New research collaboration to look at drug treatments for diseases

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A RESEARCH collaboration aiming to discover and validate the next generation of drug targets for immunological diseases has been announced.

The University of Glasgow has announced it will work with pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly in a collaboration worth £4.6m.

Disease treatment explored will include psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis  fibrosis and vasculitis and will be led by the University of Glasgow’s Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation.

(University of Glasgow. Image Pixabay) - Research News Scotland
(University of Glasgow. Image Pixabay) The collaboration will last around four years and aims to discover and validate the next generation of drug targets for immunological diseases

The collaboration will allow scientists from UofG and Lilly to work together in order to drive the research forward. 

Researchers hope this will help enable the identification of first-in-class therapeutics for people suffering with these devastating and costly conditions. 

Rheumatoid arthritis alone affects 0.31% of people across the globe and it is estimated that within 10 years of diagnosis 40% of people will be unable to stay in full-time work.

This has major socio-economic repercussions. In the UK, this costs the NHS on average £700 million per year and indirectly costs the UK economy an estimated £8 billion per year. 

Professor Iain McInnes, Vice Principal and Head of the College of Medical, Veterinary & Life Sciences at the University of Glasgow, said: “In the current COVID environment, it is particularly important that our research continues to focus on discovering new ways to treat patients with other diseases that can and will affect people’s quality-of-life.

We are thrilled to be partnering with Lilly in this extremely exciting collaboration. Strengthening links with industry is hugely important as we move to translate our research findings into clinical practice which benefits patients.” 

The UofG team, led by Professor Carl Goodyear, includes Professor Stefan Siebert, Dr Mariola Kurowska-Stolarska, Dr Neal Millar, Dr Neil Basu and Dr Thomas Otto.

Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli, Principal of the University said: “Glasgow’s researchers have a vision to drive forward innovation, in order to tackle some of society’s most urgent challenges.

“The Glasgow-Lilly collaboration is well positioned to be an inspiring example of this vision and of the exciting possibilities of industry and academia working together.

“I look forward to seeing this important partnership progress, advancing the next generation of “first-in-class” therapeutic agents and their alignment with precision medicine approaches.” 

The UofG team, led by Professor Carl Goodyear, includes Professor Stefan Siebert, Dr Mariola Kurowska-Stolarska, Dr Neal Millar, Dr Neil Basu and Dr Thomas Otto.

Ajay Nirula, M.D., Ph.D., Vice President of Immunology at Lilly, said: “Lilly’s research efforts continue to expand beyond our own laboratories to include unique partnerships with top academic institutions such as the University of Glasgow. 

We look forward to collaborating closely with the scientific team at UofG to discover potential new therapies for immunological disorders.”