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Thought Leadership | 4th April 2019

The Rise of Non-Competitive Collaborations in UK Drug Discovery

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There comes a time in life where things just become too expensive, with that said, it’s not always a bad thing. Drug Discovery nerds at Big Pharma know that new projects are expensive, slow and carry risk. It can cost over £1billion to launch a technically successful drug and it could take on average 12.5 years.1 

Pharmaceutical companies are increasingly outsourcing research activities to academic and private contract research organisations (CROs) as a strategy to stay competitive and flexible in a world of exponentially growing knowledge, increasingly sophisticated technologies and an unstable economic environment. 

But, what does this mean? The Onyx Health team were at BioNow’s Oncology Conference back in February. We came across Innovate UK’s Medicines Discovery Catapult, who are accelerating “Non-competitive collaborations” in the UK.

The Catapult centres are a network of world-leading centres who aim to transform the UK’s capability for innovation and drive future economic growth.

To support entrepreneurs and businesses to access and adopt cuttingedge technologies, the government is confirming £115 million to extend funding for the Digital Catapult, which has centres in the North East, South East and Northern Ireland, and the Medicines Discovery Catapult in Cheshire. This builds on the £1 billion in long-term funding already committed to the broader network of Catapult centres located across the UK.”

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond 

As a Healthcare Marketing Communications & PR agency, we will be keeping a very close eye on how this will affect approaches within the Drug Discovery market. 

Could this be the type of nationwide support needed to boost innovation in the UK? Tell us your thoughts?


1. Bains, William. (2004). Failure Rate in Drug Discovery and Development: Will we ever Get any Better? Drug Discovery World.
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