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Neuroimaging & GSK

Imaging center planned in London Imperial College and GlaxoSmithKline to
jointly fund a new facility for 400 staff
By Linda Nordling

Plans to build a £76 million medical imaging research center in London were
unveiled on Tuesday (March 16) by Imperial College London and pharmaceutical
giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). The center will focus on improving treatments
diseases like stroke and cancer 

[Fred A. Baughman Jr., MD:
Real diseases, for starters]

while at the same time driving new
developments in imaging technology.

Even for a research-intensive university like Imperial College, the new
center is on a huge scale. “This is by a long way the largest such
internationally that I know of in imaging science,” said Leszek Borysiewicz,
principal of the faculty of medicine.

The site at the college's Hammersmith Hospital campus was chosen over
top US and European institutions. It will house 400 researchers and support
staff from industry and academia, half of which will be new positions. The
company is contributing £28 million to the construction of the center and
million to furbish it with imaging equipment. The rest will be provided by
Imperial College and the hosting hospital.

According to Borysiewicz, increasing UK capacity in imaging research is one
of the key benefits of the investments. “What is very important to me is
we are bringing this development into the UK science base to ensure that we
really give UK scientists an opportunity to participate in this kind of
program,” he said.

Basic and translational research will take place in the center when it
finished in 2006. This will initially focus on neurological diseases and
cancer; however, the publicly funded research is likely to also branch out
into a
number of other disorders 

[Fred A. Baughman Jr., MD:
ah yes, "disorders."]

Borysiewicz said that there are likely to be
developments in the diagnostics and therapeutics of diseases, but that the
at the same time will be able to push the technology with its strong base in
engineering, computing, and chemistry.

Fuelling basic science is a welcome side effect for the drug company. “If we
can increase the science output of a major university, it's good for us
because you can't discover drugs without understanding disease,” said John
who oversees imaging research at GSK. 

[Fred A. Baughman Jr., MD:
it would be of interest to get
a list of diseases and "disorders" they now research]

The deal has attracted much attention from the UK government, which is
currently considering ways of encouraging industry–academia collaborations.
In fact,
the UK treasury asked GSK and the college to delay announcing the center by
few days so it could be used as a good example in its consultation on how UK
science should be supported in the next 10 years, which is also published

Brown said that the center was designed with collaboration in mind.
“Everything has been done to break down the barrier between industry and

[Fred A. Baughman Jr., MD:
so that, presently, academia, and science and medicine for
science's and medicines' sake will no longer be found there]

suppose one reason that we went to Imperial is that that barrier is most
down at Imperial.”

However, asked why his institution does so well at attracting industry
Borysiewicz said there are no magic bullets. “If Imperial has a lead it is
the fact that it is actually beginning to achieve it on the ground rather
than just discussing how it should be done.”

Links for this article
“£76 million research centre to make the UK a global centre of excellence
clinical imaging,” Imperial College London press release, March 16, 2004.

Leszek Borysiewicz

Hammersmith Hospitals

“Government unveils blueprint for future of British science,” HM Treasury
press release, March 16, 2004.


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