One of San Diego’s top research facilities has partnered with pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline to form a new center focused on neuroscience in La Jolla.

The local research group, Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, will work with GSK scientists toward a common goal of finding new therapies, including insights into such difficult diseases as Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia.

The new La Jolla center will be called the SBP-GSK Center for Translational Neuroscience, and it will be located on SBP’s campus in La Jolla. Under a three year agreement, GSK said it will pay for a lab of six to eight SBP scientists and staffers who will work side by side with GSK neuroscientists. The company declined to the details of its funding.

“This collaboration provides a unique opportunity for scientists to be fully funded to pursue pioneering research in neuroscience with the goal of bringing validated targets that could lead to therapies in an area of great patient need,” said SBP CEO Perry Nisen in a statement.

What does GSK get out of the collaboration? The pharma giant is interested in strengthening collaborations with outside researchers, according to Min Li, a senior vice president for GSK’s Neurosciences Therapy Area Unit. GSK recognizes that the company alone can’t make the discoveries it needs, Li said. Neuroscience is one of GSK’s 12 therapeutic areas of interest.

The pharma giant has other ties to San Diego’s research hub.

Last year, GSK opened an R&D satellite in La Jolla focused on creating and developing collaborative relationships in the San Diego region and elsewhere on the West Coast, with the goal of finding and funding research that will lead to new drugs.

And in 2013, GSK partnered with La Jolla-based Avalon Ventures to jointly develop and fund up to 10 companies in San Diego, committing $495 million in funding. That partnership was recently extended when GSK announced there was no limit to how many companies the two firms would jointly invest in.