The Wistar Institute Announces GSK Visiting Professor to Promote Academic-Industry Research Collaboration, Accelerate Drug Discovery

Published: Wednesday, Dec 21, 2016

The Wistar Institute, an international biomedical research leader in cancer, immunology and infectious diseases, welcomes Kenneth W. Hance, Ph.D., M.P.H., Director of Antibody Therapies, Immuno-Oncology & Combinations DPU at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), as its first Visiting Professor from GSK at Wistar. The Visiting Professor Program, which GSK has operated successfully in the United Kingdom for years, provides a unique opportunity for industry scientists to explore the world of academic discoveries and share knowledge to accelerate therapeutic breakthroughs. The Wistar Institute is the first organization in the United States with whom GSK has chosen to collaborate for its program.

Beginning this month, Hance will integrate into Wistar’s academic research community and spend the next year working in-house with Wistar’s scientists and the Business Development team on a regular basis. Having industry scientific leaders working in tandem with academic investigators promotes a real-time exchange and a chance to identify areas of research synergy.

“The GSK Visiting Professor Program offers a priceless opportunity to not only exchange fundamental knowledge about successful drug discovery, but also break down traditional barriers between academic and industry science,” said Heather A. Steinman, Ph.D., M.B.A., vice president for Business Development and executive director of Technology Transfer at Wistar. “Through this partnership, we hope to continue our efforts to foster a collaborative, creative, scientific environment that accelerates the preclinical discovery and development process leading to impactful new drug therapies.”

“We are excited about this opportunity for Dr. Hance to contribute directly in partnership with our Wistar colleagues,” said James Smothers, Ph.D., senior director, head of Discovery, Immuno-Oncology & Combinations DPU, GSK. “We are likewise looking forward to more dynamic and timely dialogue with them to encourage industry partnership and identify novel opportunities for experimental medicines discovery.”

The Visiting Professor Program is an extension of Wistar’s growing relationship with GSK. In 2015, GSK was an early joiner of Wistar’s Philadelphia Drug Discovery Forum (PDDF), the region’s only academia-industry seminar series dedicated exclusively to scientific programs engaged in drug discovery research. The following year, Wistar and GSK jointly launched the Drug Discovery Chat, another opportunity for GSK scientists to provide meaningful industry advice on drug discovery and pharmaceutical development to academic researchers in an intimate setting.

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