Scotland business

Firms invest £14m in disease research at Dundee

Test tubes
Image caption The cash will be used for early-stage research in multiple areas, including cancer, arthritis and lupus

A consortium of major pharmaceutical firms is to invest more than £14m in a Dundee-based research project which aims to combat global diseases.

The four-year funding package will focus on the development of new drug treatments at the University of Dundee.

The consortium includes AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim, GlaxoSmithKline, Janssen Pharmaceutica, Merck-Serono and Pfizer.

The funding will secure 50 posts at Dundee.

The consortium, known as the Division of Signal Transduction Therapy (DSTT), will provide core financial support from July 2012 until 2016.

The funding was announced by the University of Dundee and the Medical Research Council (MRC).

DSTT, which is believed to be the world's largest collaboration between the academic community and the pharmaceutical industry, includes 15 research teams based at Dundee.

Thirteen of the teams are based at the MRC Protein Phosphorylation Unit and Scottish Institute for Cell Signalling (SCILLS) at the College of Life Sciences.

Together, consortium scientists will continue early-stage research in multiple areas, including cancer, arthritis, lupus, hypertension and Parkinson's disease.

'Unprecedented'

DSTT was founded in 1998, and has since attracted a total of £50m in funding.

DSTT co-founder Sir Philip Cohen said, "Collaborations between academic laboratories and the pharmaceutical industry typically last a few years.

"Therefore to maintain and expand support for the DSTT from 1998 until at least 2016 is unprecedented and remarkable. It shows how valuable the collaboration has been for the pharmaceutical industry."

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon welcomed the funding announcement.

She said: "This is a major endorsement by industry of Scotland's strong life science research capacity and a hugely important investment that will have an impact on health outcomes in Scotland and beyond.

"This is a perfect example of why we have chosen to invest record levels of funding in Scotland's universities, as the world-class reputation of their research will continue to bring investment into Scotland, supporting our wider ambitions for economic growth."

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