How can the UK remain at the forefront of discovering and developing medicines?

On 9 March 2018, the Academy and the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) held a workshop to discuss ways to improve integration across the preclinical and clinical boundary.

The workshop brought together experts from across academia, industry, the NHS and regulatory and funding bodies to discuss the challenges to, and opportunities for, better translation across this boundary.

The day started with thought-provoking presentations exploring the role of workforce and skills, research infrastructure, new scientific technologies, and regulatory and clinical frameworks.

The presentations were followed by breakout sessions during which participants identified priorities for the future, and short- and long-term steps to addressing key challenges in these priority areas to improve translation and integration of preclinical and clinical research. The session closed with a lively panel discussion.

Amongst other areas, discussions highlighted the increasing need for a highly skilled, multidisciplinary workforce that can work at the preclinical-clinical interface, and capitalise upon the opportunities afforded by research infrastructure and new research and trial designs. Such skillsets include bio-informaticians, statisticians, molecular pathologists and medicinal chemists.

Participants also emphasised the need for greater permeability between industry, academia and the NHS to allow scientists and leaders to develop the key skills needed to work across sectors, and the importance of better using and building upon existing research infrastructure. 

The meeting was co-chaired by Professor Geraint Rees FMedSci, Dean of the Faculty of Life Sciences, University College London and Dr Chris Powell, Vice President, Translational Medicine & Comparative Pathobiology, GlaxoSmithKline.

A full meeting report will be published later in 2018. 

FORUM programme

The FORUM programme was established in 2003 by the Academy of Medical to catalyse connections across industry, academia, NHS and the wider healthcare sector. Since then, a range of FORUM activities and events have brought together researchers, research

funders and research users from across academia, industry, government, non-departmental public bodies and the charity, healthcare and regulatory sectors, in order to facilitate strong and equitable partnerships that lead to the improvement of health through research.

Further information and details of future events can be found on the FORUM homepage.

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