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Network and collaboration

Professor Johann de Bono, Drug Development Unit

Collaboration is at the centre of everything we do.  The ICR and DDU have a large portfolio of collaborators with over 100 industry and academic partners at any one time.  We nurture our partnerships with industry. Researchers in the DDU lead the ICR and RMs partnership with the Experimental Cancer Medicine Centres (ECMC) network, made of up 18 adult centres and 11 paediatric locations across the UK. The network, established with a joint investment from Cancer Research UK (CRUK), the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) in England and equivalents in other UK nations, brings together excellent clinical researchers across the UK. We also have multiple key industry partnerships that allow us to accelerate trial setup and establish broader relationships across multiple projects.

Track record

Over the years, the DDU team has conducted >500 early clinical trials with our focus being on hypothesis-testing, biomarker-driven, evaluation of novel anti-cancer drugs. Several of these have now become practice-changing treatments for cancer patients including abiraterone, olaparib, afatinib, pembrolizumab, with other tested agents providing proof-of-concept including recent trials of ATR inhibition and AKT inhibition. We have developed multiple drugs generated by ICR and CRUK scientists. For example, abiraterone was first discovered and synthesized at the ICR and developed jointly with The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust. Abiraterone has been hailed as one of the greatest research achievements in the history of the NHS, with the NIHR citing it as one of the top 70 discoveries that have transformed outcomes for NHS patients in a special list to mark the NHS's 70th birthday.

Conducting trials in our unit 

For all initial enquiries, site feasibility and selections, please contact one of DDU Principle Investigators. We encourage sponsors to visit the DDU at an early stages of discussion, to meet key members of our team, understand our set-up, and discuss operational considerations.