23 February 2009

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and University College London’s Institute of Ophthalmology have entered into a three year strategic collaboration to investigate new compounds to treat potentially sight-threatening disorders. 

The alliance will apply the expertise and research facilities at UCL’s Institute of Ophthalmology (IoO) to investigate the potential of compounds provided by GSK’s ophthalmic drug development unit Ophthiris.

The collaboration will provide IoO with dedicated staff and funding as well as a range of pharmaceutical compounds, biopharmaceuticals and reagents with which to probe ophthalmic disease mechanisms, while GSK will gain access to the world class ophthalmic experience, facilities and investigators. In addition the arrangement provides for undisclosed royalty payments to UCL Business should the research be successful in identifying a future medicine.

Professor Philip Luthert, Director of IoO, said “This exciting and innovatory partnership aligns perfectly with our goal to harness academic excellence for the benefit of patients. The compounds provided by GSK will allow Institute researchers to further their investigations into the underlying mechanisms of eye disease and to validate novel therapies in ophthalmology.”

Professor David Shima, previously Senior Vice President of Research and Development at Eyetech Pharmaceuticals Inc, will now lead the research collaboration at the Institute, working with GSK and IoO investigators with diverse expertise to explore fundamental questions in basic vision research and exploit the multi-disciplinary environment to turn new innovations into medical treatments.

Professor Mike Spyer, Vice-Provost (Enterprise) with a mission to further develop the university’s knowledge transfer strategy said “The IoO is conducting research of the highest calibre, and I am delighted that GSK will be working with UCL. Our research interests are closely aligned and I am confident that the results of this project will open up other opportunities for further collaboration.”

About the Institute of Ophthalmology
Ophthalmology is the study of the eye and its diseases. The mission at the Institute of Ophthalmology is to further the understanding of the processes of vision and to develop new diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for the benefit of patients worldwide. The Institute became part of University College London nearly 10 years ago and is now part of UCL Biomedicine which, with its associated specialist hospitals, comprises a unique powerhouse of biomedical expertise and offers extensive opportunity for collaboration and innovation.

About GlaxoSmithKline
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. For company information, visit GlaxoSmithKline at www.gsk.com.

Links

Further Information
Dr Sophie Khanna, Senior Business Manager, UCL Business PLC 020 7679 9000, (s.khanna@uclb.com)
Janet Morgan, GSK communications, 020 8966 2417