), a unique collaboration to establish a world-leading translational centre for inflammatory diseases. The project starts out w ith an initial investment of £5M from each partner over a three year period. The collaboration between two UK-based pharmaceutical companies, GSK and AstraZeneca, and The University of Manchester, a premier research-led institution, will bring together scientists from both the pharmaceutical industry and academia to work collaboratively on inflammation research and translational medicine.

Scientists will be recruited for new positions to direct the research in line with strategic priorities set jointly by GSK, AstraZeneca and The University of Manchester, with the ultimate goal of translating findings into new and improved treatments. Such advances could potentially benefit the millions of people worldwide affected by diseases associated with chronic inflammation, including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.

Dave Allen, Senior Vice-President of Respiratory Research at GSK, said: "The translation of basic research discoveries into new medicines is challenging, but we believe we improve our chances of success through collaborative science. The MCCIR will embody this approach, and I am delighted that GSK has been able to contribute to its development."

Dr Menelas Pangalos, Executive Vice-President Innovative Medicines at AstraZeneca, said: "Inflammatory processes underpin many of our priority areas of research and this is a ground-breaking collaboration. The creation of the new centre is indicative of a new era of pre-competitive sharing within the pharmaceutical sector and with academic scientists, to bring our learning together to ensure the faster delivery of effective medicines to patients."

The MCCIR will be formally opened later this year at The University of Manchester and represents a new and truly innovative vehicle to support collaborative research in the UK.

Professor Ian Jacobs, Vice-President of The University of Manchester and Dean of the Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences, commented: "The University of Manchester welcomes greatly this opportunity to ensure that some of its fundamental biomedical research will become more closely aligned with the need to develop new therapies for inflammatory diseases. This collaboration builds on the mutual understanding developed between the University and both GSK and AstraZeneca over recent years, and will bring together expertise in biomedical research from the University with the resources and drug discovery expertise from GSK and AstraZeneca to create true partnership and synergy. It firmly establishes the UK and The University of Manchester at the forefront of innovative and enterprising research into inflammatory disease."

Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts, said: "The announcement made today by The University of Manchester, GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca is a fantastic example of partnership working and its potential to translate cutting-edge science into health and commercial benefits. It is a clear vote of confidence in the UK's world-class academic research base by our leading pharmaceutical companies and is an exciting development."

Inflammatory diseases affect millions of people worldwide, leading to pain, disability and, in some cases, premature death. Inflammation is a process by which the body combats infection or trauma and heals itself, but in some diseases this normally beneficial mechanism is present chronically leading to cellular damage, tissue destruction and a range of painful symptoms throughout the body, including joints, internal organs, skin and connective tissue. Further understanding of the mechanisms and cell types governing inflammation, repair and resolution will allow us to develop new therapies for diseases such as asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, vasculitis, inflammatory bowel disease and many other painful chronic conditions.

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.

The University of Manchester is Britain's most popular university and was ranked third, behind only Oxford and Cambridge, for "Research Power" (Quality and Volume) in the recent Research Assessment Exercise 2008. Its external research income is £263 million.

AstraZeneca is a global, innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business with a primary focus on the discovery, development and commercialisation of prescription medicines for gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, neuroscience, respiratory and inflammation, oncology and infectious disease. AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide.