Andy Carr is a Business Development Manager in the Business and Innovation Office at The Institute of Cancer Research, London. He develops relationships between the ICR and its researchers and a range of different companies – to commercialise academic discoveries, inventions and innovations, and accelerate their passage to patients.
He is currently looking for companies who will be among the first to realise the benefits of locating at The London Cancer Hub by taking space at the Innovation Gateway – a brand new incubator space that will be home to a range of life-sciences companies from 2021.
Tell us about yourself – what’s your background?
I have more than 22 years of experience from working with technology companies and on economic development projects. As Head of Enterprise at City of London Corporation, I designed a new economic strategy for the City of London Corporation. My other career highlights to date include securing a £3m bid to create the South East of England Technology Hub with the University of Sussex and winning a £5m Pan-European project to develop new technologies for the offshore power generating sector.
Talk us through your typical day
I have two kinds of day. Either I am in the office (which is currently based at my home!) developing new projects or plans, or I am out and about, meeting our scientists, and with a range of companies who may form commercial relationships with the ICR and our scientists.
What big projects are you working on right now?
The London Cancer Hub is pretty big at 280,000 square metres! We’re currently renovating around 6,300 square feet of incubator space set at the heart of the site. My role is to find the first wave of life-science companies of all sizes to take up space at this Innovation Gateway – companies that will benefit from working directly alongside world-class cancer scientists and clinicians at the ICR and its hospital partner, The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust.
What type of companies are you looking to occupy the Innovation Gateway?
We’re expecting the first occupiers will be life-sciences or technology companies of various kinds with an interest in cancer. These could be of any size – so anything from small start-ups through to Big Pharma who are looking to co-locate individuals or teams. They will be attracted by the opportunities to co-locate and collaborate with world-class ICR scientists and clinicians – or to access specialist equipment.
What are the benefits for companies?
There are too many to list! As well as the close proximity to world-class cancer researchers and clinicians, we have many other exciting plans to encourage collaboration across disciplines and sectors. The ICR will be providing business services, training and knowledge exchange opportunities to nurture and empower small companies.
Other benefits for companies of taking up space at the new incubator include the availability of short-term or flexible contracts with favourable terms and the location in Sutton, south London, which benefits from its proximity to London while being outside of the centre, where the cost of renting research facilities can be prohibitively expensive for smaller companies.
What else is happening at The London Cancer Hub?
Other recent developments include the ICR’s £75m Centre for Cancer Drug Discovery, which is due to open soon. This state-of-the-art facility will build on our world-leading drug discovery research – we have discovered 20 drug candidates since 2005, and taken 10 into clinical trials – and is situated just metres away from the Innovation Gateway. There will be exciting opportunities for companies to work closely with teams there. There is also a flagship Knowledge Centre in the pipeline, which will host labs, offices, business engagement activities and collaboration and events space.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I have for many years been convinced that better collaboration between academia and industry is key to improving life for us all. Even more so in the UK, where we have such strength in academic research. This is my chance to show that I'm right!
Get in touch with Andy to find out more about the opportunities at the Innovation Gateway.