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Our successes in partnering with industry in 2022!

Posted on 21 December, 2022 by Alison Halliday

Alison Halliday reflects on some of the key achievements from our Business and Innovation Office over the past year.

It’s been a busy year for the Business and Innovation Office here at The Institute of Cancer Research, as we’ve been seeking to foster the interactions with industry that ensure our research leads rapidly to benefits for people with cancer. Read on for just a few of our achievements of 2022.

A CGI image of the Innovation Gateway at The London Cancer Hub

A CGI image of the Innovation Gateway at The London Cancer Hub

Innovation Gateway

The Innovation Gateway – a new incubator and collaboration space for innovative life-science companies – opened its doors at The London Cancer Hub in Sutton, south London in February.

Its creation marked a significant step in realising the vision of The London Cancer Hub, an ambitious partnership led by the London Borough of Sutton and the ICR.

In November, personalised medicines start-up Curesponse – which is developing a platform for evaluating drug response and guiding personalised cancer treatment – became the latest company to move in at the Innovation Gateway.

The medtech company joined a growing innovation ecosystem at The London Cancer Hub, alongside fellow tenants Vesynta – a start-up delivering personalised dosing guided by ‘medicine exposure’ measurements – and The Exercise Clinic, a company offering physiotherapy and exercise regimes for cancer patients.

‘Breakthrough’ in cancer treatment

We’re extremely proud of the latest news from a long-term drug discovery and development programme that’s involved the ICR and the pharmaceutical companies Astex and AstraZeneca.

A new targeted cancer drug called capivasertib – which emerged from that programme –has shown ‘remarkable’ results against advanced breast cancer in a phase III trial.

The development of capivasertib followed years of fundamental research at the ICR, aimed at understanding how the AKT protein – the drug’s target – is regulated. The story provides a compelling example of the ICR’s excellence at translating scientific discoveries about the biology of cancer cells into innovative new cancer treatments, with real benefits for patients.

Capivasertib is also being evaluated in major phase III trials for triple-negative breast cancer and PTEN-deficient prostate cancers – which, if successful, could provide urgently needed new treatment options for other groups of patients with advanced disease that has become resistant to other treatments.

Top marks

We were thrilled that this year to once again rank among the top academic institutions in the UK for generating income from our intellectual property.

The ICR received the fifth highest amount of invention income overall – and the most income per member of academic staff – compared with all other UK higher education institutions in the 2020/21 academic year.

Five months later, we were also rated as one of the UK’s top higher education institutions in the latest Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) – a Government assessment of universities’ influence on society.

Events are back! And new collaboration opportunities

We’ve also been working to showcase our opportunities to forge fruitful new collaborations between our scientists and industrial partners in the future.

Our Partnering to Defeat Cancer series of business networking events returned in July, with ICR scientists giving presentations on their work to an audience of industry professionals before a networking reception.

We’ve been busy creating brochures on licensing and partnering opportunities on highlighted research projects, which are available to download on our website.

And you can watch our new film that introduces our work to commercialise our discoveries, in collaboration with industry partners – featuring ICR scientists, staff from our Business and Innovation Office alongside our commercial partners.

Celebrating a culture of innovation

Closing out an eventful year, the ICR’s staff awards ceremony provided us with an opportunity to celebrate the success of our researchers who are working with industry to translate discoveries into patient benefit.

We warmly congratulated this year’s Innovation category award winners – highly commended Dr Matthew Blackledge, Team Leader in Computational Imaging at the ICR in the Division of Radiotherapy and Imaging, and winner Professor Kevin Harrington, Professor of Biological Cancer Therapies at the ICR and Consultant Oncologist at our partner hospital, The Royal Marsden.

We hope their success will help to inspire others encourage to identify and develop new ideas with commercial opportunity and work in an entrepreneurial way!

Find out more

Contact our Business and Innovation Office to learn more about working with us.

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