University joins unique UK research collaboration as MAHSC and Roche join forces

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11 Mar 2014

Greater Manchester is set to host a new collaboration between researchers, doctors and industry which could give local people greater access to both clinical trials and new medicines.

Researchers and clinicians from Manchester Academic Health Science Centre (MAHSC), a partnership involving The University of Manchester and six NHS Trusts, have launched a major partnership with leading global pharmaceutical company Roche. The new relationship will boost clinical research studies, which could lead to the development of new drugs and diagnostic tools and give patients in the region greater access to new treatments in development.
The alliance also includes colleagues from the Greater Manchester Academic Health Science Network (GM AHSN), which is focused on ensuring new medicines, diagnostic tools and health technology become widely available more quickly, and the NIHR Greater Manchester Comprehensive Local Research Network (CLRN), which supports researchers and companies to identify and recruit patients into clinical studies quickly and efficiently.
The aims of the new partnership, the first between Roche and an AHSC, include:
• Seeking opportunities for development of biomarker  research within MAHSC’s six domains (cancer, cardiovascular, human development, inflammation & repair, mental health and, population health);
• Supporting the training of the next generation of MAHSC researchers and clinicians in clinical and translational medicine;
• Improving access to new medicines available and encouraging wider participation of patients in clinical trials.
Closer clinical links between MAHSC and Roche will enable the partners to explore opportunities for combination therapies and increase understanding of the potential benefits of high impact medicines, technologies, devices, and diagnostics in the healthcare system.  Investigators leading clinical trials across MAHSC will gain early access to new drugs, and MAHSC research studies may, in turn, identify new uses for existing Roche products. 
The collaboration will enable patients to have faster and greater access to new medicines, and give the medical community more hands on research experience plus closer links to the latest research studies. 
Christopher Burdette, Head of Project Strategy and Portfolio Management at Roche Products Limited, said: “To improve patient care it’s essential to increase our understanding of the role of innovative molecules in the real world, and how new medicines might impact patient pathways and the wider healthcare system. 
“Roche recognises the strong research community in Manchester and scientific potential of the UK – that’s why we’re excited to establish this collaborative relationship.”
Dr Linda Magee, Business Development Director at MAHSC, said: "This exciting new collaboration with Roche encapsulates the significant benefits an Academic Health Science Centre can offer industry.  Access to the skills of our leading clinicians and researchers, and a population of 3.6 million, in partnership with the GM AHSN and CLRN, will provide Roche with the opportunity to develop and test new diagnostic tools and drugs in a streamlined and effective way.
"The benefits for MAHSC are also considerable. Working with a major global player like Roche gives our teams access to innovative new therapies for our patients and supports the development of the next generation of translational medicine experts and clinical investigators.”
Raj Jain, Managing Director of GM AHSN, said: "The AHSN is a collaborative network of local NHS organisations, higher education institutes and industry. We are a membership organisation bringing together 30 NHS providers and commissioners and 4 universities including the MAHSC partners and working alongside the NIHR research network.  As a system integrator, we are an organisation that links different parts of the health and social care ecosystem and this partnership with Roche will help us jointly to improve health outcomes and spread innovation at scale and pace."
Professor Martin Gibson, from the University of Manchester's Institute of Population Health and Director of NIHR GM CLRN, added: “Roche recognising Greater Manchester as the destination to establish this partnership can only benefit the people in our region as they will get quicker access to new medicines as they are being developed.
It is testament to the performance of our local research teams and the generosity of our patients in volunteering to take part in clinical research that has led to our excellent reputation with industry.

Notes for editors

Roche and the members of MAHSC have a mutual interest in partnership working to bring mutual benefits to the conduct and organisation of clinical research.

For further information/interviews please contact:
MAHSC/AHSN/CLRN – Emma Smith, 0161 701 2679/0782 514 2219
Roche Products Limited – Alexis Bicknell, 01707 367870/07747 742952
MAHSC (the Manchester Academic Health Science Centre) is a partnership between the University of Manchester and six NHS organisations. Our NHS partners are some of the most highly rated NHS Trusts in the country, and the University of Manchester is one of the top 3 UK research universities (RAE 2008). 
Through partnership with the Greater Manchester Academic Health Science Network, MAHSC acts as a beacon within the local health system, providing clinical leadership and helping health care organisations reap the benefits of research and innovation to drive improvements in care. 
The MAHSC partners are:
• The University of Manchester
• Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
• Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust
• Salford Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) as lead representative for Greater Manchester CCGs 
• Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust
• The Christie NHS Foundation Trust
• University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust
About Roche 
Roche is the world’s largest biotech company with truly differentiated medicines in oncology, virology, inflammation, metabolism and CNS. Roche is also the world leader in in-vitro diagnostics, tissue-based cancer diagnostics and a pioneer in diabetes management. Roche’s personalised healthcare strategy aims at providing medicines and diagnostic tools that enable tangible improvements in the health, quality of life and survival of patients. Roche in the UK employs nearly 2,000 people in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. For more information:
Greater Manchester Academic Health Science Network (GM AHSN) is a collaborative network of local NHS organisations, higher education institutes and industry.  The goal of AHSNs is to improve patient and population health outcomes by translating research into practice and developing and implementing integrated health care systems.
National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Greater Manchester Comprehensive Local Research Network is part of the NHS’ clinical research delivery arm: the National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Network.  It provides support in order to improve the quality, speed and co-ordination of clinical research across Greater Manchester.

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