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Mayo Clinic announced an ambitious transatlantic partnership this morning that ties together two of the world's elite health care providers.

Mayo Clinic, the University of Oxford and the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have signed an agreement aimed at improving medical research and patient care for patients across the globe.

Mayo's Stephen Cassivi, a Rochester-based doctor who has served as the medical director of the collaboration for the past year, says it's now time for both sides to "roll up their sleeves" as they work through the remaining logistics of the high-potential relationship.

"It's a really great opportunity for both of these world-renowned institutions to come together and join forces," Cassivi said. "Bringing Mayo Clinic and Oxford together is a really unique and singular … opportunity."

As part of the arrangement, Mayo and Oxford will share a physical space in London, where a new clinic is expected to open in early 2019 under a new, independent business subsidiary that's not yet been identified by name. Cassivi says a building has been acquired in London's downtown medical district that will be refurbished over the next year, though he declined to identify its exact location.

It's unclear how much will be invested financially in the new clinic, though Cassivi says a similar physical setup will not be pursued in the United States, now or in the future.

According to Mayo's press release, the new clinic "will provide leading-edge screening and diagnostics outside the United Kingdom's National Health Service (NHS). Additionally, surplus funds from the site will be used to "help advance clinical education and patient care, and to fund vital medical research."

The new clinic will be staffed by Mayo and Oxford personnel, with Cassivi continuing to lead it from Rochester. Employees will spend time embedded in each other's main campuses to be cross-trained in Mayo and Oxford's coordination of care prior to the clinic opening in about 18 months, Cassivi said.

Cassivi expects the Oxford partnership will advance all three phases of Mayo's so-called three shields of education, research and clinical care.

"This agreement represents a commitment to collaboration among recognized leaders in health care," said Mayo Clinic Vice President Gianrico Farrugia, M.D., CEO of Mayo's Jacksonville campus. "As culturally aligned organizations, Oxford University, Oxford University Hospitals and Mayo Clinic will work together to drive advances for patients in all areas of medicine."

Mayo has garnered international acclaim since it was founded in Rochester more than a century ago. Its main campus in Rochester, where it employs about 34,000, has been ranked No. 1 in the U.S. three of the last four years by U.S. News & World Report. Mayo's campuses in Florida and Arizona were ranked No. 1 in their respective states in the latest rankings released in August.

The Mayo system serves more than 1.3 million patients worldwide on an annual basis.

The University of Oxford is also an internationally-acclaimed facility. It sits atop the overall Times Higher Education World University Rankings, where it's been entrenched in first place internationally for medicine for the last six years. Its medical sciences division boasts 5,500 academics, researchers, physicians and administrative staff and more than 3,000 students.

Mayo's addition builds on the existing collaboration between Oxford and the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. The Trust is described as "a leading academic medical centre and one of the largest teaching trusts in the United Kingdom."

Sir John Bell, Regius Professor of Medicine at the University of Oxford, hailed the joining of "two global brands," while Dame Fiona Caldicott, chair of the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, is banking on long-term success.

"I am in no doubt that this high-powered collaboration will bring very positive benefit to hard-pressed NHS services in the medium and longer term," Caldicott said.

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