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U.K. public/private finance group pumps $300M into drug research

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A slate of new life science research initiatives has gained $300 million in financial support from a public/private partnership in the U.K. The UK Research Partnership Investment Fund is helping coordinate new collaborations on cancer drug research, rare diseases, eye drugs as well as a sustainable chemistry program involving GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK). And it's all part of a £1 billion plan ($1.6 billion) to reenergize the country's science industry.

One of the biggest programs in the current list of funded projects is a $136 million project combining University College London with the Great Ormond Street Hospital on rare diseases, with a special focus on children. The University of Manchester, The Christie hospital and Cancer Research UK, meanwhile, are developing the Manchester Cancer Research Centre, which will concentrate on targeting treatments based on patients' tumor biology. Queen's University Belfast, The Atlantic Philanthropies, a Wellcome-Wolfson Capital Award, The Sir Jules Thorn Charitable Trust and the Insight Trust for the Visually Impaired are working together to draw investigators to a campus where they can coordinate with diabetes and genomics investigators on new therapies for vision. And GlaxoSmithKline will work with the University of Nottingham to support the Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Chemistry, working on energy- and resource-efficient chemistry. 

The conservative government has provided significant new support for the life sciences. And government ministers are not in the least bit shy about trumpeting their role.

"It is fantastic that our top businesses and top charities are queuing up to collaborate with our world-class universities," said David Willetts, minister for universities and science. "They want to work together to deliver innovation, commercialization and growth."

- here's the press release

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