The new Institute, which will be based at the University of Oxford, aims to improve the success and speed of research and development of new medicines, building on insights from human genetics and using advanced technologies such as functional genomics and machine learning.
Genetic evidence has already been shown to double success rates in clinical studies of new treatments, and the digitisation of human biology has the potential to improve drug discovery by more closely linking genes to patients. The new Institute aims to build on this scientific progress and improve how diseases are understood by drawing on recent advances in pathology, including how to measure changes on a cellular, protein, or tissue level.
Backed by £30 million from GSK, the Institute is intended to pioneer further improvements in how new medicines are discovered and developed. For example, scientists from GSK and Oxford will help prioritise those early R&D programmes most likely to succeed and match them to patients most likely to respond.
The Institute will evaluate and integrate new approaches in genetics, proteomics and digital pathology to understand detailed patterns of disease which vary amongst individuals. The initial focus of research will be on neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease.
Professor Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, said: 'On behalf of colleagues across Oxford I would like to say how delighted we are by this new initiative with GSK. The Institute will create a unique partnership with staff from the university’s medical school and GSK working side-by-side to research and develop treatments for some of the most difficult to treat diseases. In addition, the Institute, in keeping with our educational mission, will provide training and build capacity in Britain’s academic and bioscience sectors.'