GSK, University California collaborate advance genomic research, drug discovery
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GSK, University of California collaborate to advance genomic research, drug discovery

6:54 AM, 15th June 2019
GlaxoSmithKline logo
New 'Laboratory for Genomics Research' unites CRISPR pioneers with industry expertise to help unravel mysteries of the human genome.

LONDON, UK/ SAN FRANCISCO, US: GlaxoSmithKline plc announced a five-year collaboration with the University of California to establish a state-of-the-art laboratory for CRISPR technologies, the Laboratory for Genomics Research (LGR).

The new laboratory will explore how gene mutations cause disease and develop new technologies using CRISPR to rapidly accelerate the discovery of new medicines.

The LGR is the brainchild of Professor Jennifer Doudna, University of California Berkeley (UCB), a co-inventor of CRISPR technology and Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Investigator; Professor Jonathan Weissman, University of California San Francisco (UCSF), a pioneer of CRISPR screening technology and HHMI Investigator; and Dr Hal Barron, Chief Scientific Officer and President, R&D, GSK.

With the recent explosion of information from human genetics, scientists need powerful tools to understand why small changes in a person’s genetic make-up can increase the risk of diseases, an area of science called functional genomics. The most powerful tool in functional genomics, CRISPR, allows this to be done at a scale once thought impossible. Through this research, scientists can discover and develop novel therapies that have a higher likelihood of becoming medicines.

The LGR represents a novel hybrid model that brings together industrial and academic researchers under a single roof working on projects both together and independently. The outputs of those research projects will be focused on technologies, new drug targets and biological mechanisms that will foster both academic and industrial advances.

The new laboratory will also be a resource for investigators at both University of California (UC) campuses, who can access and use its technology to answer their own biomedical or other biological questions, and to develop new tools that explore how genes work.

“Technology is key to our innovation strategy at GSK, and CRISPR is one of the most important technologies of our time. With the expertise of Jennifer and Jonathan helping to steer the LGR, I am confident the lab will significantly advance our scientific understanding of the relationship between genes and disease to help find better medicines faster,” said Dr Barron.

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