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Universities should do more to boost drug innovation, says ICR chief

The recently appointed chief executive of the Institute of Cancer Research in London, Paul Workman, says that universities need to do more to shoulder the risks of drug development to help get more treatments to market faster.

Universities need to reduce the risk for industry in a drug-development ecosystem that has become risk-averse, says Workman, whose position as chief executive of the ICR was made permanent on 24 November. 

He told Research Fortnight that universities could do this by moving beyond conducting basic disease research to developing therapeutics and demonstrating initial clinical efficacy. The ICR itself has taken seven drugs into clinical trials since 2005, and in 2013 it received £11.2 million in royalties from drugs it has developed and then licensed to pharmaceutical companies. 

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