News Feature | March 27, 2014

Glaxo Joins Expert Group To Streamline R&D

By Liisa Vexler

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) joins a group of experts working to funnel scientific data into verifiable drug targets and more successes in R&D, not an easy feat with the amount of data being produced as a result of the genomics revolution. Glaxo is joining forces with external experts, contributing financial and human resources to springboard collaboration on this issue.

While most pharmaceutical development projects don’t get past clinical trials stages and to the patients, many are destined to fail even before they get to testing because of a lack of understanding of the biology behind the diseases, says Glaxo. To assist new R&D projects from the outset, the drug maker is teaming up with the European Bioinformatics Institute and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in launching the Center for Therapeutic Target Validation (CTTV), a joint project with a goal to improve target validation during the early stages of R&D.

Fifty scientists from Glaxo and the other two institutions will be part of the CTTV launch, wading through genomics, proteomics, chemistry and biology data to map out the source of disease. Each organization has a clearly defined role, with Sanger's experts providing their genetics expertise, the European Bioinformatics Institute lending its capacity for data analysis, and Glaxo promising to share its extensive experience in translational medicine and pharmaceutical discovery. The latter has not revealed the monetary amount of its commitment to the center, though it has said that it is "a multimillion-pound contribution."

Glaxo’s senior vice president of alternative discovery and development, Lon Cardon, stated, "Our ambition on this is very simple. Improve the selection of targets we pursue and therefore improve the attrition rate and make better medicines in the end. Annotation and validation of human targets is a good thing for drug discovery broadly, and it's not an area in which we aim to compete - we want to compete on making medicines."