UK government hopes CRO cash will boost life sciences

Research and development in the UK will have a major boost thanks to the Medicines Discovery Catapult today launching 22 partnerships with UK-based contract research organisations (CROs).

Projects deemed best in class have become part of a virtual R&D discovery services platform that connects relevant bodies in the UK so drugs can be developed quickly – and subsequently reach patients as speedily as possible.

This is in line with the government’s Innovate UK programme, which falls under its future-focused Industrial Strategy.

Drug development requires many different skills and complex, costly industrial processes. Bringing these together means drug discovery can be fully outsourced. It also allows smaller biotechs to access high quality scientific expertise and technology.

Dr Peter Simpson

Dr Peter Simpson, chief scientific officer, Medicines Discovery Catapult, said: “Our aim is to support SMEs and academia to deliver their own discovery projects through convenient access to excellent assays and specialist drug discovery services.

“UK-based CROs can meet a wide range of needs for drug discovery innovators, and we are delighted to work in partnership with them to provide advice and project management to help ensure these relationships are successful.”

Medicines Discovery Catapult allows its partners to access virtual R&D capabilities, ranging from a full project review to assessing data, and advice on development plans.

Among the 22 new partnerships are Apex Molecular, which provides specialist chemistry services to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and applied chemistry sectors.

This firm has specific expertise in the use of precious metal catalysis and catalytic coupling chemistry using generic or proprietary homogeneous and supported catalysts.

Physiomics, another partner, is a leading oncology consultancy that uses its state of the art Virtual Tumour technology and other tools to predict and better understand the effects of cancer treatments.

The firm works with partners developing cancer drugs to help them save time and money – and achieve better outcomes during pre-clinical and clinical development.

The CROs will have access to new customers through deeper market penetration, which will help them to compete more effectively on an international basis.












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