GSK first drugmaker to tie up with new Crick institute

The GlaxoSmithKline building is pictured in Hounslow, west London June 18, 2013. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

LONDON (Reuters) - GlaxoSmithKline GSK.L said on Tuesday it had forged a collaboration with the Francis Crick Institute, making it the first pharmaceutical company to link up with the new biomedical centre based in London.

Named after the Nobel laureate who co-discovered the molecular structure of DNA, the Crick will employ 1,250 scientists and have a budget of over 100 million pounds a year when it is fully operational early in 2016.

The deal with GSK does not involve any money changing hands but allows teams of scientists from each organisation to work side by side on the underlying biology of diseases, with the goal of discovering better targets for new medicines.

GSK and the Crick will both contribute resources, including lab space and staff, and a number of projects are set to start this year, building up to 10-15 projects in 2016.

Research findings from the collaboration will be shared with the broader scientific community via joint publication in journals.

The move reflects GSK’s commitment to fundamental research, even as its shifts to greater reliance on non-pharmaceutical businesses such as consumer healthcare and vaccines. It follows the company’s decision last month to create a new U.S. research institute focused on the inner workings of cells.

Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Pravin Char