Health Minister Andy Kerr has given details of a £50m funding package for medical research work in Scotland.
Scotland has a strong record in medical research
The funding could lead to advances in technology, with new drugs being made available faster.
The bulk of the money for the project will come from the American pharmaceutical firm Wyeth, which will contribute £33m.
The funding from drugs firm will go to four universities - Glasgow, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Dundee.
There will also be a core research centre set up at the University of Dundee. It will concentrate on translational medicine, which focuses on drugs development.
The research laboratory will be a national resource and will be responsible for promoting innovative and novel scientific developments.
About 50 jobs will be created in Dundee initially, which could rise to 120 over five years.
The other £17m will be provided by Scottish Enterprise over five years. That money will be used to set up a new company, to be called TMRI.
It will act as a link between the universities involved, the drugs companies and the NHS in Scotland.
Frank Walsh, executive vice president of Wyeth Research, said: "We are delighted to be the major pharmaceutical partner in this relationship.
"Translational medicine is key to the successful development of the next generation of innovative medicines which will truly make a difference for patients the world over."
The health minister welcomed the announcement
Jack Perry, chief executive of Scottish Enterprise, said: "Scotland is in a strong position to be a centre for translational medicine as a result of its excellence in life sciences, culture of collaboration between the NHS and universities, and the fantastic support that the Scottish people have demonstrated for medical research.
"This links with ongoing programmes of investment in its clinical infrastructure and high-quality teaching hospitals.
"This collaboration will harness the expertise in Scotland and Wyeth and provide the country with significant first mover advantage in a field which is projected to revolutionise the drug industry."
Mr Kerr said: "Translational medicine research is particularly relevant to the NHS, bringing theoretical laboratory-based science closer to practical applications of direct benefit to our NHS patients.
"It is a great example of the public and private sectors working together for mutual benefit.
"I am delighted that Scotland has been able to develop this pioneering approach."
First Minister Jack McConnell made the announcement in New York where he is promoting Scotland's strengths in the life sciences sector.
He said: "This new partnership is an international first. It is great for Scotland and the Scottish economy and will bring health benefits not just for Scots, but for patients all over the world.
"This further strengthens our position as a natural home for excellence and innovation, and will do a huge amount to raise the global profile of the pioneering work being done in our universities."
While in New York, Mr McConnell will tell firms and academics of Scotland's international reputation in science and discovery.