A total of 47 deprioritised pharmaceutical compounds and up to £5m have been made available to academic researchers through the latest round of the Medical Research Council Industry Asset Sharing Initiative. 

The collaboration between the Medical Research Council (MRC) and six global drug companies is considered to be the largest of its type in the world.

MRC translational research and industry director Dr Chris Watkins said: “The MRC is a world-leader in forging links between industry and universities and academics.  Academic partners benefit from working hand-in-hand with industry counterparts from the earliest stages of research through to the development of new products and treatments.

"The MRC is a world-leader in forging links between industry and universities and academics."

“The MRC is encouraging other companies, large and small, to join in this innovative MRC collaboration designed to speed up the translation of basic science into real health benefits for patients.”

Researchers in the UK can apply for MRC funding to use any of the compounds in medical research studies to investigate the underlying reasons of disease, which may ultimately lead to the development of effective treatments.

Both clinical, which have already been tested in humans, and preclinical compounds feature in this collection. It consists of molecules developed initially for diseases including for cancer, ADHD, narcolepsy, and diabetes.

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AstraZeneca, GSK, Janssen, Pfizer, Takeda, and UCB have offered up a number of their deprioritised molecules under the partnership, which was initially launched in 2014.

Given that several of the compounds have already been found to be suitable for testing in humans, any new treatments from the research could reach patients much faster.

A project, which has been funded through an earlier compound sharing partnership between the MRC and AstraZeneca, has already reached human trials.