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Online tool connects drug industry to U.K. academia

Database promises to accelerate pharma R&D in the U.K.

by Alex Scott
June 12, 2017 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 95, ISSUE 24

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) has launched a public, online database that allows researchers from U.K. universities and other organizations to identify opportunities for collaborating with major drug companies.

Called the Library of Initiatives for Novel Collaborations (LINC), the database includes listings of funding offers, access to equipment and compounds, and postings of preclinical and clinical research opportunities. Researchers can apply online.

Although launched only recently, the database already has about 370 projects. Companies including AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Roche, and UCB have posted research proposals. Companies on LINC are also offering researchers 62 compounds free of charge.

Database users can search by collaboration type, such as company-financed challenge, compound sharing agreement, and investigator-initiated study. The portal also allows people to search by company name to see what projects ABPI member companies have posted.

For example, GlaxoSmithKline is offering $1 million to a research group that develops a miniature, implantable wireless device that can record, stimulate, and block functionally specific neural signals to and from a single visceral organ.

ABPI expects LINC to enhance industry-academic collaboration in the U.K., which it considers to be increasingly important for developing new pharmaceuticals.

Industry experts and academics, including Damian Mole, a senior clinical fellow at the Medical Research Council, a U.K. government agency, welcome the initiative. “ABPI LINC will undoubtedly foster links and speed up drug discovery research,” he says.

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