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 fundamental research means that the ‘development gap’ between LMB discoveries and bringing new treatments and/or diagnostics to the market is wide.
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.
LMB researchers are supported by LifeArc (originally launched as MRC Technology in the 1990s) in advancing novel discoveries to accelerate impact and benefit health by providing funding to support translation, assisting in the establishment of collaborative agreements with industrial partners, advising on commercial potential, protecting intellectual property and catalysing commercialisation via licensing to industry or spin-out company creation.
When intelligently exploited, fundamental 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.
Intellectual property created at the LMB has also benefited the MRC through income generation. Although antibody income is now decreasing as key patents expire, to date an income of over £700 million from royalties, share sales and licensing of a range of intellectual property has been generated.
For more information about the work done by LifeArc to accelerate the impact of research done by LMB scientists, and those at other MRC establishments, please see the LifeArc “Expanding horizons” brochure.