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MSD scientists get set to tackle diseases of ageing at the Francis Crick Institute

London: Tuesday 18th December 2018: One year on from the announcement to establish a new discovery science centre in London, creating up to 150 new science roles, MSD, a leading global biopharmaceutical company, has announced today that a new team of 15 discovery chemists and pharmacologists will be based at the Francis Crick Institute for the next five years researching diseases which affect our ageing populations, including conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease. The medicinal chemists and pharmacologists working on the discovery projects in the institute will add further capabilities to the MSD neuroscience cell biology team already established at the London Bioscience Innovation Centre. Eventually both teams of scientists will be based in MSD’s new state-of-the-art Discovery Centre in London.


The Crick will welcome the first of MSD’s scientists to be based there early next year and the close working proximity of the two organisations will further develop the fertile and progressive life sciences environment flourishing in the capital, providing new innovation opportunities to develop novel understandings of diseases which continue to prove difficult to manage in our growing elderly population. An example of this is dementia, which in 2015 affected over 850,000 people in the UK and cost our economy £23.6 billion1, yet there are currently no treatments which prevent or delay the disease.


Whilst MSD’s research will be separate to that of the Crick’s, the co-localisation of basic research together with drug discovery will benefit both MSD and Crick scientists. MSD plan to establish translational research collaborations with Crick scientists. Under discussion is the possibility of enabling junior institute researchers to spend time both within the Crick laboratories as well as working with MSD. In addition discoveries made by Crick scientists may lead to innovative medicines of the future.


Richard Treisman, Director of Research at the Crick, said: “We look forward to welcoming our new MSD colleagues to the Crick. Their specialist expertise in both fundamental research and drug discovery science, coupled with their industry perspective, will open new horizons for Crick scientists and vice versa.”


Fiona Marshall, Vice President and Head of Discovery Science at MSD UK said: “This is an exciting opportunity for our team who will  be based in the Francis Crick Institute. We are at one of the most challenging yet exciting times in which innovative science and R&D may one day delay or even halt the onset of neurodegenerative diseases. The Crick is a world leading centre for discovery science in the UK and the co-location places us in excellent proximity to initiate broad ranging research interactions with Crick scientists in basic biology of mutual interest through to translational research to help us continue to build on our proud legacy of invention.” 


MSD is evaluating locations in London for the site of their new state-of-the-art Discovery Centre and UK headquarters and hope to be able to provide an update on this soon. 



1.     Defeat Dementia – The Evidence and a Vision for Action, Alzheimer’s Research, 2015

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Last Updated: 19-Dec-2018