GSK, Astra, J&J link with universities in new drug research fund

LONDON GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca and Johnson Johnson have joined with three leading British universities to create a new 40 million pounds ($57 million) fund backing early drug research.

The Apollo Therapeutics Fund, which aims to improve the speed and potential of university research being translated into new medicines, is a further example of a trend by Big Pharma to tap into academic science in the hunt for treatments.

Each of the companies will contribute 10 million pounds over six years, with technology transfer offices of Imperial College London, University College London and the University of Cambridge paying in 3.3 million each, the fund said on Monday.

Apollo aims to advance academic preclinical research to the point where it can either be added to the portfolio of one of the industry partners, following an internal bidding process, or be out-licensed to another party.

(Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Mark Potter)

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