GSK, Harvard ink stem cell research pact

In another instance of the industry teaming up with academia, GlaxoSmithKline and Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) announced that they have signed a five-year, $25 million pact to research and possibly develop stem cell drugs. GSK will fund HSCI's research in several areas, including neuroscience, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, musculoskeletal diseases and obesity. The company will also fund an annual grant, which supports early stage research in stem cell biology.

Part of the draw for GSK, apparently, is the concentration of skilled biotech workers in the Boston area. "We have carefully chosen the Boston biomedical community to collaborate with on this important venture. It has the highest concentration of leading stem cell scientists, and the Harvard Stem Cell Institute is the epicenter of that community," said Patrick Vallance, GSK's drug discovery chief. The Boston Globe notes that the deal is one of the largest stem cell investments ever made by a Big Pharma company.

- see this GSK release
- read the Boston Globe's report