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ICR holds first networking event for scientists and commercial partners

Image: Dr Alessandro Vannini presenting at the ICR Enterprise breakfast event

Image: Dr Alessandro Vannini presenting at the ICR Enterprise breakfast event

The Institute of Cancer Research, London’s Enterprise Unit hosted our first ever event for our scientists to meet with possible future partners from the commercial sector.

At a breakfast event at the Royal Society of Chemistry in Central London, ICR researchers and members of our Enterprise Unit gave a series of talks about our history of excellence in partnering with industry, before an opportunity for networking.

ICR scientists introduced some possible future opportunities for collaborations with partners in new research areas – in drug discovery, clinical trials, radiotherapy, structural biology, cancer biology, artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Attendees included representatives from a range of businesses, from small biotech to large pharmaceutical firms.

The event was arranged by our Enterprise Unit in collaboration with life science and healthcare membership organisation One Nucleus.

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Future collaborations

Professor Paul Workman introduced our history of successful partnership working in the context of drug discovery and development. He highlighted several recent and current programmes led by our Cancer Research UK Cancer Therapeutics Unit that have led to the development, trialing or regulatory approval of ICR-discovered drugs.

Professor Kevin Harrington described our global leadership in radiotherapy and aspects of drug development. He emphasised possible future collaborations through trials of immunotherapeutic, oncolytic viral and radiosensitising targeted drugs, also mentioning possible future opportunities to collaborate in radiotherapy research.

Dr Bissan Al-Lazikani spoke about Big Data, machine learning and AI at the ICR, and future research to identify new drug targets and personalise treatments according to increasingly complex datasets about patients.

Dr Chris Bakal showcased his team’s work to develop new prognostic tools based on cancer cell shape, which in the future could guide treatment through the simultaneous analysis of the shapes of millions of cells from images of cancer samples.

Dr Alessandro Vannini highlighted the excellence of our structural biology research, emphasising how our efforts in structural biology bring new understandings of cancer biology as well as informing our drug discovery and development.

There were also presentations from Tom Heightman from Astex Pharmaceuticals, a long-time partner of research at the ICR, and the ICR’s Director of Enterprise Dr Angela Kukula, who spoke about our excellence at commercial partnering and gave advice to industry delegates on working productively with us.

"Global leader in developing new technologies"

Andy Carr, Business Development Manager in the ICR’s Enterprise Unit, said,

“It was a pleasure to be involved in a successful event and see some new faces, as well as meet representatives from some of our more established industry partners.

“Delegates went away with the understanding that ICR is a national and indeed a global leader in developing new technologies in partnership with industry, and we hope the event will lead to new collaborations in exciting scientific areas.”

The latest issue of our Enterprise newsletter, Connections, is out now and describes some of our latest achievements in collaboration with industry. Read the newsletter and sign up to receive it on our website.


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