GSK names winners of 2015 Discovery Fast Track Challenge

GSKGSK has announced the winners of its third Discovery Fast Track Challenge. The programme is sponsored by GSK's Discovery Partnerships with Academia (DPAc) group to provide an opportunity for academic researchers in Europe and North America to collaborate with GSK and explore novel ideas for potential medicines. Six winning proposals were selected from 378 entries submitted from 21 countries across Europe and North America. The selected proposals cover research related to discovery of potential new treatments for cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, HIV and kidney disease.

Investigators submitted proposals to screen their targets or biological pathways and, following a rigorous review process, finalists were invited to present their proposals to a panel of experienced drug discovery and therapeutic area experts from GSK. The winning proposals describe cutting-edge science that has the potential to impact disease areas where there is an unmet medical need and where patients would strongly benefit from new therapeutic interventions. The winners have access to GSK scientists and discovery resources, including high throughput screening with GSK’s compound libraries to further investigate the winning concepts.

The 2015 winning investigators are:

  • Dr. Miguel Fernandes & Professor Eduardo Salido, University of La Laguna, Spain
  • Professor Paul Lehner, University of Cambridge, UK
  • Professor Isabel Mérida, National Center for Biotechnology, Spanish National Research Council Madrid & Professors Mabel Loza and Ángel Carracedo of Innopharma, University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain
  • Dr. Efstratios Stratikos, National Center for Scientific Research "Demokritos", Greece
  • Dr. Nathalie Vergnolle, INSERM Toulouse, France
  • Dr. Hans-Guido Wendel, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, USA

Duncan Holmes, European Head of DPAc, said: "The Discovery Fast Track Challenge has been extremely successful in identifying exciting new collaborative opportunities that may ultimately lead to innovative medicines to tackle unmet patient need. This program has extended our ability to reach out and make contacts with leading academics all across Europe and North America."

Carolyn Buser-Doepner, Worldwide Head of DPAc, said: "In this third round of the Discovery Fast Track Challenge, we have built on the momentum of this programme and have now seen a total of over 1000 proposals. From previous challenges, we have seen a number of exciting successes - both in terms of forging long-term partnerships towards finding medicines as well as identifying and transferring useful chemical tools to multiple winning researchers. We have similar expectations for this new wave of exciting opportunities!"

About Discovery Partnerships with Academia (DPAc)
Launched by GSK in late 2010, DPAc harnesses the deep biological and disease expertise of academia and the drug discovery know-how of GSK to form integrated teams that in partnership can discover new medicines for patients. GSK and the academic partner share the challenges and reward of innovation where GSK funds activities in the partner laboratories, as well as provides in-kind expertise and resources, to progress a programme from idea to medicine.

GSK - one of the world's leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies - is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer.

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