GLAZgo Discovery Centre off to a flying start

The University of Glasgow and AstraZeneca have officially launched the GLAZgo Discovery Centre which will focus on understanding more about immunological disease processes.

Following an agreement to develop the Centre, signed just under a year ago, the launch highlighted what can be achieved when two parties share a common philosophy on how academic medicine and a pharmaceutical company should combine forces to drive forward the creation of future medicines. 

The partnership is based on an agile and highly-integrated collaborative model. This has helped to create a dynamic and flexible environment bringing together established drug-development capability with high-quality basic, translational and clinical research.  

The two-way exchange of information is already delivering a new understanding of the underlying mechanism involved in one of AstraZeneca’s drug projects with an immunological target. 

In addition, future areas of research are being fostered through combining novel immunological cellular assays from the Institute of Infection, Immunology and Inflammation with the chemistry expertise and specific tools from AstraZeneca. 

The Centre is also aimed at training the next generation of researchers at the interface between academic and industry science and has underway an active PhD programme with joint supervisors from the two partners. 

Professor Iain McInnes, Director Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation at the University of Glasgow, said: "Inflammatory diseases impose a substantial burden on affected individuals and wider society. The pathway to discovery of new medicines to combat these often devastating conditions has been challenging.

“GLAZgo Discovery integrates world-class pharmaceutical science with the academic excellence contained in the University of Glasgow in an exciting venture that will bring extraordinary opportunities for new discoveries and thus, in time, new medicines.

“A unique feature here is the very close integration of scientists working from the company and the University with common purpose and commitment. Exciting times lie ahead!"  

Maarten Kraan, Head of Respiratory, Inflammation & Autoimmune diseases Innovative Medicines unit at Astra Zeneca, said: “Flexible academia/industry collaborations where focus and projects can be quickly adapted based on project need and the latest breaking science are rare.

“With GLAZgo we’ve managed to set up a structure which embraces the complexity of drug discovery and that fully integrates the robust industry approach with the more open questioning of academic medicine. That we have access to the whole of the Institute of Infection, Immunology and Inflammation at the University of Glasgow brings even greater strength to the collaboration.”  

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First published: 31 October 2014

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