McLaren partnership | Corporate partnerships | About us | GlaxoSmithKline

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McLaren partnership

GSK and the McLaren Group joined forces in September 2011 to create a long-term strategic collaboration to bring together the best of our approach to innovation.

The McLaren Group is recognised for their expertise in data analysis, modelling and simulation, engineering and design, and a strong team culture. While we are focused on discovering and developing innovative new medicines and products that address the health care needs of people around the world.

Through our unique partnership, we are identifying opportunities to align the high-tech approach applied by the McLaren Group – including their Formula 1 racing team - with our strengths in manufacturing, R&D and nutritional research.

Here are some areas where we are beginning to see the benefits of this collaboration:

Manufacturing to win

Each year our global manufacturing and supply business produces four billion packs of medicine and consumer healthcare products and 900 million doses of vaccines. We have been working with McLaren to identify where we can be more efficient in how we make these products.

Many processes in a factory have similar steps to a pit-stop in Formula 1:   the team working on the project needs to be coordinated, with a very clear goal and ensure every action is done appropriately with the right quality to get a good result. 

For example, working with McLaren engineers, we have taken a fresh approach to how we run ‘changeovers’ (setting up a production line to change from making one product to another) at some of our factories, allowing our teams to massively improve our efficiency.

Working together in R&D

Clinical development of new medicines is challenging and costly and we have a long-term strategy to think more innovatively about this process. We are always challenging ourselves to find better ways to bring medicines and products to the people who need or want them. By better understanding how patients use our medicines for example, we can help support clinicians who make decisions about treatments for their patients.

McLaren pioneered the data-gathering technology used today across Formula 1 by all racing teams, which helps in the analysis of an F1 car’s race performance. Over a race weekend, the McLaren team captures more than one billion data points from 500 sensors located on each car. The sensors record data on, for example, downforce, temperature and airflow, which all help to give an indication on how well the car is performing. These data are processed and transmitted back to engineers and strategists to enable in-race decision making.

We are also bringing in McLaren’s expertise in data capture and analysis to help us find better ways to capture, visualise and interpret our research information. We have a number of early-stage projects that illustrate the potential benefits of the partnership in areas such as data management in drug discovery and ‘biotelemetry’ in our clinical trials.

Biotelemetry - the remote and continuous assessment of physical and physiological characteristics - presents a huge opportunity in assessing and improving the effectiveness of medicines. 

Applying McLaren’s expertise in biotelemetry to clinical studies, we can collect continuous patient data in real time and in a real world setting, rather than data from a single test at a single point in time. This gives a much more robust, complete and meaningful set of measures, which may, for example, help determine stages of disease progression.

We are looking to develop broad applications of this technology to allow remote data capture in our clinical trials, to enable collection of more meaningful real-world data information. This could change the way we evaluate the efficacy of our medicines. Ultimately, that will benefit both patients and healthcare providers.