GSK burnishes its "open innovation" rep with new translational research fund

GlaxoSmithKline helped seal its reputation as one of the leaders in the "open innovation" movement today with its announcement of a new GSK-MaRS Innovation Fund to help accelerate translational work on a portfolio of projects under way in Ontario's busy biotech research hub.

The strategic partnership is designed to provide cash and connections for researchers who are working on new technologies that could be in line for an in-licensing deal or provide the foundation for a new biotech company. Officials from MaRS Innovation--which offers a commercialization platform for the discovery work under way at 16 academic institutions in the region--will work with GSK on the most promising programs.

"Collaborations such as these--where we share knowledge, expertise and resources--provide a highly effective way of progressing and commercializing cutting edge research.  We hope that this collaboration will help to close the innovation gap in Canada," said Paul Lucas, president and CEO of GlaxoSmithKline in Canada.

GSK is one of a group of Big Pharma companies--including Pfizer, Sanofi and others--which have become so disillusioned with the poor productivity of their R&D groups that they are increasingly turning outward to find new ideas and new drugs for their pipeline. The trend has been a boon to a host of universities, where researchers are eagerly embracing these new collaborations.

- see the GSK release