‘Thriving’ UK medicines discovery sector being driven by brand new technologies

New state-of-the-art technologies are keeping the UK competitive in a “thriving” service and supply sector in medicines discovery, a 2019 State of the Discovery Nation report has revealed.

The research from the Medicines Discovery Catapult (MDC) and the BioIndustry Association (BIA) found 300 companies focused on discovering potential new medicine, 70% of which are working in areas of cancer, anti-infectives and central nervous systems.

The report highlights two new breakthrough technologies set to influence the future of medicines discovery, with both Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Complex Cell Models (CCMs) offering large potential.

It said the UK now has the opportunity to apply new cutting-edge science and technology to make medicines discovery more productive and maintain the UK’s global competitiveness.

The report also found that service and supply companies account for 80% of SMEs in the UK medicines discovery sector, and despite their size they are a “critical source of innovation for new medicines.”

Chris Molloy, chief executive officer of Medicines Discovery Catapult, said the UK “should be proud” of the vibrancy of its thriving medicines discovery ‘community.’

He commented: “The UK cannot conduct medicines discovery without access to this diverse range of skills, technologies and expertise.

“It is vital that we maintain our global competitiveness and R&D services can be a major sector driving international trade. The report’s findings help shape our strategy at MDC and we will continue to strengthen R&D productivity to create new medicines for patients.”

Alongside the 2019 State of the Discovery Nation, the BIA’s benchmarking report showed that by 2025 the UK could support an extra 33,000 biotech jobs and 50 biotech companies at early clinical stage.

BIA’s chief executive officer, Steve Bates, said the report “shines a light” on an often overlooked group of companies who are vital to the sector and ecosystem.

“As such, the economic benefit in jobs and growth in UK life science, especially outside the South East of England, is often delivered via sub-contracting and the provision of services. It’s vitally important policy makers understand this network and supply chain as we work together to deliver the UK life science industrial strategy.”

The MDC report said companies are calling for government support, funding and tax incentives, with 90% saying they need AI, and 75% of AI funding is currently spent on data access and curation.

CCMs also show “much promise,” and whilst there is a need for validation before large-scale use, they could reduce animal usage drastically.

Image credit - skynesher


There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment


national health executive tv

more videos >

latest news

View all News


NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

23/09/2019NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

Reason to celebrate as NHS says watching rugby can be good for your mental ... more >
Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital exemplars who were revealed at the same show 12 months earlier.  Jeremy Hunt also stated that by the end of 2018 – the 70th birthday... read more >

last word

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad, president of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), sits down with National Health Executive as part of our Last Word Q&A series. Would you talk us throu more > more last word articles >


Mike Farrar, Swim England - Last Word

07/12/2019Mike Farrar, Swim England - Last Word

Mike Farrar Chairperson of Swim England Would you talk us through... more >

the scalpel's daily blog

Unappreciated Qualities of Leadership: Hope

17/02/2020Unappreciated Qualities of Leadership: Hope

Independent consultant and strategic advisor Dean Royles continues his series on The Unappreciated Qualities of Leadership. You can find links to his previous pieces here. ... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

healthcare events

events calendar


February 2020

mon tue wed thu fri sat sun
27 28 29 30 31 1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8

featured articles

View all News