Just how useful is it to get access to a pharmaceutical company compound? Back in 2012 Dr Richard Mead of the University of Sheffield was one of 15 academic project leaders funded by the MRC to research an alternative use for a compound no longer being developed by AstraZeneca. As we launch the next round of the MRC-Industry Asset Sharing Initiative he tells us how the collaboration has brought together the best of both worlds.
Copyright: Richard Mead
I’m no stranger to the pharmaceutical industry. I spent three years in drug development at Celltech in the early 2000s. But even with my experience, it’s still amazing to be reminded of the resources that pharmaceutical companies have at their fingertips. It sounds obvious, but their access to unique compounds, and their ability to make them, is impressive. Read more
Professors Irv Weissman and Ravi Majeti at Stanford University and Professor Paresh Vyas at the MRC Molecular Haematology Unit in Oxford, are working on an antibody from the Stanford investigators that enables the immune system to detect and kill cancer cells. They are now testing whether it’s safe and effective for use in people with blood cancer. In this week’s blog they tell us how they collaborated across the Atlantic to get public funding for a project that has led to a spin out with multiple backers and a promising clinical trial.
What if we could make our immune system fight cancer like it fights infection?
These aren’t the only teams in the world grappling with that question but for Professor Irv Weissman and Professor Paresh Vyas, the solution feels tantalisingly close for patients with blood cancer. Read more
MRC Chair Donald Brydon discusses the Spillover Report, published this week in BMC medicine. Spillover measures the wider economic gains from public investment, both government and charity. The report was funded by the MRC and led by Professor Jonathan Grant, Director of the Policy Institute at King’s College London. It considers 30 years of data from 1982 to 2012 and provides an up to date and accurate picture of the effect of public funding on the UK economy.
Public funding for research, although not generous, has led to scientific advances that impact on millions of lives and have delivered extraordinary health gain. It also has a very healthy effect on the economy.
For every £1 we invest in medical research, we see a 17 per cent annual return to the UK economy, indefinitely.
That’s before you take into account the monetised benefits of a healthier population. Include that and the rate of return rises to somewhere between 24 and 28 per cent.