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CEO Chris Molloy celebrates 100 days at the Medicines Discovery Catapult

It is 100 days since I started as CEO of the Medicines Discovery Catapult.  Every day since, engagement with the broad UK Medicines community has increased my certainty of being able to deliver unique help, enabling them to get better medicines to patients faster. By taking advantage of the expertise, know-how and capabilities we are creating, we will enable UK companies to release even greater energy and innovation for the good of the health and wealth of the nation.

The UK’s biotech sector has never been stronger. As the BIA report reflected last month, the number of companies in the UK has risen to more than 5,600 and UK listed life science companies are nearing a combined market capitalisation of £400 billion, up £40 billion since the end of 2015.

And, put alongside the UK’s growing CRO sector, new academic drug discovery units and a sophisticated investor community, the UK is well placed to enhance its position as a global leader in the development of new medicines.

Yet, as I said in my speech to biotech leaders and financiers at the annual Biotech and Money  event this week, seizing the opportunities will rely on us all adapting to rapid changes in global drug discovery, not least in the context of Brexit and wider economic, scientific, technological and social developments.

And part of that adaptation requires new collaborative forms of R&D that brings industry, medical research charities, academia and the services sector together to tackle system-wide problems no single partner can solve alone.

That’s how we can help – and I mean help. We are a national, non-profit, collaborative R&D facility focussed on the industrial sector that takes validated drug targets and carries safe candidates to successful proof in patients. We are non-competitive and selectively target the blockages that hold the industry’s efforts back. Removing these scientific, process and technology challenges enables the community to do more, and be more effective for patients and themselves.

That’s why we very much welcome the Government’s published last month Industrial Strategy.  With well-focused, support, bringing new tools and resources to industry to move drug candidates through the pipeline more quickly and more efficiently so we can raise the raise the tide for medicines discovery in the UK.

Whether in medical charities, biotechnologies, informatics or proving new routes to faster clinical trial access, we can help the sector draw on expertise, new resources and infrastructure to help the community secure innovation that delivers commercial impact.

And by drawing in medical research charities with their unique insight of patient need, as well as access to rich new data sources, relationships and resources, so we can help shape new regulatory models and develop new candidate drugs that are better targeted to meet demand.

We are already working with companies, academic institutions, CROs and charities on a range of issues and projects and our door is wide open to those new community projects that will advance the discovery and development of new medicines.

This week, Innovate UK opened a funding call in health and life sciences. This call is a great opportunity for British biotech to gather together and test improved pre-clinical technologies. We can now lead applications these applications so the smaller SMEs don’t have to take on that burden, and spend more money on the science So, get in touch and, together, we can start making a real difference.

Roll on the next 100 days…

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Photo of Chris Molloy