UK drug discovery: Adapting to a changing landscape

The Academy and ABPI have today published the report of the FORUM meeting on ‘The UK drug discovery landscape’.

The way drug discovery in the UK is conducted is changing, with a move towards more collaboration and increasing open innovation, a trend being mirrored on a global scale. While this shift provides significant opportunities for the UK to continue to excel in drug development, to fully benefit we will need to adapt to, and also address, the challenges that may arise from a changing landscape.

The meeting report provides a summary of discussions held at the FORUM workshop on ‘The UK drug discovery landscape’, held jointly with the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) on 17 October 2016. 

Delegates were convened from across the life sciences sector to identify challenges, gaps and opportunities in drug discovery, using an ABPI report describing the current state of UK drug discovery as an evidence base for discussion. Key themes emerging from the meeting included:

  • The importance of cross-sector collaboration and a multidisciplinary approach to drug discovery, with further integration required across industry, academia and the broader NHS healthcare system.
  • The need to continue to attract more international funding and venture capital for discovery.
  • The importance of building capacity and capability across sectors to ensure the availability and sustainability of skillsets integral to discovery science.
  • The significant value of a diverse drug discovery ecosystem in the UK, and the need to align and communicate practice, expectations and needs across sectors.

The outcomes from this meeting will feed into the Academy's ongoing drug discovery project with further meetings around the topic to be held later in the year.

 FORUM programme

The Academy of Medical Sciences’ FORUM was established in 2003 to catalyse connections across industry, academia and the NHS, and the regulatory, charity and 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, and the charity, healthcare and regulatory sectors. Further information and details of future events can be found on the FORUM homepage.


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