Chris Molloy responds to Industrial Strategy Commission’s final report

The Medicines Discovery Catapult welcomes the release of today’s report from the Industrial Strategy Commission. The recommendations have specific long-term benefits for the UK community of biotechs and entrepreneurs seeking to find and prove new therapies for patients.

Firstly, the report recognises the importance of access to long-term investment that supports the best medicines through the lengthy path to development.  Lasting support also avoids companies having to ‘sell out’ their assets early and at discounts to their realisable value.

Secondly, the authors reflect on the importance of linking basic and applied research. This linkage is critical and often the weakest one in the UK. Academic endeavour must be coupled with more than money. It needs access to industrial rigour, expertise and process if the assets are to be of the highest possible value.

Thirdly, the importance of place. It is vital that the nation’s expertise is harnessed and put to good use in support of a disparate community of industrial innovators across the country. In this way they can benefit from the wisdom of experience and greatly improve their productivity.

Fourthly, the importance of people. The urgent need to grow the next generation of biotech leaders is recognised by the sector – and its funders – as essential. Unless we identify, nurture and mentor a new cohort of investable leaders the long-term health and wealth of the industry will be at risk.

The Medicines Discovery Catapult is the national facility for the UK’s community of drug, diagnostic and biomarker innovators. It brings together rare expertise and assets in its facility in Alderley Park, near Manchester – a devolved and research focussed healthcare region. Harnessing the UK’s national industrial skills in the science, informatics and process of discovery and early clinical proof-of-concept, it helps innovators and SMEs translate their ideas into new high value products and services. By working in and with the Catapult the next generation of biotech leaders will gain experience and a vital network that will nurture it.

The Medicines Discovery Catapult is also innovating through the creation of new ‘Discovery Syndicates’ that allow medical research charities to play a full, ongoing role in developing therapies for their patient groups, and act as a structure by which they may attract new sources of available (long-term) finance.

Innovate UK’s support of the Medicines Discovery Catapult is a national investment in support of a high-value industry. The report extends this narrative and provides additional suggestions for long-term capital, best use of place and of people. We will work with our stakeholders and investors to turn these very relevant recommendations into the impacts that the report rightly requires the UK to measure.

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