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Innovative partnerships recognised

13 Mai 2008

A company working in partnership with the University to develop a new drug for shingles has been recognised at the Cardiff University Innovation Awards.

The 2008 Innovation Prize was awarded to the Welsh School of Pharmacy and American-based pharmaceutical company Inhibitex Inc for their work in developing and trialling a new treatment for the debilitating condition.

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The partnership furthered the development of a drug discovered by Professor Chris McGuigan of the School, in collaboration with Dr Jan Balzarini of the Rega Institute, Belgium. In initial trials, the drug has demonstrated superior selectivity and a 10,000 times greater potency against the shingles virus than existing drugs.

Professor McGuigan, lead academic in the collaboration said: "Shingles is an extremely painful condition which affects around one in five people in their lifetime. The partnership with Inhibitex Inc has enabled trials of this drug to move from the laboratory to the human clinical stage, and brought about a product which could reduce suffering by hundreds of thousands of people every year.

"We are delighted at the recognition afforded by this award of the hard work by many people, in Cardiff, Belgium, and at Inhibitex"

Other significant benefits from the partnership include funding for research in the Welsh School of Pharmacy, together with increased academic knowledge of drug development which has been incorporated into teaching modules. For the business there is the potential to make a huge impact on a market which has estimated possible revenue of some $500m.

The Cardiff University Innovation Awards celebrate the close links and successful collaborations forged between the University and business.

This year’s awards were sponsored by BioFusion and Geldards. Along with the Innovation Prize two other awards were given: The Award for Longer-Term Collaboration and The Award for Early-Stage Collaboration.

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