Neglected Tropical Diseases

In 2010 we recognised an urgent need to adopt a more flexible approach to researching and developing new medicines and vaccines to fight neglected tropical diseases.

To this end, we opened up our Tres Cantos research campus near Madrid in Spain to external researchers, to allow for better collaboration with universities, not-for-profit partnerships and other research institutions.The result, the Open Lab, is a unique drug discovery initiative founded on the principles of open innovation and collaboration.

Research areas

Research at Tres Cantos is organised around three areas: malaria, tuberculosis and kinetoplastid diseases, the last of which includes African sleeping sickness, Chagas disease and leishmaniasis.

We work closely in public-private partnerships with groups including the Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development, Drugs for Neglected Tropical Diseases Initiative (DNDi), and Wellcome Trust.

What we offer

The Open Lab offers researchers access to our state-of-the-art research laboratories, and to resources such as our library of over two million compounds.

Our research partners also benefit from our expertise, helping them to advance their research ideas. Every visiting scientist works with a GSK mentor and has an induction programme to ensure their time at the Open Lab results in a productive and valuable experience. Our mentors provide general guidance to each visiting scientist and advise on day-today activities in the laboratory.

How we are funded

To support the visiting scientists and their research projects, we set-up a not-for-profit group, the Tres Cantos Open Lab Foundation, with an initial investment of £5 million which we doubled to £10 million in 2012. The Foundation received an additional £1 million from the European Commission in 2013.

Scientists from world-class institutions are already working at Open Lab, and more projects are being approved. We anticipate having about ten projects at the Open Lab at any given time, the majority of which will be funded by the Tres Cantos Open Lab Foundation.

Intellectual property

A key requirement of projects funded by the Foundation is that the collaborating institution agrees to the principles of WIPO Re:Search - that is, to make any IP available to others doing research in this area. WIPO Re:Search provides a searchable, public database of available intellectual property assets and resources around neglected tropical diseases, tuberculosis, and malaria.

Submit a proposal

The Foundation invites applicants to submit proposals for collaborative research at the Open Lab and draws on leading experts to evaluate project proposals. The panel looks for innovative proposals with a strong scientific grounding that will also make a good strategic fit and will benefit from the expertise and facilities at Tres Cantos.

Before submitting a proposal, scientists interested in working at the Open Lab can contact us to discuss research possibilities.