King's College London Industrial Impact Fellowship in Drug Discovery

Lead Research Organisation: King's College London
Department Name: Pharmaceutical Sciences

Abstract

Biomedical research in Pharmacology requires an understanding of how drugs exert their effects in complex mammalian systems in vivo, a drug discovery discipline essential to the successful translation of new medicines from basic research into the clinic. Surveys published by the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries in the UK and the British Pharmacological Society have identified a critical lack of pre-clinical in vivo skills in the UK workforce and a decline in the quantity and quality of graduates in the core disciplines of in vivo science, drug metabolism, pharmacokinetic modelling and translational medicine. Research councils including the BBSRC are now investing in this area in an attempt to reverse this decline and build Integrative Mammalian Biology Centres across the UK, including King's College London (KCL). The Centre for Integrative Biomedicine (CIB) was established at KCL in 2007 and is joint funded by a BBSRC-led Capacity Building Award in Integrative Mammalian Biology. The research & training focus of the CIB is the study of whole animal function in normal and pathophysiological situations, and how fundamental processes in physiology and pharmacology maintain health at all stages of life. The in vivo capabilities of the CIB offer significant value to industrial drug discovery programmes, and with its virtual structure the CIB benefits from a range of specific discipline-focussed expertise located throughout KCL. The CIB is working with KCL to exploit experimental design to refine, reduce and replace animal experiments where possible and is fully committed to exploiting opportunities in the biophysical and pharmaceutical sciences areas of the School of Biomedical Sciences as they emerge. The Industrial Impact Fellowship will fund an experienced industry leader who will bring their in depth understanding of the research and skills requirements of the industry together with a knowledge of the drug discovery process from both a Pharma and Biotech perspective. The Fellow will be embedded within the CIB, co-located with the Head of the Centre, Prof. Susan Brain (to whom he will report), Prof Phil Moore and the Pharmaceutical Sciences Division. The Fellow will work on a part-time basis to deliver a coherent strategy to maximise the economic impact of the group and will be linked directly with KCL Business, in order to enhance the success of collaborative opportunities and extend opportunities in the CIB to the School of Biomedical Sciences. The work of the Fellow will focus on the two key priorities of partnership and education, expanding the Centre's contacts with Small to Medium Enterprises (SME's) and Biotech companies in UK & Europe. Key objectives for the work of the Fellow will be: 1) In depth analysis of the industry and a summary of the training & partnership opportunities for the CIB, 2) A review of the CIB's capabilities with an emphasis on its potential economic impact, 3) The generation of a range of marketing literature and workshops/marketing events 4) A regular dialogue with external and internal and external partners, leading to a sustainable network of new and existing collaborations with Pharma, SME and Biotech business 5) An increase in revenue from directly funded activity from industry or partnered funding applications in collaboration with the CIB's academics, together with an increase in the number and quality of industrial placement studentships 6) Regular review of how the activity of the CIB reflects the future research & training requirements of the industry sector The Fellow will work closely with internal partners, specifically the Principle Investigators at the CIB, researchers across the School of Biomedical & Health Sciences whose expertise may be applied to drug discovery, and King's Business. The Fellowship will start at the end of 2009 and be funded for 4 years, with continued support depending on the success of the initial post.

Technical Summary

Project goals To increase and sustain the economic impact of the Centre for Integrative Biomedicine (CIB) in two priority areas: industry collaboration and student training.Through recruitment of the Industrial Impact Fellow (Science Programme Manager) with specific scientific, market-sector knowledge, responsible for increasing the economic value of the research and training activities of the CIB. Objectives of the fellow To provide an in depth analysis of the industry and a summary of the training & partnership opportunities for the CIB. To review the CIB's capabilities with an emphasis on potential economic impact . To develop, with KCL Enterprises, a range of marketing literature and workshops/marketing events that attract potential partners from appropriate sectors. To establish regular dialogue with external and internal and external partners, leading to a sustainable network of new and existing collaborations with Pharma, SME and Biotech businesses. To increase revenue from directly funded or partnered funding applications in collaboration between industry and the CIB's academics. To increase in the number and quality of industrial placement studentships. To ensure that the activity of the CIB reflects the future research & training requirements of the industry sector. Key Project Partners Principal Investigators and academic fellows within the CIB. Principal investigators across the School of Biomedical & Health Sciences whose expertise is relevant to industry partners. King's Business, the commercialisation/KT division of KCL. Relationship with Project Stakeholders The Fellow will: Report to the Head of the CIB and sit on the Executive Board & Steering Group. Have regular contact with Principal investigators and academic fellows across the CIB. Attend regular meetings with the King's Business management team. Act as an advocate for the School of Biomedical & Health Sciences, introducing relevant industry partners as required.

Planned Impact

Beneficiaries from this Fellowship Centre for integrative Biomedicine (CIB): This Fellowship will enhance the reputation of the CIB as a research and training centre for integrative mammalian biology with the aim of becoming the UK partner of choice for the biotech & pharmaceutical sectors. It will increase funding (co-research, studentships, contract research, consultancy) for the CIB by increasing the number, sustainability and value of commercial partnerships. It will ensure the continued relevance of CIB research & training to biotech and pharmaceutical industries and increase exposure to relevant industry skills & expertise. UK pharmaceutical/biotech sectors: The Fellowship will expand the opportunities for exploitation of CIB technologies and expertise to the benefit of the UK pharmaceutical sector. It is consistent with the requirement to increase the pool of in vivo skills available in the UK workforce and will expand the number of students with industry-relevant skills. It has the potential to impact the development of new medicines and the translation of basic research into the clinic and to increase the economic competitiveness of the UK by more effective knowledge transfer (people, technologies, skills) from academic research into the biotech and pharmaceutical sectors. BBSRC: The Fellowship will increase the economic impact of BBSRC funded research carried out by CIB and KCL. Increased exposure of the research & technologies to industry partners will increase the opportunities for commercial exploitation either as partnerships, directly funded research, studentships or consultancy. It is consistent with the strategic requirements of the BBSRC to increase the economic and social impact of BBSRC-funded research by knowledge transfer, partnerships and providing the skilled researchers needed for industrial R&D and academic research. The fellowship will fund an experienced industry scientist who will act as program manager with the objective of building sustainable relationships with industry partners and ensuring that the research & training activities of the CIB remain relevant to the biotech & pharmaceutical industry in the UK. They will work closely with King's Business to ensure that collaborations and plans for exploitation are realised efficiently and in line with the strategic objectives of KCL.
 
Description Access to academic expertise on a fee-for-service basis is becoming increasingly relevant to the open innovation model of drug discovery, but is often limited by the availability of skilled personnel to carry out the work. In 2011, a speculative investment by King's Business provided the funds to recruit an Industry Post-Doc into the CIB, to provide industry-relevant models & support for fee-for-service work at the CIB. In our view, this fee-for-service offer has had somewhat limited success; whilst it has allowed us to employ and train an in vivo scientist for 3 years the work is irregular and somewhat dependent on the availability of PI's to engage in the scheme.
We have challenged the view that the industry partner always pays, by providing small amounts of 'pump-priming' funding to initiate projects between PIs and new industry partners. This scheme provides small parcels of funding for speculative, collaborative work with a potential industry partner and acts as an introduction between PI's and industry; it is particularly suitable for establishing collaborations with biotech companies, and has been a notable success for the Fellowship. Whilst a number of projects are still ongoing, to date it has triggered 11 new early stage projects and established 6 fee-for service research collaborations & successful grant applications.
I have been engaged in a number of grants & grant applications where my drug discovery expertise is relevant to the project and I am a co-applicant on an MRC DPFS grant application (Thomas) that has been granted. I am a co-author with Dr Manasi Nandi (KCL) and Dr Philip Aston (U Surrey) on an NC3Rs/EPSRC 'Mathematics in Medicine' Workshop report detailing a novel Attractor Reconstruction approach for the analysis of approximately periodic cardiovascular waveforms. This work has generated two patents and the commercial potential of this approach is being followed up by KCL and the University of Surrey.
I have made a regular contribution to the Centre's teaching programmes by providing industry relevant training & mentoring in the skills required to succeed in the UK Life Science Sector. I teach undergraduates & postgraduates in the Faculty of Life Science & Medicine, the Centre's MRes Programme in Integrative Biomedicine, the Pharmaceutical Medicine Drug Discovery & Development MSc short course and undergraduate MBBS students.
In total, this Fellowship initiated £5.1M of funding applications, of which £2.1M was successful. Grant applications were made to a wide range of funding bodies including research councils, charities & learned societies. Further funding was sought both internally through KCL/KCLB competitions, studentships & awards and externally by offering fee-for-service support to industry partners. The funding applications break down into 4 broad categories; Academic, or basic research (applied £1175K; awarded £284K), collaborative research with an industry partner (applied £1868K; awarded £518K), drug discovery projects (applied £1060K; awarded £865K) and fee-for-service income (quoted 985K; invoiced £438K). Overall, the Fellowship has brought in considerably more funding to the CIB than it cost to run; total costs of the Fellowship over 4 years were £330K with Fellowship-dependent income of £2.1M.
Exploitation Route The outputs of this work may be taken forward in three key ways;
Increasingly, university graduates are required to compete for employment in an international sector where the funds available for continued training may be limited, and students with an industry-relevant skill set will have an advantage. A contribution to undergraduate and postgraduate teaching from PIs with an understanding of the training and research needs of the pharmaceutical & biotech industry will improve our educational offer.
Research interactions that have been established with industry partners during the period of this grant will reduce the' barrier for entry' for PIs (particularly those without previous experience) with an interest in applying for joint industry-academic research grant funding. The expectation is that our previous experience and contacts in this area will yield an improved success rate for these types of joint research grants.
The publication of two patents and a number of conference abstracts detailing the Attractor Reconstruction method for analysing approximately periodic waveforms has generated some academic and commercial interest in the approach. Whilst it is still at an early stage, continued investment on this project through collaborative research, grant applications and commercial follow-up has the potential to generate value.
Sectors Education,Healthcare,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology

 
Description 'Pre-CASE' Industrial Collaborative Funding
Amount £64,000 (GBP)
Organisation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2012 
End 12/2013
 
Description 'Pre-CASE' Industrial Collaborative Funding
Amount £24,000 (GBP)
Organisation King's College London 
Department Centre for Integrative Biomedicine
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2011 
End 12/2011
 
Description BBSRC Summer Studentship - Systems Biology
Amount £4,500 (GBP)
Organisation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 07/2013 
End 09/2013
 
Description BPS Summer Studentship
Amount £1,835 (GBP)
Organisation British Pharmacological Society (BPS) 
Sector Learned Society
Country United Kingdom
Start 07/2013 
End 09/2013
 
Description King's College London Business - FFS Capacity Building
Amount £99,000 (GBP)
Organisation King's College London 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2011 
End 06/2015
 
Description LevoDOPA PhD studentship
Amount £38,000 (GBP)
Organisation Royal Free Hospital 
Sector Hospitals
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2010 
End 10/2012
 
Description Sparking Impact Award
Amount £9,198 (GBP)
Organisation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2014 
End 03/2015
 
Description Sparking Impact Award
Amount £3,424 (GBP)
Organisation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 07/2013 
End 09/2013
 
Description University of Surrey Impact Acceleration Account
Amount £19,500 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2014 
End 11/2014
 
Description Delay coordinate analysis of physiological data 
Organisation University of Surrey
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Access to physiological datasets & understanding of clinical relevance, commercial value
Collaborator Contribution Use of non-linear mathematical methods to visualise & quantify changes in phase space
Impact Patent application filed in Feb 2014 (GB1402680.1). Preliminary data have been presented at the Tomorrow's Mathematicians Today Conference (15th Feb 2014, University of Surrey) and the recent Computing in Cardiology conference (7-10th Sept 2014; Cambridge MA, USA) Multidisciplinary: Mathematics, Integrative Pharmacology
Start Year 2013
 
Description NC3Rs Maths in Medicine Study Group Workshop 
Organisation Durham University
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Provision of physiological data and interpretation of integrative physiology/pharmacology
Collaborator Contribution Mathematical analysis of physiological signals
Impact Study group report and further funding. Multidisciplinary: mathematics and integrative physiology/pharmacology
Start Year 2013
 
Description NC3Rs Maths in Medicine Study Group Workshop 
Organisation Imperial College London
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Provision of physiological data and interpretation of integrative physiology/pharmacology
Collaborator Contribution Mathematical analysis of physiological signals
Impact Study group report and further funding. Multidisciplinary: mathematics and integrative physiology/pharmacology
Start Year 2013
 
Description NC3Rs Maths in Medicine Study Group Workshop 
Organisation University College London
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Provision of physiological data and interpretation of integrative physiology/pharmacology
Collaborator Contribution Mathematical analysis of physiological signals
Impact Study group report and further funding. Multidisciplinary: mathematics and integrative physiology/pharmacology
Start Year 2013
 
Description NC3Rs Maths in Medicine Study Group Workshop 
Organisation University College Oxford
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Provision of physiological data and interpretation of integrative physiology/pharmacology
Collaborator Contribution Mathematical analysis of physiological signals
Impact Study group report and further funding. Multidisciplinary: mathematics and integrative physiology/pharmacology
Start Year 2013
 
Description NC3Rs Maths in Medicine Study Group Workshop 
Organisation University at Buffalo
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Provision of physiological data and interpretation of integrative physiology/pharmacology
Collaborator Contribution Mathematical analysis of physiological signals
Impact Study group report and further funding. Multidisciplinary: mathematics and integrative physiology/pharmacology
Start Year 2013
 
Description NC3Rs Maths in Medicine Study Group Workshop 
Organisation University of Glasgow
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Provision of physiological data and interpretation of integrative physiology/pharmacology
Collaborator Contribution Mathematical analysis of physiological signals
Impact Study group report and further funding. Multidisciplinary: mathematics and integrative physiology/pharmacology
Start Year 2013
 
Description NC3Rs Maths in Medicine Study Group Workshop 
Organisation University of Surrey
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Provision of physiological data and interpretation of integrative physiology/pharmacology
Collaborator Contribution Mathematical analysis of physiological signals
Impact Study group report and further funding. Multidisciplinary: mathematics and integrative physiology/pharmacology
Start Year 2013
 
Description Real-time imaging of Daphnia for undergraduate teaching 
Organisation University of Nottingham
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Understanding of integrative pharmacology teaching
Collaborator Contribution Knowledge hardware and software for the real-time imaging of Daphnia spp
Impact Multidisciplinary: Engineering & Pharmacology
Start Year 2012
 
Description Invited Speaker; Cheltenham Science Festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Talk sparked questions and discussion with the general public about how drugs work

Invitation to present at the BPS/London Science Festival later that year
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
URL http://www.kcl.ac.uk/newsevents/news/newsrecords/2011/06June/Kings-speakers-Cheltenham-Science-Festi...
 
Description Invited Speaker; Nature Careers Expo 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Talk sparked questions about the pharma & biotech sectors

Increased interest in careers in, working in partnership with Pharma & Biotech sectors
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012,2014
 
Description SoB Life Sciences Careers Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Talk sparked questions and discussion about careers in pharma & biotech

Increased interest in careers in industry
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012,2013,2014