University of Glasgow teams up with Eli Lilly and Company for research on immunological diseases, including arthritis

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By Ian McConnell

THE University of Glasgow is embarking on a £4.6 million, four-year research collaboration with US-based pharmaceuticals group Eli Lilly and Company to discover and validate the next generation of drug targets for immunological diseases.

Led by the university’s Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, the collaboration will work across four diseases: psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibrosis, and vasculitis.

The university said it was hoped the collaboration between its scientists and those of Lilly would “help enable the identification of first-in-class therapeutics for people suffering with these devastating and costly conditions”.

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It added: “Rheumatoid arthritis alone affects 0.3 per cent to 1% of people across the globe and it is estimated that, within ten years of diagnosis, 40% of people will be unable to stay in full-time work. This has major socio-economic repercussions. In the UK, this costs the NHS on average £700 million per year and indirectly costs the UK economy an estimated £8 billion per year.”

University of Glasgow principal Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli said: “Glasgow’s researchers have a vision to drive forward innovation, in order to tackle some of society’s most urgent challenges. The Glasgow-Lilly collaboration is well positioned to be an inspiring example of this vision and of the exciting possibilities of industry and academia working together. I look forward to seeing this important partnership progress, advancing the next generation of first-in-class therapeutic agents and their alignment with precision medicine approaches.”

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The University of Glasgow team is led by Carl Goodyear, and includes Stefan Siebert, Mariola Kurowska-Stolarska, Neal Millar, Neil Basu and Thomas Otto.

Ajay Nirula, vice-president of immunology at Lilly, said: “Lilly’s research efforts continue to expand beyond our own laboratories to include unique partnerships with top academic institutions such as the University of Glasgow. We look forward to collaborating closely with the scientific team at UofG to discover potential new therapies for immunological disorders.”

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