College of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine

University of Edinburgh researchers win prestigious Royal Society of Chemistry Award

A team of researchers from GSK and the University of Edinburgh are the Royal Society of Chemistry Teamwork in Innovation Award winners for 2016.

The award was given for the outstanding collaboration between industry and academia to discover medicines for treatment of acute pancreatitis. 

An award winning example of teamwork

The University of Edinburgh team with their award

The Teamwork in Innovation Award recognises outstanding examples of teamwork in promoting innovation through industry–academia partnerships. The prize is awarded annually and the winners are chosen by an independent selection panel. Nominations are via a supporting statement and open to UK and internationally based scientists.  

Drug Discovery partnership

The award is in recognition of the innovative science completed by GlaxoSmithKline and University of Edinburgh scientists. Since 2011 the teams have been working together in a truly collaborative industry-academia drug discovery partnership to discover medicines to treat acute pancreatitis. 

Clinical observations

The collaboration stems from initial clinical observations made by Damian Mole which suggested that the tryptophan pathway is increased in patients with severe acute pancreatitis compared to those whose disease resolves.  

We are absolutely delighted to get this award. It’s fantastic recognition for all the years of hard work that we are putting in. Personally, what I am most pleased about is that we won in the Teamwork and Innovation category – it is those joined up concepts - Teamwork and Innovation - that are at the absolute heart of how we work every day

Damian MoleSenior Clinical Lecturer and Honorary Consultant Surgeon

Combining knowledge and expertise

Both parties operate as a single integrated team. The Edinburgh group bring a deep understanding of the disease biology, pathway biochemistry and structural biology of the target. This is combined with the assay development, pharmacology, synthetic, computational and medicinal chemistry from GSK to form a single integrated effort. 

I’m delighted that the GSK and Edinburgh team have received this prestigious award from the Royal Society of Chemistry. This is great external recognition of the world class science we have completed in partnership with Edinburgh towards developing a medicine for acute pancreatitis. 

John LiddleDiscovery Partnerships Leader - GlaxoSmithKline

London awards ceremony

The University of Edinburgh team collect their award

Chris Mowat (School of Chemistry) Scott Webster (University of Edinburgh/BHF Centre for Cardiovascular Science) and Damian Mole (MRC Centre for Inflammation Research/Clinical Surgery) collected the award on behalf of the wider team. They attended the awards ceremony in London on 15th June which was hosted by television personality, Hugh Dennis.

Collaboration across Colleges

The award winning team represent collaborative work not just across this College but also extending to the College of Science and Engineering. The full award winning team comprise Damian Mole and Christos Skouras (MRC Centre for Inflammation Research/Clinical Surgery), Scott Webster and Margaret Binnie (University of Edinburgh/BHF Centre for Cardiovascular Science) Xiaozhong Zheng (CIR), Natalie Homer and Andrew McBride (CVS), Kris Wilson (CVS/CIR) and Chris Mowat of the School of Chemistry. The team would also like to acknowledge the support and input of John Iredale and Diane Harbison.

An illustrious list

The award winners, who all work for companies in the chemistry-using industry are selected for their contribution to innovation and commercial success, as well as their impact in the industry, in the early stages of their career.

An illustrious list of 47 previous winners of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Awards have gone on to win Nobel Prizes for their pioneering work, including Harry Kroto, Fred Sanger and Linus Pauling.

We are proud to celebrate and support the work of inspiring and influential individuals, whose work has the potential to improve so many lives.

Dr Robert ParkerChief Executive of the Royal Society of Chemistry

Industry and Technology Awards

The Industry and Technology Awards recognise talented teams and individuals across the chemistry-using industry. Established 10 years ago, the awards are given in recognition of outstanding achievements in entrepreneurship, innovation, outreach, applied science and technical skills.

These awards are part of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s main Prizes and Awards portfolio, which comprises over 80 Prizes and Awards covering all areas of the chemical sciences.

Related links

Read ‘Therapy targets cause of organ failure’

Visit the MRC Centre for Inflammation Research website

Visit the University/BHF Centre for Cardiovascular Science website

Visit the School of Chemistry website

Find out more about the study in the journal, Nature Magazine

View the other winners on the Royal Society of Chemistry website