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GSK takes lead role in UK personalised medicine programme

Published on 20/05/11 at 09:46am

The first cheque has been written for the government-backed Stratified Medicine Innovation Platform (SMIP), set up last year to pump £50 million into R&D for personalised medicine.

The Technology Strategy Board – which manages SMIP and is sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills - and the Medical Research Council (MRC) will put up £3.7 million between them in seven new research projects.

Three of these will be led by GlaxoSmithKline, with AstraZeneca UK, Ig Innovations, Janssen UK and Randox Laboratories having one each. With investment from these firms, the total R&D spend will be more than £7 million.

“These investments are the first in a programme that is bringing scientific research, businesses and policymakers together to develop the personalised, targeted drugs and treatments of the future,” said Technology Strategy Board chief executive Iain Gray.

Tumour profiling to improve cancer care and developing biomarkers for more effective drugs, which could then be given to patient sub-groups, are among the main areas SMIP set out to tackle at its launch.

Indeed, four of the new projects (Ig, Randox and two of the GSK ones) are to develop the use of biomarkers to predict how groups of patients will respond to inflammation and immunology therapies in rheumatoid arthritis, among other conditions.

The other three concentrate on finding new business models and value systems, looking at how drugs and companion diagnostics can be co-developed, and at issues around reimbursement.

Results of the next competition for funding, which focuses on tumour profiling and data capture to improve cancer care, are expected to be revealed next month.

“The MRC has chosen to be a major investor in this partnership, as it provides an opportunity to enhance the competitiveness of the UK knowledge and health base in an important and innovative area,” said MRC chief operating officer John Jeans.

”As well as benefiting the health services both at home and abroad, the SMIP initiative could help to deliver the economic advantages associated with world-leading research,” he concluded.

Arthritis Research UK has recently become a full partner at SMIP, joining the Department of Health, Scottish Government Health Directorates, the MRC, NICE and Cancer Research UK.  

Adam Hill


Randox is pleased to be part of this research. For more information on biomarker development


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