Therapeutic innovation

Image of a researcher looking at a cell image

We are committed to driving therapeutic innovation in oncology, with six drug discovery sites and one focus: accelerating the discovery and development of new therapeutics.

Our drug discovery engine unites the strength of our network of world-class biology with cutting-edge technology platforms and clinical expertise.

We bring together the best minds in therapeutic discovery to embrace bold thinking, brave decision making and commercial rigour, to solve the biggest challenges in developing cancer drugs.

Our purpose

Our organisation has been created to change the global cancer landscape. We streamline the translation of cutting-edge innovations to accelerate the discovery and development of new therapeutics. Our drug discovery sites, embedded in some of the UK's leading academic centres, are a unified enterprise, that combine our professional drug discovery expertise with partnerships that deliver impact.

We provide unparalleled, flexible support to our research and industry partners through our capabilities, engagement with our extensive network of experts, and financially.

Our motivation is patient benefit. We are not beholden to investors, governments or shareholders. Our bold drug discovery model embraces risk to drive forward early-stage projects, with a focus on creating a pipeline of breakthrough medicines for cancer patients that will last for decades to come. 

We focus on tougher, more profound, ideas. We embrace and learn from failure as a sign that we are making a unique contribution to beating cancer.

Discover our fresh approach to drug discovery

Breadth of our offering

We build on Cancer Research UK's impressive track record of innovative drug development and commercialisation. We've played an instrumental role in forming over 60 spin-out companies and bringing 11 new cancer drugs to market. With exclusive rights to over £400 million of world-class cancer research each year, we’re a powerful partner in the fight to conquer cancer. We bridge the gap between academia and pharma sectors, covering all stages of the drug discovery process, fostering a new era of truly multidisciplinary collaboration.


Scientists looking at results

Fast-tracking breakthroughs to clinical trials

Our expertise spans from basic research to clinical research, enabling us to streamline the process of translating your therapeutic innovation from any stage of drug discovery and development through to early clinical trials via Cancer Research UK's Centre for Drug Development. 


Translate your discoveries with the Therapeutic Catalyst award

Our Therapeutic Catalyst award is designed to support exploratory drug discovery efforts to validate and de-risk targets and technologies and position them for onward investment and progression. As a researcher, it means that you have the potential to take your idea from bench to patients with a single funder and partner.

The Francis Crick Institute in London aerial shot

Our drug discovery hotspots

Our 200-strong team of passionate and creative scientists work across our 6 drug discovery sites, leveraged in our unique collaborative model by industry partners, to accelerate breakthroughs. 


Our therapeutic alliance model

Our alliances bring teams of PIs and commercial partners together with our experts to develop project portfolios in high-value cancer theme areas.

Scientist working in a lab

Our governance

Our Therapeutic Innovation leadership features world-leading experts in the fields of oncology and drug discovery, who are committed to changing the landscape of cancer research.