By partnering with industry at an early stage, we increase the probability that early research findings will eventually benefit human health through pharmaceuticals or technology.
We collaborate with the pharmaceutical industry in the very early, pre-competitive stage of research. Work on biological mechanisms often pinpoints genes, proteins, pathways and metabolic changes which are clinically significant. These can be the starting points for new drugs and healthcare products.
Open science partnerships
Our partnerships combine the Crick’s strength in discovery science with drug firms’ expertise in developing new medicines.
Our GSK LinkLabs programme sees Crick and GSK scientists swapping working locations to work on collaborative projects. By working alongside each other in the same lab, researchers are able to quickly and collaboratively develop their ideas.
GSK's Jo Redmond spent a year and a half on secondment at the Crick in Peter Parker's lab. Hear how her experiences in industry shaped her work at the Crick, and what she took back to GSK.
AstraZeneca and the Crick have a joint research fund that enables us to collaborate on early-stage research that could translate into new treatments and health innovations in the future. The combination of AstraZeneca’s expertise in developing new medicines and the Crick’s strength in discovery science will maximize the potential to make breakthroughs neither partner could alone.
Our five year collaborative relationship with MSD will see Crick and MSD scientists working together on projects at the Crick to better understand difficult-to-treat diseases.
The first project funded by the scheme involves MSD scientists working with Rickie Patani's lab at the Crick to understand the causes of motor neurone disease and identify potential targets for future treatments.
There are typically around 25 active projects at any one time, covering a range of diseases, from cancer and infectious diseases to metabolic diseases and neurological disorders. These projects can relate to:
- target identification and validation for therapeutics, including reagent development;
- development of model systems;
- testing drugs in relevant disease models and exploring drug mode of action;
- 'omics' projects;
- exploring diagnostics and prognostic biomarkers;
- bioinformatic and technology platforms;
- biophysics and crystallography.
Julian Downward case study
Julian Downward’s group at the Crick study how gene mutations contribute to the origin and spread of cancers and have been studying the gene KRAS for decades.
Mutations in KRAS play a role in 15% of all cancers and the protein encoded by KRAS has been a critical target for drug development for some time, but has proved to be extremely challenging. Pharmaceutical companies have libraries of millions of potential compounds which could be effective drugs, but the current method for testing the effectiveness of these compounds on the KRAS protein would take several years and cost millions of pounds to scan just one of these libraries.
After being introduced to the assay development team at AstraZeneca by the Crick’s Translation team, Crick postdoc Soly Ismail is now working with a screening specialist at AstraZeneca to adapt the current screening system into a high throughput, robust and reasonably priced assay.
The new system being developed by the team should be able to scan AstraZeneca’s library of 2 million compounds in a matter of weeks and at a fraction of the cost. When compounds are scanned using the new assay, any ‘hits’ will open up new opportunities for the development of cancer drugs specifically targeting KRAS.
LifeArc-Crick translation fund
The Crick and the independent medical charity LifeArc have created the LifeArc-Crick translation fund.
The fund will make £5m available over five years to support Crick scientists in progressing promising innovations to the point where the projects can attract follow-on, larger scale investment and development with the aim of benefitting human health.
LifeArc will collaborate with Crick group leaders and the Crick’s translation team to identify projects in areas aligned to LifeArc’s strategy and with the Crick’s discovery science strengths.