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Public-private sector collaboration the theme as Minister visits The London Cancer Hub

Lord Henley visits the ICR

Image: Lord Henley (R) meets researchers and members of staff at The London Cancer Hub. Credit: Eva Sharpe

Business Minister Lord Henley has visited The London Cancer Hub to discuss new opportunities for life-sciences businesses to collaborate with world-leading scientists from The Institute of Cancer Research, London.

Lord Henley heard about The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR)’s scientific vision from researchers including Professor Udai Banerji of the ICR and Royal Marsden Drug Development Unit, and how the delivery of The London Cancer Hub will be key to making it happen.

He also toured laboratories where scientists are developing pioneering new forms of imaging technology for use in cancer research and treatment – for instance in improving the diagnosis of aggressive tumours, guiding the use of drugs, or monitoring how effectively drugs are working in individual patients.

The London Cancer Hub is a life-science district in Sutton, South London. Very ambitious in scale and scope, it aims to become the leading centre for cancer research, treatment, education and enterprise in the world and once complete is projected to contribute around £1.1 billion per year to the UK economy.

New opportunities for a wide range of commercial companies – including small and medium-sized biotech and medtech firms, big pharma and software and data companies – will open up in the future as development progresses at The London Cancer Hub.

The London Cancer Hub will be a global centre for cancer innovation providing state-of-the-art facilities and delivering real benefits for patients.

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Creating a world-leading life-science district

Business Minister Lord Henley said:

“London’s innovative businesses and academics are discovering and applying scientific breakthroughs to seize the biggest opportunities and tackle the greatest challenges of our time.

“Our modern Industrial Strategy builds on these world-leading strengths in medical research and innovation - creating new products, new jobs, and ensuring NHS patients are at the forefront of these technological advances.”

The ICR is developing the hub in collaboration with the London Borough of Sutton, with the aim of creating a world-leading life-science district specialising in cancer research, treatment, education and enterprise. The London Cancer Hub aims to create 13,000 jobs and boost the UK economy by more than £1 billion per year.

As the UK’s leading higher education institution in several measures of academic-industry partnership, the ICR already works with more than 200 companies across the UK and globally. We partner with companies in a wide variety of ways – from early stage-research collaborations to licensing agreements and major strategic alliances.

The London Cancer Hub represents an opportunity to build on this work to help to deliver the aims of the Government’s Industrial Strategy, which is the responsibility of Lord Henley’s department. The ICR, as a major centre of excellence for cancer research, already helps drive improvements in treatment and economic benefit across the UK.

'Putting The London Cancer Hub on the map'

Lord Henley heard from representatives of the ICR and the London Borough of Sutton about the need for major infrastructure investment to ensure The London Cancer Hub is a success, including from Nick Smales, Assistant Director for Economic Development and Programme Director for The London Cancer Hub at Sutton Council.

For example, we believe there is a need to extend the tram beyond current plans to take it to Sutton station onwards to the site, and to improve the train service to Belmont station.

Dr Charmaine Griffiths, the ICR’s Chief Operating Officer, said:

“It was a pleasure to welcome Lord Henley to The London Cancer Hub to discuss its exciting potential to stimulate collaboration with life-science companies, enhance cancer treatment and deliver UK-wide economic growth.

“We very much look forward to continuing to work with Lord Henley and his department to put The London Cancer Hub on the map as a leading knowledge exchange cluster, and to ensure it fulfils its potential as a role model for the Government’s Industrial Strategy.”

The Government’s modern Industrial Strategy aims to make Britain the best place in the world for innovators, including new treatments to help people live longer, healthier and happier lives through the Life Sciences Sector Deal.

Councillor Ruth Dombey, Leader of Sutton Council, said: “I very much welcome the new opportunities biotech, software and pharmaceutical companies will have access to as development progresses at The London Cancer Hub.

“That's why investment in infrastructure, in and around Sutton towards the hub, is so important to making this happen.”


policy Udai Banerji London Cancer Hub Drug Development Unit
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