MILNER THERAPEUTICS CONSORTIUM
The Consortium has been active since June 2015 and is based on a research agreement signed by three academic centres in Cambridge and eight pharmaceutical companies: the University of Cambridge, the Sanger Institute and the Babraham Institute; and Astex, AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Shionogi, Pfizer, Janssen R&D, Ferring and Eisai. The agreement is designed to facilitate the speedy exchange of reagents and information for research collaboration with academics across Cambridge. Each industry partner within the Milner Therapeutics Consortium has set aside funds for collaborative projects, which are open to any therapeutic area and are expected to lead to joint publications.
The Innovation Board brings together the industrial and academic partners of the Consortium to determine the overarching challenges facing the pharmaceutical industry and predict future needs. It enables companies to collaborate on common research projects related to targets, technologies and therapeutic areas. Its remit is to consider the future direction of therapeutic research and suggest innovative projects for collective company funding. Research projects selected by the Innovation Board are executed by a ‘task force’ of academic and company groups with appropriate expertise.
There are now 19 ongoing projects across ten Departments and Institutes of the University and the Babraham. 15 of these are highlighted and include a focus on oncology, infectious diseases, CNS and chemistry (an investment of £3.2 million by our industry partners. The projects are broad in remit and can include access to compounds, datasets, equipment or know-how in a particular technique. In some cases, an industry scientist has come to work in the academic’s lab, and in others an academic post has been funded specifically for the project. The emphasis in all our collaborations is on mutual sharing of expertise.
Compound libraries are available
Compound banks from the companies are available for research and access to these is facilitated for scientists at the University of Cambridge, Sanger Institute and Babraham Institute through the Consortium agreement. Compound sets are available to explore disease biology, for preclinical and clinical research and also to reposition drugs that have already been tested in the clinic.
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