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GSK commits milions of pounds to new imaging centre

Published on 21/06/07 at 09:47am

The largest new imaging centre in Europe - an £83 million collaboration between GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Imperial College London and the Medical Research Council (MRC) - has opened in west London.

The GSK Clinical Imaging Centre (CIC) is dedicated to clinical research across a broad range of disease areas including cancer, cardiovascular, psychiatric and neurological disorders.

The pharma company has pledged to invest an additional £11 million a year in the centre for the next decade. Housed on three floors and staffed by 80 clinical, scientific and research staff plus eight research fellows from the university, the CIC has two magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines and two positron emission tomography (PET) scanners, giving it capacity for 2,500 scans annually.

The technology is seen as an intrinsic part of the development of new medicines and in diagnosis of disease, allowing researchers to view disease processes and the action of medicines in organs such as the brain, heart and lungs. The fine detail of modern imaging allows molecular interactions to be studied.

GSK put £46m into the new project, with Imperial committing £28m and the MRC £9m. Such collaborations between industry, academia and the public sector are increasingly deemed necessary to achieve progress in research and are therefore becoming more common. Last year, Wyeth embarked on its $86 million Translational Medicine Research Collaboration with Scotland's four major medical universities, Scottish Enterprise and the NHS.

The CIC was opened by trade and industry secretary Alistair Darling, who said: "It will give researchers what they need to enhance our reputation as a world leader in science, research and putting great ideas into practice, speeding up the process to deliver the new medicines that patients need."

Sir Richard Sykes, rector of Imperial College London, said the backing from government and industry "enables us to translate our scientific advances into improving patient care as quickly as possible".

The decision to locate it next to Imperial's Hammersmith Hospital site was testament to the positive environment for science and innovation in the UK, according to Dr Moncef Slaoui, chairman of GSK Research & Development.

The Burlington Danes centre, which encompasses the CIC, plus Imperial and MRC facilities, will eventually employ 400 researchers and support staff - around half of which will be new positions.

 

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