The LMB is internationally renowned for world class research, innovation and technology transfer. Where possible, scientists are encouraged to exploit and disseminate their discoveries – helping to improve quality of life and the economic competitiveness of the UK and pioneering new research methods.
The LMB’s focus on curiosity-driven and long-term basic research means that the ‘development gap’ between discovery and bringing a drug to market is long. However, there have been some notable successes, including the LMB’s development of humanised monoclonal and synthetic antibodies – which now make up a third of all new drug treatments for a variety of diseases, including cancer, arthritis and asthma.
When intelligently exploited, this type of research pays handsome dividends for both human health and UK industry. For example, the licensing of the LMB’s work on human antibodies to local start-up company Cambridge Antibody Technology led to the development of Humira® a key drug in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
LMB intellectual property has also benefited the MRC, by generating an income of over £700 million (from royalties, share sales and licensing intellectual property) over the period 2005-15. However, the antibody income is now decreasing as the key patents expire.