GlaxoSmithKline has launched a major new project to investigate gastrointestinal diseases alongside Ireland’s Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre, with an investment of 13.7 million euros from the country’s IDA Ireland and Science Foundation Ireland.

Michael Martin, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, made the announcement and said that the project represents a major breakthrough in the country’s promotion of its drug discovery research. In addition, he added, it demonstrates that Ireland can win strategic and significant R&D projects against “world class international competition.”

The aim is to find new treatments for inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome.

GSK currently employs over 1,600 people across four sites in Cork, Waterford and Dublin. Jackie Hunter, head of GSK’s neurology and gastrointestinal centre of excellence, revealed it has a “rich” pipeline of preclinical candidates and hopes to accelerate their development through the link up with APC. “This collaboration is a concrete example of how industry and academia can partner effectively,” she added.