GlaxoSmithKline Forms Research Pact for NCDs in Africa

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has formed a Â£5-million ($8.1-million) collaboration with the UK and South African Medical Research Councils(MRCs) to support research into non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Africa as part of GSK's Africa NCD Open Lab initiative. 

The funding was pledged by the UK Foreign Office Minister responsible for Africa, James Duddridge, and South Africa's Minister for Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor, at an event in Cape Town, South Africa, as part of a broader collaboration between the two countries on scientific research. It will be used to support researchers from South African institutions conducting research projects in NCDs, aligned with the objectives of GSK's Africa NCD Open Lab.

Funding of £2.5 million ($4.0 million) will be provided by the UK MRC, via the UK Newton Fund,  a government fund established in 2013 to develop science and innovation partnerships that promote the economic development and welfare of developing countries,  and approximately £1.5 million ($2.4 million) will come from the South African Medical Research Council. GSK will provide an additional £1 million ($1.6 million), together with a commitment of internal R&D expertise, to support projects within South Africa. Alongside the funding confirmed today for South African research proposals, GSK will also commit a further £4 million ($6.5 million) to support successful proposals for NCD research from selected countries elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa. The call for proposals from these countries will launch later in 2014.

The Africa NCD Open Lab was established by GSK earlier this year as part of a series of strategic investments in sub-Saharan Africa. The Africa NCD Open Lab aims to address NCDs in the developing world through the creation of an innovative research network that will see GSK scientists collaborate with researchers across Africa on high quality epidemiological, genetic, and interventional research, from its hub at GSK's Stevenage R&D facility in the UK. This builds on GSK's Open Lab in Tres Cantos, Spain, which was established in 2010 to give independent researchers access to GSK facilities, resources, and knowledge, to help them advance their own projects into diseases of the developing world, such as malaria, tuberculosis, and leishmaniasis. Since the Tres Cantos Open Lab was established, 14 projects have  been completed.

An official call for proposals, seeking interest from researchers from South Africa and wider sub-Saharan Africa, will be launched later in 2014, to begin in the second quarter of 2015.

Source: GlaxoSmithKline

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