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Issued: London, UK

GSK today welcomes the launch of the UK Government’s Life Sciences Sector Deal, which builds on the Industrial Strategy published by Sir John Bell earlier in the year, by announcing £40million of new money to strengthen initiatives that harness advances in genetic research in the development of new medicines.

The investment expands GSK’s previously announced effort to generate genetic sequencing data from UK Biobank, the world’s most comprehensive health resource. GSK’s new commitment will support the sequencing of data from all 500,000 volunteer participants, beyond the first 50,000 subset announced by the company earlier in 2017.

The funding will also strengthen GSK’s ‘Open Targets’ collaboration with the European Bioinformatics Institute, the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Biogen and Takeda, which was established in 2014 in Cambridge, UK, which makes genetic and biological data openly available to help researchers identify and prioritise new targets for developing future medicines.

Patrick Vallance, President, R&D, GSK, said: “This new investment by GSK, along with money from other public and private organisations, is building on the UK’s already world-leading status in the field of genomics and bioinformatics. Genetic evidence has revolutionised scientific discovery and drug development in recent years by providing clear links between genes and disease. Currently, an estimated 90% of potential medicines entering clinical trials fail to demonstrate the necessary efficacy and safety, and never reach patients. Many of these failures are due to an incomplete understanding of the link between the biological target of a drug and human disease. By contrast, medicines developed with human genetic evidence have had substantially higher success rates and patient care has benefited.”

Phil Thomson, President, Global Affairs, GSK, said: “The UK has a world class life sciences sector, but that will only continue to thrive through a strong partnership of Government, industry and academia. This Sector Deal contains a number of very practical commitments to strengthen the UK’s life science base and make it more attractive to international investment in areas such as clinical trials and high-tech research. Ultimately, this should provide benefits to the economy and create jobs. We look forward to seeing further initiatives result from this strategy for the sector.”

GSK is one of the largest private R&D investors in the UK, where it spends over a £1billion a year and which is home to one of its two global research centres, based in Stevenage, Hertfordshire. The company focuses 80% of its pharmaceutical research spending across Respiratory, HIV/ Infectious Diseases, Oncology and Immuno-Inflammation research. 

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