Medicines Discovery Catapult (MDC) recently launched twenty-two partnerships with UK contract research organizations (CROs) in an aim to boost the country’s life sciences research and international competitiveness.
The resulting Discovery Services will help match small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK with CROs, while the service providers will in turn gain access to new customers and expanded markets.
Graeme Wilkinson, MDC head of virtual R&D, said the goal of the Discovery Services launch is two-fold:
“Firstly, to enable UK life science SMEs and academia to deliver innovative drug discovery projects through matching their needs with appropriate CROs either alone or as part of a partnership with the MDC Virtual R&D capability, and secondly, to enable UK CROs to access new markets and customers,” he told us.
As per how MDC selected the CRO partners – including Metrion Biosciences, Apex Molecular, BioAscent Discovery, Domainex, HistologiX, and XenoGesis, among others – the organization wanted to be able to help SMEs in preclinical drug discovery up to and including IND, said Sarah Brockbank, lead scientist, virtual R&D, MDC.
“This strategy, therefore, defined the types of CROs we needed within the network and through intensive interaction and discussion we have arrived at the list of partners in discovery services,” Brockbank told us.
Wilkinson added that the current CRO network is focused on enabling preclinical drug discovery “and has the right blend of CRO partners within it that deliver projects within this part of the discovery and development value chain.”
Looking to the future, he said the company is always open to discussing the services offered by current non-partner CROs and, over time, expects additional partners will be needed.