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Report Outlines Vital Insights for Developing New Medicines

Jan 18 2018 Read 294 Times

The Medicines Discovery Catapult and the BioIndustry Association (BIA) are calling on the R&D community to address five themes identified in a new joint report that will help to boost productivity. Launched by Sir Mark Walport the report, State of the Discovery Nation 2018, drew information from the first sector survey of its kind focused on the SME community following the launch of the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy in November.
Based on surveys and over 100 in-depth interviews with senior executives of UK drug discovery companies, the report first points out that global R&D productivity is under unprecedented pressure; secondly that world leading opportunities therefore exist for the UK to reshape the discovery process to develop medicines greatly needed by patients. Highlights include:
.A key problem is reliance on using inadequate models for human diseases
.Commercialising emerging technology will require new models of collaboration
.Data science is now indispensable to medicines R&D: research data is now generated in such high volumes that the ability to harness it has become a critical factor in developing new medicines
. It is imperative for the UK to provide industry with straightforward, well-governed access to consented patient data and human tissue samples – this is an acute problem for SMEs

The report also found that the UK’s R&D community is highly fragmented in life sciences. Universities, teaching hospitals, medical charities, large pharmaceuticals and SMEs each possess some of the capabilities and expertise required for drug development. Consequently, collaboration is essential to develop new medicines successfully.
As part of this report the Medicines Discovery Catapult and the BioIndustry Association are calling on the community to address additional cross-cutting themes that require multi-stakeholder solutions:
1. Maximise the supply of investable intellectual property
2. Create more agile routes to enable small companies to work together easily, leading to clinical trials
3. Increase access to stratified human trials
4. Address the skills gap
5. Address the gap in follow-on funding

Chris Molloy, Chief Executive of the Medicines Discovery Catapult, said: “The UK has a strong heritage in medicines R&D and a high-profile strategy for our industry. However, in a globally competitive environment, we must now pull together nationally to support the innovators and build the best ecosystem for medicines discovery in the world. It’s our mission, along with our sister Catapult in Cell & Gene Therapy, to help make this happen, which is why we’ve harnessed the intelligence of the community in this report and have clear actions underway to catalyse positive change.”
Steve Bates OBE, Chief Executive Officer of the BIA, added: “Innovation drives medicines development and SMEs are at the heart of this, thanks to their agility and outlook. However, SMEs fit into a complicated landscape and need help to navigate it. Issues such as access to high quality Intellectual Property, support structures, stratified trials, funding and skills require a systemic approach and can’t be fixed by any one organisation working alone. That’s why we, along with the Medicines Discovery Catapult, are committed to working with others to create long-term solutions to these issues, which will drive productivity and further success in the important years ahead.”
For more information on the Medicines Discovery Catapult visit https://md.catapult.org.uk

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