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Cambridge Academy of Therapeutic Sciences


Cambridge-GSK Alliance Celebrates Five Years

The Cambridge-GSK Alliance is celebrating five years and marked the occasion with a scientific symposium held at the University of Cambridge.

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So far, the Alliance has facilitated more than 80 collaborations including 26 projects funded via a dedicated GSK ‘Varsity funding programme’. The Alliance was originally focused on establishing translational research through the Clinical School and the GSK Clinical Trials Unit at Addenbrookes. It has now expanded to collaborations across the University, connecting GSK and Cambridge wherever there is value in bringing our skills together to translate cutting edge innovation into needed medicines. Paul-Peter Tak, SVP Immunology Network, GSK and co-founder of the Alliance commented: 

“The Cambridge Alliance represents a unique model of industry-academia interaction which demonstrates that successful long-term relationships require dedicated time and energy to develop trust and deliver value.”

The symposium celebrated the scientific achievements of the Alliance and recognised the people who have played a key role in building the relationship. The event gave GSK funded junior Principle Investigators and post-docs with a platform to present their research – demonstrating how the Alliance is contributing to the development of future scientific leaders. Six of the project teams presented a snapshot of the science with each talk introduced by the GSK lead who described how the collaboration would impact medicine discovery. Victoria Higgins, Senior Director, Cambridge-GSK Alliance added: 

“The people involved in this Alliance have invested significant time and energy to build trust and respect which has led to greater understanding and a blurring of the preconceived boundaries between academia and industry. This has enabled both parties to deliver more than they could do alone”



Arrival and Registration


Session 1: Introduction (Chair: Patrick Maxwell)


Andy Neely and Paul-Peter Tak – Welcome and Opening Comments


Victoria Higgins – Review of the Alliance 2013-18


Clare Bryant – Working with (and at) GSK….


Duncan Richards – The Clinical Unit Cambridge: Experimental Medicine




Session 2: Varsity Projects (Chair: Gijs Van Den Brink)


Exhausting autoimmunity: targeted therapy by inhibiting persistent responses to persistent antigen (David Tough, Eoin McKinney) Presenters: David Tough and John Sowerby


Transcriptomic Analysis of Haematopoietic Stem Cells for Ex Vivo Cell and Gene Therapy (Natalie Francis, Bertie Gottgens, Elisa Laurenti) Presenters: Natalie Francis and Elisa Laurenti


Potential use of PI3Kδ inhibitors to reverse B cell defects in a novel inherited human primary immunodeficiency disease (Edith Hessel, Klaus Okkenhaug) Presenters: Edith Hessel, Anita Chandra


Electron crystallography – a platform ticket to improved product quality (Roy Copley, Paul Midgely) Presenters: Roy Copley and Duncan Johnstone


Drug Induced Mitochondrial Toxicity in the Context of Hypoxia (Andrew Murray, Jon Lyon) Presenters: Jon Lyon and Kate O’Brien


Validation of the analysis methodology behind the use of quantitative 18F FDG PET / CT to assess lung inflammation (Joseph Cheriyan, Fred Wilson) Presenters: Marius de Groot and Laurence Vass


Patrick Maxwell and Gijs Van Den Brink – Reflections on the Alliance and what comes next


Networking Reception