Lilly and Scottish university partner to find new therapies for immunological disorders

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/
© GettyImages/

Related tags Rheumatoid arthritis

Scotland’s University of Glasgow has entered into a research collaboration with pharma group, Eli Lilly, to develop the next generation of drug targets for immunological diseases.

The £4.6m (US$6.4m) research alliance is set to last four years. The partners will work across four diseases – psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibrosis, and vasculitis.

The project will be led by Glasgow University’s Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation.

The collaboration is aimed at identifying first-in-class therapeutics for people suffering with these conditions.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune disease characterized by inflammation, primarily of the small joints of the hands and feet.

RA affects approximately 0.3–1% of the adult population worldwide​, and it is estimated that within 10 years of diagnosis, 40% of people will be unable to stay in full-time work. This has major socio-economic repercussions. In the UK, this costs the NHS on average £700m per year and indirectly costs the UK economy an estimated £8bn per year, according to a release from the university.

Professor Iain McInnes, vice principal at the University of Glasgow, said with the current backdrop of the pandemic it is particularly important that its research continues to focus on discovering new ways to treat patients with other diseases that affect people’s quality-of-life.

“Strengthening links with industry is hugely important as we move to translate our research findings into clinical practice which benefits patients.”

Professor Carl Goodyear, professor of translational immunology at that university, said the alliance combines Glasgow’s world-class clinical and translational skills with Lilly’s therapeutic capabilities and technology platforms for developing novel therapeutics.

“This is a highly unique collaboration that is aimed at harnessing not only cross-disease comparison but also intra-disease pathological comparison across different affected tissues. By providing this disease and tissue contextualization it will enable the identification and validation of unique therapeutic targets.”

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