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Professor Paul Workman to join Innovation Debate 2012


19 November 2012


Professor Paul Workman, Deputy Chief Executive and head of cancer therapeutics at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, will join the distinguished panel of world-leading experts and chairman Professor Jim Al-Khalili for The Innovation Debate 2012, taking place on 20 November at 4pm at the Royal Society in London and webcast live at

Together they will debate “How do we innovate in a time of austerity?” and “Are we doing enough to nurture innovators of the future?”

Presenting his views on the current state of innovation, Professor Workman – who has also been a scientific founder of two successful biotechnology companies – said:

“We are facing a serious challenge to the whole cancer drug discovery and development ‘ecosystem’.

“We are making real progress but nowhere near as much as we could be in converting the incredible increase in our understanding of how cancer develops — especially our knowledge of the genomes of cancer cells — into new targeted therapies for cancer patients.

“There is also a major challenge to the pharmaceutical industry in switching from the previous one-size-fits-all blockbuster model to the new future, which will be all about personalised medicines targeted to multiple small patient groups based on cancer genes.

“At The Innovation Debate, I will discuss the important changes needed to address these challenges and to realise the full potential of cancer research for our patients. 

“There needs to be more investment in drug discovery and development carried out by non-profit groups so that early-stage drug projects deemed too risky for industry to take on can be pushed through quickly to test their potential in the lab and in patients. 

“There needs to be a total rethink on regulation and pricing so that life-extending personalised drugs — and especially the drug combinations that are essential to prevent drug resistance — can be made more readily available to cancer patients.  We also need to see much greater and earlier access for cancer patients to experimental as well as approved drugs. 

“I think many of the problems in the ecosystem can be solved by a much closer working together of academia, industry, government and regulators.  Everyone can benefit if we get this right.”

Professor Workman – a world leader in the discovery and development of molecularly targeted cancer drugs and a passionate advocate of personalised cancer therapy – will join fellow panellists who include: Professor Andre Geim – who in 2010 was awarded the Nobel Prize for his groundbreaking work on graphene, a one-atom-thick material made of carbon; Tudor Brown, former President of semiconductor giant ARM, headquartered in Cambridge; Professor Mariana Mazzucato, Professor in Economics at the University of Sussex; Professor Paul Boyle, President of Science Europe, which promotes the collective interests of European research organisations, and DR Beau Lotto, neuroscientist attached to University College, London's Institute of Ophthalmology.


In a tough economic climate, innovation needs to remain the lifeblood of science, technology and the economy. There is an urgent need to focus on how best to promote and nurture innovation – today and in the future.

That is why The Innovation Debate 2012 – organised and funded by Astellas Pharma Europe Ltd. – is bringing  together influential and respected figures from the worlds of science, technology, medicine, education, government, industry and the media to discuss how best to encourage and nurture scientific innovation. The aim of The Innovation Debate is to air crucial issues, draw positive conclusions and to move the agenda forward.


Everyone – professionals in science and technology, students and the general public – will have the opportunity to engage with The Innovation Debate through online media, taking discussions far beyond the walls of the Royal Society.

Join the Innovation Debate 2012

The Innovation Debate will encourage wider participation from the public and science community via the website Everyone will have the opportunity to share their views on the critical challenges facing science and innovation raised by The Innovation Debate and to submit a question to the panel of experts. To watch the live webcast of the Debate from 4pm on November 20th 2012, register today at


Join the debate now at  and follow us on Twitter @Innovatedebate #innovationdebate


– Ends  –


Watch Professor Workman explain the discoveries that his team are making at the ICR, and discuss issues in funding innovation:

Click to play video



For further information, please contact:

Mindy Dooa
Communications Director
Astellas Pharma Europe Ltd
Tel: +44 (0) 203-379 8035
Mobile:+44 (0)7826 912 339
Email: [email protected]


Astellas Pharma Europe Ltd., located in the UK, is the European headquarters of Tokyo-based Astellas Pharma Inc. Astellas is a pharmaceutical company dedicated to improving the health of people around the world through the provision of innovative and reliable pharmaceuticals. The organisation’s focus is to deliver outstanding R&D and marketing to continue growing in the world pharmaceutical market. Astellas Pharma Europe Ltd. is responsible for 21 affiliate offices located across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, an R&D site and three manufacturing plants. The company employs approximately 4,300 staff across these regions. For more information about Astellas Pharma Europe, please visit


The Institute of Cancer Research, London, is one of the world’s most influential cancer research institutes.

Scientists and clinicians at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) are working every day to make a real impact on cancer patients’ lives. Through its unique partnership with The Royal Marsden Hospital and ‘bench-to-bedside’ approach, the ICR is able to create and deliver results in a way that other institutions cannot. Together the two organisations are rated in the top four cancer centres globally.

The ICR has an outstanding record of achievement dating back more than 100 years. It provided the first convincing evidence that DNA damage is the basic cause of cancer, laying the foundation for the now universally accepted idea that cancer is a genetic disease. Today it leads the world at isolating cancer-related genes and discovering new targeted drugs for personalised cancer treatment.

As a college of the University of London, the ICR provides postgraduate higher education of international distinction. It has charitable status and relies on support from partner organisations, charities and the general public.

The ICR’s mission is to make the discoveries that defeat cancer.

For more information visit

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