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The Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology works extensively with industry partners, building lasting collaborations to address complex biological and health challenges within rheumatology and inflammatory disease.

Ghana Alsaleh working in the lab

We bring to our collaborations a strong history of basic and clinical science within rheumatology and musculoskeletal disease research. More specifically, we can offer:

  • Clinical trial design and support  
  • Complex computational data analysis
  • Tissue analysis including multiomic analysis
  • Biomarker discovery and drug target validation
  • Access to datasets
  • Access to clinical trial cohorts

In addition, we are supported by a range of industry-funded studentships and fellowships. We recently published four interviews with staff and students involved with diverse industry projects, which you can read to find out more.

Our industry collaborators also have access to our cutting-edge technologies, including our advanced microscopy, mass cytometry, flow cytometry, and research computing facilities.

We welcome new short- and long-term industrial collaborations and encourage potential partners to reach out and discuss how we could work together.

Case Studies

Read the examples below to learn how we apply our expertise to address larger challenges in collaboration with industry.

CASE STUDY: Access to clinical trial cohorts: A-TAP

The Arthritis Therapy Acceleration Programme (A-TAP) brings together scientists, clinicians, industry, and patient partners into a hub of expertise and infrastructure with the aim to bring effective drugs to patients faster.

Development of novel treatments for immune-mediated inflammatory diseases (IMIDs) is often based on treating symptoms rather than cause. This can lead to clinical trials which deliver a drug to a cohort of patients without knowledge of the underlying pathology to benefit from it, leading to failure and elongated timelines from bench to bedside.

A-TAP facilitates Stratified Pathology: matching the right drug to the right indication early in drug discovery and performing experimental medicine trials in carefully selected patient populations. Strategic links between the Universities of Birmingham and Oxford brings access to over 7 million patients through seven NHS partners.

We seek collaborations with industry partners for proof of concept and proof of mechanism with supporting biomarker studies. While there is a focus on repurposing drugs and combination therapies, we also wish to use high-quality novel experimental drugs and probes to identify new targets and pathways. 

A-TAP is overseen by Professor Christopher Buckley, Director of Clinical Research at the Kennedy Institute. To discuss opportunities for collaboration, please do get in touch directly.

CASE STUDY: Access to clinical trial cohorts: Roche Fibroblast Network

As the role of fibroblasts in Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) pathogenesis has become clearer, there is a need to understand fibroblast heterogeneity and define common fibroblast traits. These traits could then be used as therapeutic targets and biomarkers to drive the development of new treatments.

To achieve this, the Kennedy Institute has joined a Roche-coordinated research network to better understand the role of fibroblasts in IBD and ultimately develop treatments that target its underlying causes. This network brings together an international group of academic partners from Oxford, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, and the Institute of Inflammation and Ageing Birmingham. The Kennedy Institute brings to the project an expertise on intestinal inflammation and access to patient cohorts. A manuscript from the consortium can be found at:  Cross-tissue, single-cell stromal atlas identifies shared pathological fibroblast phenotypes in four chronic inflammatory diseases - PubMed (


Osteoarthritis (OA) is a huge unmet need and is regarded as a highly heterogeneous disease existing in many forms, yet there is no molecular evidence to support these forms. A greater understanding of these molecular processes could be used to predict disease progression and long-term outcomes. This knowledge could be used to enrich recruitment to clinical trials, increasing their success and reducing costs to industry. Identifying subsets of patients with particular molecular drivers may also help identify specific treatments with improved effectiveness.

The STEpUP OA consortium, led by Professor Tonia Vincent, brings together academic, industry, and charity partners to address this challenge by studying protein signatures in the synovial fluid of 1800 patients taken from multiple early and late OA cohorts and using these to understand the heterogeneity of disease. The project uses unsupervised approaches to confirm whether multiple distinct molecular endotypes exist in disease or whether OA is “one disease” at the molecular level. The samples have all been processed, QC procedures defined and the discovery analysis performed. In the forthcoming weeks the replication analysis will be completed. Once completed we will also have the opportunity to explore key pathological pathways and how these are affected by clinical phenotype.  

Reach out to Professor Vincent to discuss STEpUP OA in more detail.

CASE STUDY: Oxford-Bristol Myers Squibb Fellowships

The Oxford-Bristol Myers Squibb Fellowship Programme facilitates skill and people transfer between Oxford and Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) to stimulate new scientific discovery and translational research. Professor Kim Midwood of the Kennedy Institute obtained funding as a Principal Investigator to partner with BMS through this scheme. Research in Professor Midwood’s lab examines how cellular interactions with the extracellular matrix contribute to progression of fibrotic disease, with the goal to better define disease pathogenesis and treatment response, and to develop new therapeutic strategies.

Learn more about the Oxford-BMS Fellowships