The University of Edinburgh is collaborating with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to discover and develop medicines to treat liver disease. Researchers from the university have identified a mechanism that appears to be key to treating chronic liver diseases such as fibrosis or cirrhosis of the liver, and the researchers hope the GSK partnership will help to expedite this into the discovery and development of a new treatment.
Per the agreement, the university will receive financial support from GSK linked to reaching specific milestones as well as an undisclosed upfront payment and royalties on sales from any product produced as a result of the collaboration that is commercialized successfully. Work on the project will be carried out both within GSK and at the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine located at Edinburgh BioQuarter. Edinburgh BioQuarter negotiated the agreement.
Jonathan Fallowfield, Ph.D., senior clinical fellow and honorary consultant hepatologist at the university, said in a statement that the mechanism the researchers have identified could potentially prevent, halt or even reverse liver scarring if its therapeutic properties were harnessed.
"This is potentially very exciting and would transform the way we view and manage chronic liver disease in the future," he added.
This alliance is the second of this type the University of Edinburgh has made with GSK; the first was made in October of 2011 to discover and develop medicines that could treat severe acute pancreatitis. Both of these collabs were formed through GSK’s Discovery Partnerships with Academia initiative, the aim of which, the firm says, is to bring together the skills from academia and GSK into partnerships that could translate academic research into novel medicines.