The Industry engagement work of the ECMC Programme Office

25 Jul 2022

The ECMC Industry Engagement team, since 2018 has focused on promoting the network externally (via national and international conferences) and building relationships not just with Pharma, Biotech, Medtech and CROs but with key stakeholders including our sites, UK regulators and the various teams within the NIHR  infrastructure who engage with industry. 

Over the past 4 years, we have seen an increase in engagement with companies which has led to a significant increase in commercial trial opportunities coming to the Network via the Programme Office. Site responsiveness to commercial trial opportunities has remained high with 90.4% of opportunities submitted to the Network resulting in at least 1 site expressing interest in participating in 2021 (see infographic above)

Our industry/academic collaboration framework supports engagement to access academic insight for development plans or protocol advice, in addition to supporting engagement to progress Investigator Trial Proposals. To date the IE team have hosted 6 webinars with 5 companies and 15 trial proposals with the first webinar held in 2019. These webinars support the discussion of both pre-clinical and clinical data under a network NDA and enable rich discussion on future development plans. 

The PO regularly meets with Sponsors to raise awareness of the Network, understand challenges and position the UK as the place of choice for early phase oncology research. Members of the Programme Office team attended ASCO in June 2022 (after a 2-year hiatus) and met with several companies to discuss collaboration opportunities for both the Adult and Paediatric Networks. This year, the Industry Engagement team also invited NIHR CRN Business Development to support generation of a ‘One NIHR’ outline of UK oncology research capabilities for a Sponsor.

With respect to our paediatric and TYA activities, since 2018, more than 30 opportunities have been shared with the Paediatric Network and we have recently had 3 additional companies express interest in signing our master paediatric NDA, due to arising opportunities for studies to be placed across the network. We will be working closely with pharma partners with paediatric/TYA-specific interests to ensure the UK remains an attractive choice for conducting early-phase paediatric & TYA specific studies. For the first time, we also plan to meet with Pharma partners at the upcoming SIOP (International Society of Paediatric Oncology) conference in Barcelona, to discuss opportunities for the ECMC to support company’s early phase CYP development plans. 

Looking ahead, whilst we continue to support large pharma, we are increasingly engaging with smaller biotech from the UK, US and Europe to support their transition to FIH research, we are seeing an increase in Medtech opportunities coming to the network and continue to build our engagement with CROs, utilising the Network Intelligence dashboards to provide a more in-depth view of network capabilities.