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Our successes

The Institute of Cancer Research, London, has a track record of excellence and impact, in particular through our collaborations with industry.

Scientist looking at slide

Our scientists and clinicians are leaders in their fields – making vital fundamental discoveries about the workings of our cells, discovering new drugs and leading clinical trials of new treatments.

Many of these researchers work in active collaboration with commercial partners. We have more than 100 active partnerships with a range of companies, from small, specialised biotech and MedTech firms to big pharma.

These partnerships have put the ICR at or near the top of international rankings for the commercialisation of our research, and have successfully taken many highly innovative treatments into the clinic.

We see partnering with industry as an essential part of our mission since in many cases it is the only way to take our discoveries to patients. You can find out more in our Commercialisation factsheet.

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World-leading innovation

We are consistently ranked by international league tables as one of the world’s most successful higher education institutions for academic innovation and effective collaboration with industry.

We are among the top 10 universities worldwide for the proportion of our papers published with industry, and are first globally for the proportion of academic papers cited in patent applications.

We are also among the best in the UK and the world for research quality and impact – for example routinely featuring in the top research institutions according to U-Multirank, an independent evaluation funded by the European Commission, and coming second in the definitive UK measure of research excellence at UK institutes, the REF (2021).

Drug discovery

We are the world’s most successful academic institution at discovering new cancer treatments. Since 2005 alone, we have discovered 21 drug candidates, 13 of which have progressed into clinical development. We have also led radiotherapy trials which have transformed clinical practice.

The blockbuster prostate cancer drug abiraterone (trade name Zytiga), which was discovered at the ICR, is generating worldwide sales of more than $2.5bn per year.

Our science also underpinned the development of olaparib (trade name Lynparza), which has now been approved by the FDA for subtypes of ovarian and breast cancer. Other examples of our success in drug discovery include Chk-1 inhibitors and PI3K inhibitors.

Cutting edge

Our science continues to set the agenda in many areas of cancer research, leading to new opportunities for partnership. For example, our work continually uncovers new potential cancer drug targets, produces prototype drugs, generates new potential diagnostic tests, and leads to the application of new scientific technology to cancer research.

Our Drug Development Unit, run jointly with our hospital partner The Royal Marsden, is the leading oncology-focused phase I trial unit in the UK. And we are pioneering the development of new technologies for the treatment of cancer, from image-guided radiotherapy and high-frequency ultrasound to artificial intelligence and machine learning tools.

Our collaborators

We collaborate with industrial, academic and hospital partners over a range of projects – from drug discovery programmes and biomarker studies, to the development of high intensity focussed ultrasound for the treatment of cancer.

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Case studies

We have many industrial partners – from major global pharmaceutical companies to local, small to medium-sized enterprises.

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