Pfizer to fund UK rare disease research

14 May 2014

The UK not-for-profit company Global Medical Excellence Cluster (GMEC) has announced a five-year partnership with Pfizer to create a framework for research and development of ‘new and innovative medicines for rare diseases’.

GMEC was founded by a group of academic institutions to accelerate translational biomedical research, boost the UK market and ultimately, improve patient care. It also incorporates commercial companies and NHS trusts, via Academic Health Science Centres.
The new partnership will fund joint drug discovery research programmes between Pfizer and academic scientists. The work of Genomics England in establishing the 100,000 Genomes Project within the NHS is said to be an important advance underpinning this research, since most rare diseases are primarily genetic in origin.
Profesor Sir John Bell, GMEC Chairman, Regius Professor of Medicine at the University of Oxford (and a Non-executive Director of Genomics England) said that the project “underlines the UK’s strengths in biomedical research”.
Pfizer is currently facing heavy criticism for its attempts to take over UK-based pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, a move supposedly beneficial for UK business but which is highly likely to involve substantial job losses for UK employees and is probably motivated by plans to avoid tax.

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