Research database to help promote pharma/academic collaborations

The ABPI has developed a new tool to help build research relationships between the pharmaceutical industry and UK academics.


The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) has developed a new tool to help build research relationships between the pharmaceutical industry and UK academics.

Launched at the Francis Crick Institute in London, the Library of Initiatives for Novel Collaborations (ABPI LINC) – a research database – will provide easy access to identify new collaboration opportunities.

Collaboration database

​​​​​​Using the database academics and clinical researchers can more easily identify opportunities online for collaboration with the biopharmaceutical industry including funding opportunities, access to cutting-edge equipment, compounds and opportunities to build collaborative relationships.

Central portal

The database also provides, for the first time, a publicly available and user-friendly central portal to see the different ways pharmaceutical companies are supporting open innovation, working with researchers across the UK both in hospitals and in universities.

The ABPI LINC database has been launched alongside a booklet of industry-academic case studies in the UK. Highlighting projects that are pushing the boundaries of medical science from better understanding diseases to clinical trials.

Industry with academia

Experts say that the new initiative will mean even closer links between industry and academia, which is absolutely vital for carrying out the ground-breaking research needed for discovering and developing the medicines of the future. It is hoped that the database will help to boost medical research in the long term. Academics at two of the UK’s leading universities have projects features on the portal:

Damian Mole, MRC Senior Clinical Fellow and Honorary Consultant Surgeon at the University of Edinburgh, leads a Discovery Partnerships with Academia (DPAc). For the database launch, he said:

“ABPI LINC will benefit clinical research in the long term. Industry-academic partnerships are vital to keep the UK at the forefront of cutting-edge research and this tool will allow our university researchers to fully explore and compete for the funding and collaborative projects on offer. ABPI LINC will undoubtedly foster these links and speed up drug discovery research.”

Professor Alan Thompson, Dean of the Faculty of Brain Sciences at UCL, co-chairs the joint committee overseeing an Eisai-UCL partnership. Commenting on the ABPI LINC database, he said:

“As co-chair of the research partnership around neurodegeneration between Eisai and UCL, I know first-hand how collaboration with scientists in the pharmaceutical industry can help in the fight to find effective treatments. ABPI LINC will help place the UK’s unrivalled scientific expertise at the forefront of that fight, whether that’s in university, hospital or pharma laboratories.”

Free access

The database already has some 370 projects so far – ranging from funding opportunities for promising Dementia research, to an offer of 62 compounds available to academic scientists conducting preclinical research free of charge, plus free access to databases of drug-like bioactive compounds. ABPI LINC will be routinely updated when companies offer new projects.

Search features

Users can view preclinical and clinical initiatives and search by compounds, funding, non-specific partnership, investigator-initiated studies, equipment and resources, collaboration facilitators and challenges – or a mix of these. The portal also allows people to search by company name to see what projects ABPI member companies offer.

​Dr Malcolm Skingle, CBE, Chair of the ABPI’s Academic Liaison Expert Network and Director of GSK’s Academic Liaison Worldwide Business Development, authored the foreword to the ABPI LINC booklet:

“Collaboration has never been more important for successfully delivering new therapies for patients. Innovation requires a vast range of skills, resources, and knowledge, which no single organisation can hold by themselves.

​”ABPI LINC makes this collaboration easier than ever and has the potential to make a real difference to the speed of innovation in the UK by linking together the world-beating expertise we have in our universities, in the NHS and in the pharmaceutical industry.”

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