2 April, 2008 – UMIC launches commercial drug discovery service for UK life sciences
The University of Manchester Incubator Company helps to launch a new
commercial service for biotech and life sciences companies today.
Discovery2Medicine offers specialist consultancy and brokerage services
across the UK for life sciences companies working on their next
pharmaceutical therapeutic breakthrough.
Discovery2Medicine aims to become central in new drug development and in particular medicines, comprising both drug discovery and diagnostics.
The UK life sciences economy is second only to the US with UK annual exports worth more than £12 billion and an overall value of over £3 billion to the wider UK economy. But many small life sciences companies can’t rapidly access the advice, contacts and proof-of-concept funding they need to develop new drugs.
Martino Picardo general manager of UMIC explains: “It now takes anything up to ten years and upwards of $800m to take a drug through the process of discovery to the clinic and patient. And there is a considerable risk of failure at all stages. Already, both ends of the process present problems with not enough new drug candidates and consequently an insufficient number of new drugs coming to market”.
In the UK’s northwest, life sciences contribute £2.8 billion to the region’s balance of trade. But experts at UMIC found that many local biotech companies couldn’t access venture capital or development funds because early stage drug discovery is a high risk business. So in 2007
UMIC piloted a new service aimed at early-stage drug discovery companies and beyond.
Now launching as Discovery2Medicine, the service can provide answers for UK life sciences companies working to effectively treat or even eradicate major diseases.
Martino continues: ”We have helped companies in a number of different therapeutic areas including oncology, cardiovascular and inflammation, as well as neurological disorders. We’ve also assisted companies involved in different stages of the drug discovery process – from early stage research to pre-clinical assessment, safety and toxicology-related studies.
“We have the expertise within our Science Board to do more than just one-to-one consultancy. The value of Discovery2Medicine really lies in the breadth and depth of expertise that we are able to throw at a problem. D2M operates in a unique format in that its full Board meets with the client
to fully evaluate the way forward. This enables savings of time and human resource as well as cost”.
Discovery2Medicine expertise has helped bioscience companies to access very early stage (development) funds and helped convince investors that one biotech was delivering its overall goal of getting a drug into the clinic. Martino and his colleagues have also found that assistance with new assay concepts and removing the bottleneck of screening using molecular modelling has proven beneficial. Discovery2Medicine’s pilot programme has also already helped to get a new drug candidate beyond first phase clinical studies by showing efficacy and safety.
Source: UMIC Press release
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