WADA signs historic agreement with GlaxoSmithKline

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has signed a long-term agreement with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) that will help the agency create early detection methods for medicines that have performance-enhancing potential in sport.

The historic partnership, which was officially ratified in London on June 21, will see GSK supply WADA with confidential information about medicines in early stage development that could be abused by athletes once they are licensed for appropriate patient use.

It covers all new medicines being developed by GSK and builds on the company’s role as the Official Laboratory Services provider for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

All medicines are researched and produced to deliver health benefits for patients, and GSK’s research efforts are targeted specifically at conditions where the patient need for new medicines is greatest. However, there is always the potential for the illegitimate use of medicines by a minority of athletes seeking advantage in sport.

Under the new agreement, medicines in development will be reviewed by GSK scientists specifically to identify substances with a probable or high risk of abuse in sport.

These scientists will look for any similarity to the pharmacological characteristics of existing performance-enhancing substances and assess how they work in the human body. This would include stimulatory effects or improved physical endurance.

Any new medicines found to have performance-enhancing characteristics will be highlighted to WADA and confidential scientific data relating to them will be transferred by GSK so they can begin work on detection methods.

John Fahey, WADA President, said: “Our work with the pharmaceutical industry is critical to staying one step ahead of the dopers, who have an ever increasing level of scientific expertise. We are delighted to be entering into this partnership with GSK as it will play a significant role in helping WADA achieve its mission of a doping free sporting culture.”

Patrick Vallance, SVP Medicines Discovery and Development at GSK said: “The safe and effective use of our medicines, in appropriate patients, is our top priority.  Unfortunately there is always potential for illegitimate use by athletes.  We hope that our contribution of laboratory services to the London 2012 Games and this longer term partnership with WADA will demonstrate the positive role that science can play within sport and contribute to protecting the health of athletes involved.”

Seb Coe, Chair of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, said: “Today’s announcement between GSK and WADA demonstrates that the passion and enthusiasm to deliver a clean Games for London 2012 has grown into a genuine legacy for sport and athletes. We now see a large global organization creating a new way of working through a dedicated partnership that will live on beyond London 2012.”

About the Partnership

GSK has worked with WADA to establish a formal scientific review process within its Research and Development teams to help identify as early as possible drugs with potential for sports-related abuse. This includes regular reviews at key research milestones. 

Efforts to formalize sensitive information sharing with WADA have been underway across the pharmaceutical industry since the IFPMA (International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations) signed a joint declaration with WADA in July 2010. 

The agreement, ‘Cooperation in the Fight against Doping in Sport’, facilitates cooperation between the pharmaceutical industry and WADA.