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£76 million research centre to make the UK a global centre of excellence for clinical imaging

GlaxoSmithKline and Imperial College London sign agreement to establish major research partnerships at Hammersmith Hospital, UK

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2004-03/icos-mr031604.php

March 16, 2004
EurekAlert

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Imperial College London today announce a unique research collaboration in medical imaging. GSK will contribute funding of £28m for the construction of a new Clinical Imaging Centre, next to Hammersmith Hospital in west London, UK. Research will focus on cancer, stroke, neurological diseases such as Parkinson's and multiple sclerosis and psychiatric diseases. In association with the Clinical Imaging Centre, GSK and Imperial have entered into a 10-year research agreement for medical imaging.

The GSK Clinical Imaging Centre will use and advance the latest technologies in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET). GSK will invest a further £16 million in the latest PET and MRI imaging equipment. The Imaging Centre will be part of a new £60m research development by Imperial College, on the former Burlington Danes school site adjoining Hammersmith Hospital, to be completed by 2006.

Imperial's Hammersmith campus was selected for the new development as it is already home to a considerable concentration of imaging expertise and many of the world's leading experts in imaging technology. The land has been made available by the Charity Trustees of Hammersmith Hospitals who acquired the site in 1999.

Existing expertise includes staff from the Medical Research Council's Clinical Sciences Centre, Imperial College London, and the Hammersmith Hospitals NHS Trust. In addition Hammersmith Hospital has long been at the forefront of clinical trials. The new development will build on this strong foundation to create a global centre of medical imaging excellence.

The agreement is one of the world's largest industry-university collaborations in financial terms, and will very substantially increase the research base in medical imaging in the UK. The UK Government welcomed the investment in UK science. Lord Sainsbury Minister for Science and Innovation said: "The new clinical imaging centre is great news for the UK. The centre will carry out vital research into devastating diseases such as Parkinson's. The investment by GlaxoSmithKline and Imperial College highlights the strength of the science base in this country, and the quality of medical research at Hammersmith Hospital."

Imaging technology such as PET provides scientists with a 'window' to look at the real-time chemical processes in human organs such as the brain, the heart and lungs, revealing the immediate changes that medicines can make. Imaging data can help speed up drug discovery and development by providing information about what is happening at a molecular level in the body.

Dr Tachi Yamada, Chairman of Research and Development at GlaxoSmithKline, said: "New imaging technology can provide early and accurate information about how medicines work in people, yet the need to harness this new technology to drug development efforts has outpaced current capacity. Our investment in this new clinical imaging centre further demonstrates GSK's continued commitment to medical research in the UK and will go a long way toward providing the tools we need to advance promising medicines more quickly."

Sir Richard Sykes, Rector of Imperial College London, remarked: "This is a fantastic opportunity for both Imperial and GlaxoSmithKline, and is one of the largest industrial investments made by a pharmaceutical company in a UK university. This collaboration brings together the research heritage, skills and expertise of a diverse group of scientists with a huge investment in new technology. With the increased financial pressures on all academic institutions and the recent recommendations of the Lambert review on university-industry interaction this investment is particularly timely, and will further strengthen Imperial's ability to conduct world-class science."

In addition to the research centre, the development site will also include affordable housing for over 300 health workers, provided by the Charity Trustees for Hammersmith Hospitals' partner Thames Valley Housing Association. There will also be jobs created in the new centre with around 400 researchers and support staff working there, around half of these being new positions.
 

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Notes to editors:

Approval for the scheme was given in February 2004 by Hammersmith and Fulham Council. The proposal involves the construction of a new building on the Burlington Danes development site alongside existing Imperial buildings at the Hammersmith Hospital.

Imperial College London
Consistently rated in the top three UK university institutions, Imperial College London is a world leading science-based university whose reputation for excellence in teaching and research attracts students (10,000) and staff (5,000) of the highest international quality. Innovative research at the College explores the interface between science, medicine, engineering and management and delivers practical solutions that enhance the quality of life and the environment - underpinned by a dynamic enterprise culture. Website: www.imperial.ac.uk.

GlaxoSmithKline
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is one of the world's leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies and is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer. The 16,000 people working in GSK's global R&D organisation are responsible for discovering, developing, registering, commercialising and supporting appropriate marketing of prescription medicines and vaccines for the treatment and prevention of human disease. In 2003 GSK invested £2.8 billion in research and development at more than 20 sites worldwide. Around 40 percent of GSK's global R&D spend (£1billion) is made in the UK, and 45 percent of the global R&D workforce, are located there. GSK funds more academic research in the UK than any other company, including 450 PhD studentships and more than 200 post-doctoral research collaborations. For more information on research at GSK visit us at www.science.gsk.com

The Imaging Centre at the Hammersmith Hospital is the second major investment that GSK has made in new R&D facilities in the UK since the merger that formed the company in 2001. In October 2003 GSK opened a £45 million facility devoted to high-throughput chemistry and compound management in Harlow, Essex. For more information see http://science.gsk.com/news/features/031021-hlw.htm .

The Hammersmith Hospitals NHS Trust
The Hammersmith Hospitals NHS Trust receives £47 million a year from the NHS to support clinical research. Hammersmith Hospital has a singular role in British academic medicine and is fundamentally different from any other general teaching or research hospital in that clinical research is so extensively integrated with clinical services that it influences service development.

The clinical research and training for which the Hammersmith is famous depends on detailed assessment and investigation of patients. This demands exceptional diagnostic and investigative facilities. Research is supported by outstanding diagnostic laboratory services and the most extensive clinical and research imaging facilities in Europe.

Supporting quotes and additional partner information

Professor Chris Higgins, Director of the MRC's Clinical Sciences Centre at Hammersmith Hospital said: "The further development of imaging excellence on campus will ensure that researchers at the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre and Imperial can further develop cutting-edge research which will provide patients with a direct benefit."

Professor Robert Lechler, Dean of Imperial's Hammersmith campus said: "We are delighted at this investment in Imperial's Hammersmith campus and the opportunity it provides to develop existing and new clinical research initiatives on site. I would like to thank the Charity Trustees for Hammersmith Hospitals for the significant support they have given to the scheme. Without it, a development of this magnitude in both research terms and housing provision might never have taken place".

Celia Hensman, Chairman of the the Charity Trustees for Hammersmith Hospitals said: "This research partnership is a wonderfully exciting development, and confirmation by Imperial College of the appointment of a contractor marks an important milestone in the development of our 'Burlington Danes site'. It is almost six years since our predecessor Trustees took the bold initiative of acquiring the former school buildings and land adjacent to Hammersmith Hospital and we are delighted that their vision of it being divided between medical research and much needed affordable accommodation for hospital staff is at last becoming a reality."

MRC Clinical Sciences Centre
The Clinical Sciences Centre at the Hammersmith campus of Imperial College is one of three core-funded Research Institutes supported by the MRC. It was established as an Institute in 1999, under its Director Professor Chris Higgins, in order to undertake internationally-competitive basic and clinical science in a strong clinical environment and to train future medical researchers, leading to patient benefit. The main foci of CSC research activities are in genetics and genomics, cell biology, and the development and application of imaging technologies. Clinical priorities are in brain disorders and cardiovascular disease. Strong and productive partnerships have been forged with Imperial College, Hammersmith Hospitals Trust, and Industry. Website: www.csc.mrc.ac.uk

The Charity Trustees for Hammersmith Hospitals (Registered Charity No. 1059138)
A single Board of Trustees was established in October 2000 by the Secretary of State for Health to manage endowed funds, donations and charitable trusts relating to Acton, Charing Cross, Hammersmith & Queen Charlotte's & Chelsea Hospitals which were previously managed by separate Special Trustee Boards. The role of the Trustees is to oversee the Charity's investments so as to allow maximum achievement of its aims of providing new amenities and improved facilities for staff; additional benefits for patients and their environment; and to contribute to hospital research. The Burlington Danes site was acquired using charitable funds in 1999.
 

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