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UCB partners with UK scientists on antibody discovery initiative

Posted by
Ross Carroll, Government Affairs & Market Access
04-Aug-2017
UCB and the UK’s Medical Research Council (MRC) have launched a collaboration to support academic researchers seeking to develop antibody-based therapeutics.

Since the first approval of a therapeutic monoclonal antibody over 30 years ago, antibodies have become established therapies in a range of disease areas such as autoimmune conditions, infectious diseases and cancer.

The MRC has been at the forefront of scientific discovery to improve human health for more than a century. Originally founded in 1913 to help tackle tuberculosis, the Council now invests UK taxpayer's money in medical research.

Its track record is impressive: 31 MRC-funded researchers have won Nobel prizes and its scientists have been behind the discoveries of vitamins, the structure of DNA and the link between smoking and cancer.

Under the partnership initiative, the MRC is funding up to five projects per year over three years to allow researchers access to UCB’s antibody platform based in Slough in order to generate novel antibodies that can be tested in models of disease.

At the centre of the collaboration will be UCB’s high-throughput antibody discovery technology. Several early steps in the process have been automated to expand the capacity, increase the speed and improve the consistency of the antibody discovery process.

This means that large numbers of antibodies can be sampled quickly to assess if they are suitable for the research or treatment of human diseases.

The partnership with the MRC complements UCB’s existing Antibody Technology Platform Access Programme which has already resulted in collaborations with institutions including the University of Oxford, UCL and Weill Cornell Medical College. The initiative will enhance collaborative networks with academic institutions in the UK and stimulate research in the academic community.

The call to submit projects opened on 2nd August and will close at 4pm (BST) on 27th September 2017 with projects expected to start from Q2 2018.

Partnership is an essential element in modern medicine. At UCB we are committed to increasing our collaborative networks to accelerate scientific discovery. We want to facilitate industry-academic interaction to generate potential therapeutics to benefit patients living with severe diseases.

This joint initiative with the MRC is a world-leading collaboration between academia and industry with the aim of enhancing the pace of new drug discovery and improving patient outcomes.

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