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    State of the Discovery Nation 2018

    The Medicines Discovery Catapult and BioIndustry Association call on the R&D community to address five themes to help boost productivity

    This report, based on surveys and over 100 in-depth interviews with senior executives of UK drug discovery companies, shows that global R&D productivity is under unprecedented pressure. In response to this, world leading opportunities exist for the UK to reshape the medicines discovery process to develop medicines greatly needed by patients. The report highlights that:

    • Global R&D productivity is under unprecedented pressure
    • The model of medicines R&D must be radically reshaped to meet patient needs
    • A key problem is reliance on using inadequate models for human diseases
    • Commercialising emerging technology will require new models of collaboration
    • Data science is now indispensable to medicines R&D: research data is now generated in such high volumes that the ability to harness it has become a critical factor in developing new medicines
    • It is imperative for the UK to provide industry with straightforward, well-governed access to consented patient data and human tissue samples – this is an acute problem for SMEs


    Download the report as a PDF

    Read the press release on the launch of State of the Discovery Nation 2018.

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    NHS savings through diagnostic tests

    Research commissioned by Innovate UK and the British In Vitro Diagnostics Association (BIVDA) reveals that the NHS could save over £6.9 billion in five years through quick adoption of new diagnostic tests as they come onto the market. In turn, these savings could help tackle the annual NHS shortfall, widely expected to reach £20 billion by 2022.

    Patients would benefit from three new tests – for heart attack, pre-eclampsia and inflammatory bowel disease – by reducing unnecessary procedures and medication while delivering significant NHS savings.

    At the moment, the tests are used in only a handful of clinics and hospitals, although many health experts predict they would save huge sums if used more widely.

    Doris-Ann Williams, BIVDA’s Chief Executive, said, “Whilst the shakeup of NHS services and funding so often takes the headlines, simply making the most of the tests we already have would result in dramatic savings.”

    The report calls on healthcare leaders and policy makers to reassess how these three high-impact examples, along with many other diagnostic technologies available now, could be better deployed within the NHS.

    Innovate UK is currently delivering the ‘From Data to Early Diagnosis and Precision Medicine’ Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF), investing in new technologies which diagnose disease earlier and reduce patient suffering.

    Dr Kath Mackay, Innovate UK Interim Director for Ageing Society, Health & Nutrition, said: “There are so many innovative diagnostic tests on the market and in development. It’s important for all stakeholders that we take every opportunity to rapidly adopt tests which show cost savings and benefit to patients.”

    The full article can be found on the BIVDA website http://www.bivda.org.uk/3_simple_tests.pdf and at http://aquariusph.com/three-ivds/

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    MRC publishes GDPR resources

    The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Data Protection Act 2018 came into force on 25 May 2018 in the UK. The MRC has published resources to explain the new requirements as they relate to research. The MRC GDPR guidance notes have been developed in consultation with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). Click here to visit the MRC GDPR resources page.

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    Industry Strategy Challenge Funding

    UK organisations can apply for a share of up to £50 million through a funding competition to develop a network of centres of excellence in digital pathology and medical imaging technology.

    This competition is part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund in the challenge area: from data to early diagnosis and precision medicine.

    The funding – which is provided by UK Research and Innovation and delivered by Innovate UK – will maximise the UK’s potential to diagnose diseases earlier and identify the best interventions for patients, as well as developing new treatments.

    One of the activities in this challenge focuses on digital pathology, radiology and diagnostics. It will help to advance the digitisation of these important areas of diagnosis, increase the efficiency and quality of the review process and get new precision treatments to patients earlier.


    In this competition we are seeking to establish up to 6 centres that specialise in digital pathology, medical imaging or both. These centres will be based across the UK and will be expected to work together through a framework agreement.

    Applications should focus on how they can add value to existing processes using digital systems, enhanced analytics and artificial intelligence.

    They should address common themes facing the healthcare sector including standardisation, data sharing and interoperability, regulation and scale up.


    We are particularly encouraging applications that:

    • allow access to the centres by clinical and non-clinical investigators
    • support micro, small and medium-sized enterprises
    • use large-scale, well-archived and annotated digital images
    • illustrate how the centre will link digital image analyses with other forms of diagnostic information to achieve new medical insights
    • consider and address the social, behavioural and economic implications in change management

    Successful centres must commit to:

    • supporting data sharing and interoperability across platforms and systems to allow seamless access to digital image repositories
    • making available advanced data storage and analytical environments that are capable of managing large numbers of digital images and their associated data
    • gaining public trust through best practice compliance with data security, privacy and ethical standards


    Competition information

    • the competition is open, and the deadline for applications is at midday on 1 August 2018
    • a UK-based business, NHS organisation or trust, hospital, research organisation, charity or Academic Health Science Network can lead a project, working in collaboration with others
    • at least 2 organisations must apply per grant award
    • total project costs should be between £14 million and £20 million
    • businesses could attract up to 70% of their eligible costs
    • applications that meet the quality threshold will be invited to interview in September 2018
    • a briefing event will be held on 15 June 2018

Contact Us

University of Liverpool

Block A: Waterhouse Buildings

1-5 Brownlow Street

Liverpool L69 3GL

Email: cjmcn@liverpool.ac.uk

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