Frequently asked questions
What is the Tres Cantos Open Lab Foundation?
It is an independent, not-for-profit foundation established by GlaxoSmithKine in 2010. Overseen by a governing board, the Foundation provides funding and support to visiting researchers to run research projects at the Open Lab at GSK’s facility, near Madrid in Spain.Researchers supported by the Foundation are encouraged to disseminate their work and results to ensure their discoveries are also available to other researchers.
What is the Open Lab?
The Open Lab is located within Tres Cantos and provides the opportunity for independent researchers to access GSK facilities, resources and expertise to help them advance their own research into diseases of the developing world. The Open Lab provides an opportunity for visiting scientists from leading international institutions to work at the campus for a dedicated period of time, accessing GSK drug discovery expertise as part of an integrated team to discover new medicines for diseases of the developing world. Proposals can be submitted at any time on the website.
What progress has the Tres Cantos Open Lab Foundation achieved so far?
More than 250 applications have been received for Open Lab projects. Up to 75 projects implemented
How can scientists apply for funding for an Open Lab project?
Proposals can be submitted at any time via the Foundation’s website (www.openlabfoundation.org) and are reviewed by the Foundation’s Governing Board and Trustees. We’re very keen for anyone interested to contact us to discuss ideas before submitting anything by using the Fundation’s email.
Describe a typical Open Lab project
Projects are designed to explore new ideas that may lead to finding new medicines for diseases of the developing world. Projects are focused on early stage drug discovery and could involve research into new targets, tools, screening, lead identification and optimisation.
What is the timeframe for these projects?
They vary but usually last between 6 to 24 months.
What will become of data generated from the Open Lab?
Results generated will be made public through publications, presentations and/or databases.
How IP is managed within the Open Lab?
A key requirement of projects funded by the Foundation is that the collaborating institution agrees to the principles of WIPO Re:Search, which make resulting IP freely available for the development of new medicines for neglected diseases that can be delivered to the least developed countries.
What is open access? How does it work?
Scientists funded by the Foundation have full access to the resources and facilities at Tres Cantos and work alongside the scientists at the campus to advance their research. This capability is not available in academia and aims to create an innovation hub for diseases of the developing world that will draw in academic investigators and build on the extensive funding of basic exploratory science in this area.
The combination of facilities and expertise enables the campus to take care of all scientific needs of drug discovery and development from screening campaigns to clinical Proof of Concept studies.
What is the role of a mentor?
During their time at the Open Lab, visiting scientists work with GlaxoSmithKline researchers as part of an integrated team with clear objectives and milestones. From day one, visiting scientists are each matched with a mentor whose experience will benefit their research project. Working closely together helps to guide the research while the industry know-how and specific expertise of the mentor and wider team helps ensure its successful completion.
What role does the governing board play in selecting new proposals?
As the Tres Cantos Open Lab Foundation was established as a not-for-profit organisation, it operates independently of GSK through its Governing Board and Trustees.
The Governing Board is comprised of world-leading experts in the field of research into diseases of the developing world to advise and guide the Foundation in meeting its objectives. The Board also ensures that projects selected are of a consistently high standard and equally address the three diseases areas. The Board includes the Trustees of the Foundation led by Professor Peter Piot , Director, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine who make the ultimate decisions in approving projects and releasing funds.
Who are the Open Lab’s partners?
GSK’s specialist research centre at Tres Cantos has a long-standing relationship with public-private partnerships which focus on global health priorities such as malaria, TB and kinetoplastids. Scientists at Tres Cantos work closely with these partnerships, with groups including the Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) and the Global Alliance for TB drug Development (GATB Alliance) to further its research in developing new medicines.
How can new partners become involved?
The Tres Cantos Open Lab Foundation welcomes contact from anyone interested in joint efforts to tackle the diseases of the developing world.
The Tres Cantos Open Lab Foundation values the role that partnerships play in bringing about the fundamental research needed to achieve these ambitious goals. When forming research partnerships, the Foundation looks for organisations which share its principles.
There are currently too few options available to fight these diseases, either because medicines do not exist, are too expensive or because the infectious organisms are becoming increasingly resistant to treatments. The old ways have not worked and the problems need a bold new approach.