Page URL: https://www.bionews.org.uk/page_143381

Pharma giant teams up with CRISPR experts for drug discovery

17 June 2019
Appeared in BioNews 1002

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is to partner with leading researchers at the University of California to harness CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing to find new medicines.

The pharmaceutical giant is investing US$67 million over five years to set up a new lab in the San Francisco area in collaboration with CRISPR pioneer Professor Jennifer Doudna and Professor Jonathan Weissman, an expert on using genome editing to probe gene function.

They will recruit scientists for the new Laboratory for Genomics Research (LGR), with 24 researchers from the University of California, and GSK contributing up to 14 of its own employees. The idea will be to use genome editing to investigate how gene mutations contribute to disease.

Dr Hal Barron, GSK's chief scientific officer, told Science that he hoped by using CRISPR in cell and animal models, the scientists would be able to double the knowledge of genes with known functions.

'Think about the impact of that as being able to develop twice as many drugs,' Dr Barron told the magazine.

'One of our key goals is to advance the field overall and make these tools as broadly available as possible,' said Professor Weissman, who is based at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). 'The LGR screening centre will enable labs at UCSF and Berkeley, and having access to it will give our scientists opportunities to advance their research in ways that would be very hard for them to do in their own labs.'

Professor Doudna, at UC Berkeley, told Science: 'This is really, for us as academics, kind of a dream come true.'

The LGR will focus on immunology, oncology and neuroscience. GSK's artificial intelligence and machine learning group is also to be involved in developing computational tools to analyse data. GSK said in a statement that the aim of the LGR would be to 'automate existing CRISPR approaches so that this work can be done at scale'.

RELATED ARTICLES FROM THE BIONEWS ARCHIVE
2 September 2019 - by Shaoni Bhattacharya 
Companies harnessing genome-editing technology have announced their own declaration on the use of the technology...
22 July 2019 - by Dr Hazar Haidar 
First coined by a group of researchers in 1955, and put simply: Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the science of making machines do things that would require intelligence if done by humans...
18 June 2018 - by Dr Sam Sherratt 
The US Patent and Trademark Office has decided to grant two new CRISPR patents to the University of California, Berkeley...
4 June 2018 - by Jen Willows 
Three scientists will share the US$1 million 2018 Kavli prize in Nanoscience 'for the invention of CRISPR-Cas9, a precise nanotool for editing DNA, causing a revolution in biology, agriculture, and medicine'...
19 February 2018 - by Rikita Patel 
Researchers have found a new use for CRISPR, adapting the system to detect viral infections with high accuracy, a new study finds...
25 September 2017 - by Rikita Patel 
The new era of gene technology presents an exciting approach to treat deleterious, inherited genetic conditions. Presenter Jim Al-Khalili talks to Professor Jennifer Doudna, from her early life to her research into molecular biology, to the development of the CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing system...
HAVE YOUR SAY
Log in to add a Comment.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions


Syndicate this story - click here to enquire about using this story.