Leicester researcher building bridges between industry and academia

As part of a collaboration between Professor Simon Wagner from our Department of Cancer Studies and GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK’s) Discovery Partnerships with Academia (DPAc) in Stevenage UK, Dr Ana Sousa Manso (Research Associate from Leicester Drug Discovery & Diagnostics, working with the Wagner group) recently travelled to the US to work alongside GSK colleagues in the Oncology Therapy Area (Onc TA) for 2 weeks where she gained first-hand experience of working in big Pharma.

Ana stated: "It has been a great experience. Lena (Olena Barbash, Scientific Director, Onc TA) and her team have been just great. They showed me everything around and I have learned a lot. They are really good at what they do and have so much experience. In addition to experiencing the working environment in the lab I was also introduced to a lot of people (Exploratory Development Leaders, Project Managers, Investigators) and it really helped me understand what are the different roles involved in Drug Discovery."

The placement was funded by an MRC Proximity to Discovery Grant held by the University of Leicester with funds specifically allocated to enable university scientists to interact with industry.

Andy Pearce, Scientific Director, DPAc said: “It is great that Universities and funding bodies are supporting this kind of initiative to break down barriers between academic and industry scientists and that we can enable this in GSK. It chimes perfectly with our goal in DPAc to re-personalize the relationships between academia and industry. Huge credit is due to Ana and the Leicester team for embracing and investing their time in the approach."

GSK’s Discovery Partnerships with Academia (DPAc) is an approach to early drug discovery which aims to bring together the insight and creativity of the academic world with the drug discovery expertise of GSK to establish truly integrated partnerships that can translate innovative research into medicines that benefit patients.