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ICR is top-ranked university for invention income for seventh consecutive year

Exterior shot of the Sir Richard Doll building

The Institute of Cancer Research, London, has again been the most successful academic institution in the UK at generating income from its intellectual property – for the seventh successive year.

The ICR received the second highest amount of invention income overall in 2018/19, behind the much larger University of Oxford, but was well ahead of all other UK-based institutions after adjustment for numbers of academic staff.

Intellectual property

The ICR made £37.8m from commercialising its intellectual property over the course of the 2018/19 academic year – the most recent for which figures are available.

A large proportion of this figure comes from royalties on the sales of the cancer drugs abiraterone and olaparib – although the ICR also receives invention income relating to the development of a range of other cancer treatments and technologies.

We also receive around £10m per year in funding for our research from our industrial research collaborators and additional funding from other sources such as consultancy – none of which is included in the invention income figures.

Our commercial income is invested back into our research to find new treatments for people with cancer.

Official figures on invention income are collated each year for all higher education institutions by Research England for its annual Higher Education Business and Community Interaction (HE-BCI) survey. 


Our work with companies is overseen by our Business and Innovation Office (formerly our Enterprise Unit). We have more than 100 current partnerships with a broad range of companies, from big pharmaceutical companies to smaller biotech and medtech companies and contract research organisations.

We are currently developing exciting new opportunities for companies to work directly in collaboration with our scientists, for example on our site in Sutton as occupiers of the new Innovation Gateway, a new incubation space including laboratories at The London Cancer Hub.

Dr Angela Kukula, the ICR’s Director of Business and Innovation, said:

“For an academic institution, invention income is a sign that its discoveries have successfully made it to the market – which for the ICR, is proof that our work is being translated into new treatments for patients. It also forms an important source of funding for future research.

"Our strategy is fundamentally based on patient benefit, not profit, but our high level of invention income is one of several measures that reflect our status as one of the leading academic institutions in the UK, and indeed the world, at collaboration with industry.”


abiraterone olaparib industry business and innovation office partnership
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