The Medicines Discovery Catapult is embarking on an exciting journey as the first of its kind in the UK. When it takes up residency at Alderley Park over the next few months, the centre of national expertise will start supporting industry to develop new approaches for the discovery and development of new medicines. What’s vital is that we use this expertise to pinpoint how we can improve the number of drugs that make it to market for the benefit of patients, saving the industry billions of pounds, says Chairman, Professor Graham Boulnois, life sciences expert and businessman.
Today it can take anything up to 15 years to develop a new medicine, an extremely expensive process for all those involved which can cost the industry around £1.2 billion. A fact I am still amazed by. Even then, the chance that these medicines make it to the market is remarkably low. Most fail because of safety and efficacy problems.
This is where we hope to make a difference. By building a centre of national expertise, we will bring together the brightest minds in the life-science field to use new science, big data and technology to really pinpoint the best way to discover medicines.
I’m delighted that over the last few weeks, we have started to build a team of fantastic experts from the business, pharma and health worlds, all of whom are passionate about what the Medicines Discovery Catapult is setting out to achieve – improving success rates and efficiency in drug development, ultimately enabling the life-science industry to deliver better medicines to patients in a more cost effective way. Their combined skills give us unrivalled expertise across a portfolio which includes small molecules, biologicals, cell and gene therapy, and platform technologies.
Starting our journey with state-of-the-art capabilities
Our journey will start with a state-of-the-art-facility at Alderley Park. I think it seems fitting that we are coming together here as we celebrate Manchester as European City of Science this year. Alderley Park has a long history of innovation in medicines discovery and working alongside and having access to such a vast range of scientific, medical and technological experts will be inspiring.
I am looking forward to moving into our new facility over the coming months and welcoming the team on board. We are planning to have comprehensive facilities which I hope will be attractive to academia, start-ups, the pharmaceutical industry and Contract Research Organisations as a place to work collaboratively with The Catapult, and also benefit from the support of working within a network of expertise.
A ripple of excitement
Over the last month, I have really enjoyed meeting with colleagues at Alderley Park and beyond, and talking to them about what is to come. I can definitely feel a ripple of excitement as we start to put our plans into place and talk about our objectives and aspirations. We have the opportunity to make The Catapult a world-leading hub for transformational approaches to drug discovery – and that is something is special.