GlaxoSmithKline is to set up a new centre to focus on the development of externally discovered drugs, which it claims will help it exploit the full potential of its research and development assets.

The UK drug giant says that the Centre of Excellence for External Drug Discovery will deliver compounds with proof of therapeutic concept through partnerships with biotechnology companies as well as small- and mid-sized pharmaceutical firms and academic institutions. GSK, which claims to always have been committed to accessing talent from outside the organisation, added that the CEEDD would enable it to leverage its front-end R&D capabilities. It explains that it is currently generating more targets and compounds than it has internal resource to develop, so some of these assets will now be developed by others. This will, the firm says, give its R&D capabilities additional opportunities for developing successful medicines, enabling assets that might otherwise have to wait for development to be moved forward. In addition, the CEEDD will provide avenues for GSK to learn about and incorporate alternative scientific and drug discovery approaches.

Maxine Gowen is named senior vice president of the new CEEDD. She joined GSK in 1992 to set up a new discovery research group for osteoporosis and, since that time, has taken on roles of increasing responsibility, most recently overseeing the development of the portfolio at SR One, GSK’s venture capital business.