The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have signed an agreement with the University of Liverpool in Britain to collaborate on research on infectious and parasitic diseases.  The partnership is the CDC’s first with a foreign university and is to include efforts to commercialize their discoveries.

The collaboration grew out of a visit by Thomas O’Toole, deputy director of the CDC’s technology transfer office, to Britain in 2002 to take part in BioPartnering Europe, an annual bioscience conference.  While there, he met with representatives of British bioscience centers, including the University of Liverpool, in meetings set up by the Atlanta-based Invest UK office, the inward investment arm of the British government.

Through the partnership, the University of Liverpool is to have access to CDC technology and its global research network. Conversely, the CDC will be able to better commercialize its research through Liverpool’s Merseyside Biotechnology Incubator Organization, which is partially funded by the European Union, Mr. O’Toole told GlobalFax.

            “The agreement will allow us to get CDC science to market as quickly as possible, which has been difficult in the past,” he said.  “The Merseyside Incubator provides an infrastructure to take science from the bench into the product phase.”

            The two organizations are to work together specifically on research into vaccines and drugs to prevent the spread of such infectious diseases as HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, rotavirus, West Nile virus, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome and influenza.

            Mr. O’Toole added that the goal of both the CDC and Liverpool’s School of Tropical Medicine – improving public health in developing countries – also makes the partnership a natural fit.

            CDC representatives traveled to Liverpool earlier this month for an official ceremony marking the collaboration.  The agreement was signed on Florence Nightingale‘s desk in Liverpool’s Royal Infirmary.  Ms. Nightingale, a nurse and campaigner for health reform in 19th century England, was influential in designing the buildings of the Royal Infirmary to prevent the spread of infectious disease.

            Contact Glen Whitley with the Invest UK office in Atlanta at (404) 954-7700.