University of Exeter partners with MDC to accelerate medicine R&D

Published: 13-Nov-2020

The partnership also produces a post-COVID blueprint for academic-Catapult collaboration to drive UK productivity

The University of Exeter and Medicines Discovery Catapult (MDC) have announced a strategic partnership to accelerate medicines R&D, creating value for the sector and enhancing translational skills.

In collaboration with the University of Exeter, MDC will “maximise the impact and value of basic medical research, to the ultimate benefit of patients”.

To discover medicines, research must be translated into drug candidates or technologies through an industrial process of refinement and structured experimentation. This combination of academic endeavour with industrial rigour is critical to produce assets that can be adopted by industry or funded by venture capital. Sharing skills and experience across these two disciplines is also key to how translation can be dramatically improved across UK institutions at this time of exceptional challenge.

Coupling the research at Exeter with MDC’s industry skills, discovery platforms, data technologies and access to its national networks ensures promising innovations are identified, independently validated and packaged so that industry and funders are able to adopt them, with clear benefits to the entire community.

This partnership is the realisation of a faster route for innovative research to reach the clinic

Activities of focus for the partners can be broadly categorised as follows: Identifying research that can be supported at its earliest stages, then developing identified innovation into independently validated propositions, allowing investors to join with confidence. The partnership also aims to identify and develop mechanisms to sustain the development of these medicines, through novel funding mechanisms and partnerships.

Prof Neil Gow FRS, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Impact) of the University of Exeter, said: “This exciting partnership offers much for both parties. It will enable our researchers to take their novel ideas beyond the stage where academic inspiration transitions into translational applications. For Medicines Discovery Catapult, we hope this will deepen the well of creative ideas that their expertise can support.

“I look forward to seeing both partners achieve their goals – making a difference and enabling us to translate research well beyond the lab, into real-world impact. This pioneering partnership will create a blueprint for accelerating innovation, enabling our research to have meaningful benefits on people’s health and wellbeing.”

Professor Chris Molloy, Chief Executive Officer at Medicines Discovery Catapult said: “This partnership is the realisation of a faster route for innovative research to reach the clinic. It is also a paradigm for how universities and industrial translators can each do what they are best at, and maximise national impact - now and into the future.

“This shared-skills, co-operative approach tackles a deep structural issue head on and ensures the best ideas see the light of day at pace and scale for the benefit of patients and the UK economy.

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