Today [9 May], Medicines Discovery Catapult and LifeArc, leading forces driving UK innovation in drug discovery, announce their strategic partnership.
The identification and development of novel biomarkers that detect efficacy and safety of novel drug molecules, which can be used in human trials, will be the focus of the partnership.
LifeArc has a growing portfolio of innovative therapeutic candidates across priority disease areas where there is high patient need. Medicines Discovery Catapult has established platforms and expertise in the discovery and validation of new biomarker approaches.
The partnership will use the expertise of both organisations to progress candidate molecules towards clinical evaluation with an optimised biomarker strategy. LifeArc will fund a select number of full-time employees, who will be embedded within the Catapult to provide strategic biomarker discovery and development.
Biomarkers play a fundamental role in improving our understanding of drugs, disease and drug-target interactions in patients. They are key to translating drugs from a pre-clinical to clinical setting, where they help define dosage, patient selection and treatment decisions. Whilst extensively used as tools to guide drug R&D in oncology, the potential to improve understanding of clinical efficacy, safety and patient segmentation across other areas remains to be fully tapped.
The new posts, funded initially for a three-year period, will combine LifeArc’s project expertise with Medicines Discovery Catapult’s translational drug development know-how and suite of state-of-the-art biomarker technologies. This includes; PET imaging, near infra-red imaging, Nanostring, molecular pathology, imaging informatics, MALDI, and digital spatial profiling.
In addition, LifeArc will fund a two-year industrial post-doctoral research position based in Medicines Discovery Catapult’s national laboratory at Alderley Park in Cheshire.
The new position will establish innovative Mass Spectrometry proteomics workflows relevant to drug discovery and improve the techniques and know-how available to both Medicines Discovery Catapult and LifeArc.
Ultimately, this collaboration will establish new proteomics approaches that can be applied to benefit the wider drug discovery community.
Dr Peter Simpson, Chief Scientific Officer of Medicines Discovery Catapult, says:
“This landmark collaboration will bring together the expertise of two world-class, UK-based, leaders in collaborative approaches to drug discovery for the first time. To advance therapeutics closer to patients, LifeArc’s innovative therapeutic programmes will work together with Medicines Discovery Catapult’s state of the art biomarker discovery platform. LifeArc is renowned as an innovator in drug discovery, and this partnership is further endorsement of Medicine Discovery Catapult’s position as a leader in the creation of biomarker strategies, and the application of technology innovation in drug discovery.”
Catherine Kettleborough, Associate Director of LifeArc’s Centre for Therapeutics Discovery, says:
“This is an exciting opportunity to join forces with the Medicines Discovery Catapult to support and accelerate the translation of promising research into new health interventions. Additionally, the Post-doctoral fellowship position will facilitate the development of innovative approaches that will benefit both organisations and contribute to training the drug discoverers of tomorrow.”