University of Glasgow to create Stratified Medicine Scotland Innovation Centre

Will invest £20m in the Centre, which aims to create personalised medicines

The University of Glasgow is to invest £20m in a medical innovation centre that will examine the genetic makeup of patients in order to develop more effective personalised treatments.

The Scottish Funding Council is providing £8m over five years to support the creation of the Stratified Medicine Scotland Innovation Centre (SMS-IC) at the new South Glasgow Hospitals Campus. The SMS-IC will also involve a consortium of other universities, NHS Scotland, and industry partners.

Construction work is expected to begin in November, with a fully operational centre due to open in September 2015.

‘Stratified medicine’ involves examining the genetic makeup of patients and their differing responses to drugs. By building up an understanding of the ‘strata’ of responses and the genetics of the diseases, scientists hope to create more personalised and effective drugs.

The University of Glasgow says there is a clear economic argument for the development of stratified medicine. Of the £595bn spent globally on pharmaceuticals in 2011 an estimated £393bn was used for therapies that did not produce the desired effect.

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to combine our strengths in life science industry, NHS health delivery and academic medicine to produce world-leading innovations for treatment of chronic diseases

The SMS-IC will focus primarily on developing new treatments for chronic diseases, including cancer, stroke, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.

Professor Anna Dominiczak, Vice-Principal and Regius Professor of Medicine at the University of Glasgow, said: ‘The Stratified Medicine Scotland Innovation Centre is a once in a lifetime opportunity to combine our strengths in life science industry, NHS health delivery and academic medicine to produce world-leading innovations for treatment of chronic diseases.

‘£124bn is spent in the UK on healthcare each year, with medicines accounting for £12bn of the total. Even a small increase in efficiency created through better targeting of treatment would save the UK tens of millions of pounds each year.’

The SMS-IC is one of three Innovation Centres announced by First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond. The others are the University of Glasgow’s Innovation Centre – Sensor and Imaging Systems and the University of Edinburgh’s Digital Health and Care Innovation Centre.

A recent independent economic impact assessment suggested that the Centre could generate up to 334 jobs and up to £68m to the Scottish economy over its inital five-year funding period. The Centre aims to attract sufficient research sponsorship from industry partners to allow it to become self-sustaining within five years.

The Universities of Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Dundee will also be involved in the research conducted at the SMS-IC, along with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, NHS Grampian, NHS Lothian and NHS Tayside.

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