ABPI Industry/Academic links survey 2022 An interactive report using anonymised data to analyse trends in collaborations between industry and academic institutions.

ABPI Industry/Academic links survey 2022

An interactive report using anonymised data to analyse trends in collaborations between industry and academic institutions.

When industry and academia work together, the benefits are significant for both.

 

The ABPI's latest survey of industry academic collaborations, shows the links between the two sectors are growing.

 

The many benefits of collaboration continue to be embraced and include the sharing of resources, cross functional training, and building of networks.

 

The 2022 survey highlights increases in the number of apprenticeships, PhD studentships and postdoctoral positions and also shows that undergraduate students from 79 UK institutes were supported by pharmaceutical industry through placements.

 

The pharmaceutical industry supports a growing amount of student training and research and we'll continue to do so.

Introduction to the Industry-Academic Links Report

I'm Malcolm Skingle, Chair the ABPI ACES group, and we're responsible for putting the academic liaison survey together.

My day job is as Academic Liaison Director for GSK. And I've been looking after GSK's academic collaboration portfolio for more than 20 years. I enjoy my role and I know that adds value to my company's R&D portfolio. And our academic collaboration certainly underpin our in house research and drive some of our innovations. When I first started, it was just me with the support of the halftime secretary, but over the years, we've significantly increased our portfolio, and I now manage a team of 10 split across the UK and US. We negotiate around 600 academic agreements a year and these are mainly in the US in the UK.

I initiated this survey almost 20 years ago, and we've undertaken the survey every two years since 2003. By combining the data from UK based pharma companies we've been able to highlight a significant degree of collaboration between industry and academia and to a lesser extent the NHS. Now over the years, these data have demonstrated the continued support of student training and research by pharma companies to government and the survey has also identified trends in gaps in collaborative projects and has allowed us to work with government and charitable funders to develop new calls for specific research areas.

GSK are a global company but we're headquartered in the UK and the UK is a great place to undertake academic research as the quality of the UK science base is high, and it's relatively easy to broker a collaboration agreement with most of the UK universities. Now according to the Times Higher tables, we've got 31 of the world's top 200 universities. And although we've got just 0.9% of the world's population we generate 7% of the world's publications, of which are staggering 14% are amongst the world's highest cited papers. Now the positive environment in the UK is also cited more with government, UKRI and the individual research councils to develop new calls and schemes that underpin the life sciences sector.

And this positivity is borne out in the 2022 survey. The survey shows that the pharma industry continues to engage with the academic base and at a number of levels. So for example, the number of graduate and  master level apprenticeships continues to increase as does our support for postdoctoral collaborations.

In spite of COVID, the undergrad placements into pharma also increased slightly compared to pre COVID numbers. Our support for PhD training has remained constant over the years, but the pharma industry collectively continues to co-fund and co-train hundreds of PhD students every year. And this is incredibly valuable not only to the company, the academic, but most importantly the student who can then make an educated career choice, having experienced research in both industry and academia.

Our data on undergraduate placement shows that the pharma companies are also addressing the place agenda with placements from every quarter of the UK and we're going to undergrad placements from 79 academic institutions. Now for the first time ever, our academic survey contains brief video clips like this one of those involved in the academic pharma industry collaboration, and I must thank Anneliese Garrison, who coordinated and collated the data and videos for this survey. Anneliese herself, a PhD student took time away from the bench to undertake this piece of work. So thank you very much, Anneliese. So please take the time to look at the survey results and the video clips. They are most informative and they provide a very rich data source. So thank you.

The founder of the survey, Prof Malcolm Skingle, Chair of the ABPI Academic Collaboration, Education & Skills (ACES) sponsored group and Director, Academic Liaison, GSK talks about the ABPI Industry-Academic Links Report 2022 and the benefits of collaboration.

The survey shows that the pharma industry continues to engage with the academic base.

Hi, my name is Annelise Garrison and I'm a PhD student on the Midlands Integrative Biosciences Training Partnership (MIBTP), which is a doctoral training programme. I'm also currently an intern at the ABPI.

I began my scientific career at the University of Galway in Ireland, where I did my honours bachelor's degree in pharmacology and a master's degree in regenerative medicine.

Last year I began my PhD at Aston University, which is a BBSRC and university co funded project on investigating the mechanisms of tissue fibrosis.

So, for my main research projects, I'm looking at the most exciting cell type you've probably never heard of, which are called pericytes. So pericytes are a form of mesenchymal stem cell, which cover every blood vessel in the body and provide support. However, in fibrosis, which is when the wound healing process goes wrong, and leads to excessive scarring and tissue damage, and in severe cases, organ failure, these stem cells and cell types become more troublesome.

It's estimated that about 50% of deaths in the developed world are due to fibrosis, for example, after a heart attack. So therefore, my research is of importance as it aims to assess if we can potentially prevent or reverse fibrosis by targeting these pericytes. So my PhD programme, the MIBTP, includes professional internship for PhD students also known as a PIPS. This is a three-month professional placement that allows me to develop non-research-based skills in an external host organisation.

So, I joined the ABPI for my internship to coordinate this year’s Industry Academic Links Interactive Report, where I had roles in data analysis, coordinating submissions of videos and quotes, presenting the findings internally and to member organisations and also providing layouts and designing web pages for the final launch.

So apart from my industry placement, I've also been involved in numerous collaborative projects as part of my PhD. So for example, I did a clinical diagnostics project on cytokine profiling of serum from COVID-19 patients at the University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire, which was in collaboration with Warwick Medical School, and also the NHS.

So the pandemic has affected my experience in multiple ways. I finished my bachelor's degree, I completed my entire master's degree and I also began my PhD in different lockdowns through online learning. So this meant relying on technology including video calls in order to connect with my colleagues and with the academics. But importantly, I think it taught me some really great lessons on wellbeing, on resilience, and of the importance of driving scientific research forward.

In five years time, I will have hopefully completed my PhD after nine years in academia. So therefore, I'm interested in joining the industry or collaborating with industry on various projects - in industry or through an academic role, in order to gain more exposure and ultimately to continue driving research forward and to expand our knowledge on disease states to ultimately help patients.

Annelise Garrison, an ABPI intern through a professional internship for PhD students (PIPS) placement, speaks about her role in co-ordinating the ABPI Industry-Academic Links Report 2022 and gives insights into this year’s survey

This year, we found that industry academic links are at an all time high and identified several trends that points to the continued support of pharmaceutical industry for students training and research all across the UK and worldwide.

Data Snapshot: Industry-Academic Links Over Time

Industry-academic links are at an all-time high

2,687 apprenticeships, undergraduate placements, PhDs, and postdocs were captured by the 2022 survey (Fig 1).

We found increases in apprenticeships, undergraduate placements,  and postdoctoral researchers compared to 2019 survey findings.

Apprenticeships and postdoctoral researcher positions are at an all-time high.

Collabs over time

Figure 1. Number of apprentices, undergraduate placements, PhD studentships, and postdoctorate researchers in pharmaceutical industry. 2022 apprenticeship data are compiled from 14 survey respondents including nil returns. Refer to previous iterations for more information on previous years.

In the spotlight: Significant collaborations

 

University of Cambridge-AstraZeneca Early Careers & PhD Programmes

My name is Jacqui Hall and I head up the early careers team in biopharma research and development AstraZeneca.

I studied chemistry at university and started my career as an assistant research chemist in the pharmaceutical industry over 30 years ago. I moved out of the lab early on to take on roles in clinical operations and clinical development and then later moved into senior project management and leadership roles. In recent years, I've moved into scientific learning and early careers, and I now oversee all of this large centrally run early talent, research and development for AstraZeneca from apprentices right through to postdoctoral researchers.

One of the most exciting projects I work on is a collaboration with Cambridge University to support 55 new PhD studentships. This helps to drive knowledge transfer and key areas of science that are of interest to both AstraZeneca and the university. And it also allows talented scientists to learn more about the pharma industry and explore career options that might be open to them later on.

There are huge benefits to collaborating in this way. It allows people to share ideas and experience across academia and industry, and often unlocks access to equipment resources and techniques that individual parties could not access on their own. It builds understanding with ways of working, it helps to demystify the pharma industry, and it builds network and links that lasts much longer than individual projects.

COVID-19 has strengthened the relationship and collaborative working with Cambridge University for sure.

If that relationship had not already been in place, I think it's unlikely that we could have moved so quickly to set up the COVID-19 test centre in Cambridge, for example, and knowing who to call and having those contacts in place made such a difference. Although it's not been possible to do some things in person during the pandemic, such as large face to face events. It has forced us all to think more creatively and look for alternative ways of doing things. For example, we held a two day virtual online Science Symposium with the university which was a great success, sparking new discussions and new collaborations.

Jacqui Hall, who heads the Early Careers team in Biopharma Research & Development at AstraZeneca talks about the benefits of collaboration with the University of Cambridge.

There are huge benefits to collaborating in this way. It allows people to share ideas and experience across academia and industry, and often unlocks access to equipment resources and techniques that individual parties could not access on their own. It builds understanding with ways of working, it helps to demystify the pharma industry, and it builds network and links that lasts much longer than individual projects.

I've carried out scientific research in various disease areas from osteoarthritis to neuronal cell development in academia and industry and also both in the UK in the US, before moving on to various roles that have enabled me to drive and catalyse research collaborations between academia and industry. And I specifically chose this route because I have a passion for applying academic research to real world challenges and in the biomedical sciences, this is really about translating that biological understanding that we have of pathways related to disease and applying that to drug discovery and patient benefit.

Our current project is an exciting collaboration between AstraZeneca and the University of Cambridge, which is part of our strategic partnership to support the next generation of scientists to gain those skills that they need to bridge the gap between academia and industry. AstraZeneca have committed a significant investment into 55 PhD studentships over five years at the University across a diverse range of schools and departments.

My whole career has been focused on working at that interface between academia and industry. I knew very early on that I wanted to spend my career creating a common language and identifying shared vision across the two sectors, as I believe that partnership between those two sectors is absolutely essential to maximise that potential of the scientific discoveries so that they can benefit both society and patients.

For an academic Institute, like the University of Cambridge, there are huge benefits to collaborate with industry, that complementary expertise, skills and know how and that different perspective we get access to allows projects to be shaped and take different, potentially more rewarding directions than were initially perceived. And it also gives access to valuable resources that we wouldn't normally have access to. So from tool compounds to state of the art equipment, and that means that new hypothesis can be tested that would not be possible without such a collaboration between academia and industry.

The PhD students in this cohort we'll learn about the drivers behind research in both the academic and the industry setting, and they'll also experience how to apply their newfound knowledge and scientific discoveries to real world problems. I firmly believe that this training will empower those students with the ability to make links and leaps that they would not have made without that understanding of both sectors. And ultimately, this will transform the way that they're scientists conducted and get discoveries from bench to clinic to patients faster.

Dr Kathryn Chapman, Deputy Director Milner Therapeutics Institute, University of Cambridge, talks about the benefits of collaboration.

For an academic Institute, like the University of Cambridge, there are huge benefits to collaborate with industry, that complementary expertise, skills and know how and that different perspective we get access to allows projects to be shaped and take different, potentially more rewarding directions than were initially perceived. And it also gives access to valuable resources that we wouldn't normally have access to. So from tool compounds to state of the art equipment, and that means that new hypothesis can be tested that would not be possible without such a collaboration between academia and industry.

Boehringer Ingelheim
- Senior Medical Advisor

Hello, I'm Marie Li, I'm a pharmacist by training and I completed a PhD in drug discovery at King's College London. I've really always been fascinated by drug discovery and originally planned to do a career in research, but stumbled across the medical science liaison role and was very excited about that prospect being able to utilise both my clinical and academic skills while interacting with experts in the field.

I currently work as a Senior Medical Advisor at Boehringer Ingelheim covering pipeline products and really learnt that even when a product has successfully completed all its clinical trial programmes and jumped through all those hoops and received marketing authorization, that there's still so much more that needs to be done. All my efforts right now focus on strategies that we need to implement to make sure clinicians and patients are able to access that innovative medicines.

So the current projects. I was contacted by King's College London through lecturers that taught me from my undergraduate degree about the possibility of collaborating on the world's first master's in medical affairs back in 2019. Now in 2022, I am part of the leadership team for the practical Medical Affairs module and I'm also a visiting lecturer. We have hosted three students for placements, and this is to give them a taste of medical affairs in the real life setting, and experience that cross functional collaborations that are really so critical to the pharmaceutical industry. I've also co-supervised a master's project with a colleague in market access, again, giving them that cross functional experience and this was to investigate the differences in access to all for medicinal products in the UK and Ireland.

In terms of how long I've been collaborating with academic institutions, so as I described already, I've been collaborating with them since January 2022. Now so just under a year, and after successfully hosting students for placements and completing the Master's project, and just this month were have very interesting findings which we hope to publish soon. I think it would encourage a lot of other colleagues within the company to take in supervisory roles and expand our collaboration with King's College.

The benefits to the organisation; there are many, many benefits to the organisation. So first of all, I think it provides the opportunity for the company to be more involved and visible in medical affairs community. But besides that, on a personal level, I would say I've been given a platform to network with lots of medical affairs experts. There are many other pharmaceutical companies that have been involved in this MSc as well. I think it also gives Boehringer the opportunity to help develop and shape the future talents and possibly even employees to junior colleagues can gain experience in supervising roles. Of course, having students working on masters projects can provide us with very interesting data and results for studies as well.

In terms of benefits for the students, I will say the courses organisers have done a really wonderful job at securing placements and within industry for all of the students. This really give students that real life experience for medical affairs and there's really no better way than understanding what med affairs is like on other than being immersed in that environment speaking to all the different cross functional colleagues that medical affairs, collaborate learning best practice examples, etc. They also have the opportunity to build their professional network and gain career advice from various colleagues that they get to speak to. I think the first job in pharmaceutical companies is notoriously the most difficult to get, and I'm very certain that having this experience will help enhance the employability of all the students.

Dr Marie Li, a Senior Medical Advisor at Boehringer Ingelheim, speaks about the benefits of industry-academic collaboration.

We have hosted three students for placements, and this is to give them a taste of medical affairs in the real life setting, and experience that cross functional collaborations that are really so critical to the pharmaceutical industry.

Kings College London
- Director, MSc in Medical Affairs

My name is Dr. Carl Naraynassamy. I'm a senior lecturer in Pharmaceutical Medicne and Education at King's College London. In 2021, we took in our first cohort of MSc students in medical affairs and I'm the director of this MSc.

We want our students to get a practitioner view of medical affairs. This is why for the contents of this masters, for the lectures, and also for the examinations, we work closely with various industry practitioners, scientist physicians, senior executives, vice presidents, ethicists, you name it. Not only do the industrial practitioners show to our students how they put theory into practice they also discuss and reflect on the issues they experience in the real world. This is essential to grow the next generation of industry practitioners.

At the university, naturally we do academic research. Our Medical Affairs MSc has given us a platform for research in medical affairs and myself researching the theoretical underpinnings of medical affairs and the ethics of medical affairs.  For their dissertations, students have pondered on many medical affairs issues. They have been supervised by up to 19 industry practitioners. They have researched subjects like whether Brexit has created inequity to the access of medicines within the UK and also whether companies are getting the benefits from their big investments in real world data.

We encourage our students and their industry supervisors of course, to publish the findings of these dissertations. The relationship between the students and their supervisors will therefore continue after the students have completed their degree. This is one way to foster a community of practitioners. And I'm very keen to develop a supportive professional community for medical affairs. This year, many companies gave placements to our medical affairs students. So many thanks to companies like their Boehringer Ingelheim, Gilead Merck, Novartis Novo Nordisk and Takeda. When the students were surveyed, they said that they were 100% satisfied. This satisfaction gives us added confidence to foster our collaboration with industry and to develop even more the discipline of medical affairs, its practice and also research into medical affairs.

Dr. Carl Naraynassamy, Director, MSc in Medical Affairs King's College London, speaks about the benefits of industry-academic collaboration.

Not only do the industrial practitioners show to our students how they put theory into practice they also discuss and reflect on the issues they experience in the real world. This is essential to grow the next generation of industry practitioners.

SANTEN - Global Alliances & External Research

This is Naj Sharif at Santen Inc. I'm the Vice President and Global Head of global alliances and external research. My team members are located all over the world we are busy setting up partnerships and collaborations with various companies around the world and also with many academic institutions, to set up various labs in the in their institution and to perform collaborative research. There is, in our experience a great advantage and mutual benefit to be derived from such collaborative research.

Because we cannot do everything in house within the company, and it behoves us to really seek suitable partners and collaborators outside the company. To expand our horizons in terms of using state of the art techniques and technologies which are available in the academic world because the professors and the students have to publish novel research results, which they can only obtain to such novel technologies and techniques and and through super assays, and animal models of disease that they set out to do their investigations. And we want to be part of that effort as well because collectively we can make a lot more progress than just being focused on such research in the pharma industry.

It is, to the benefits also of the students that we collaborate with in terms of exposing them to areas that ordinarily they would not have direct contact or gain experience from. And by example, I mean, giving them an insight into how the pharmaceutical industry operates. By exposing them to discussions, such as we have with the health agencies, for instance, in regulatory affairs, or to show them areas where the CMC components the so called chemical and manufacturing control systems that are applied and utilise to ensure the the purity and the validity and the stability of the drugs and the molecules that become products at the end of the day.

They there's also a lot of benefit for us as a company in terms of potentially being able to hire some of those students that we have supported during their research projects and their collaborative research that was done under the jurisdiction of such collaborative programmes. And also there is a lot of benefit for students who we are supporting it many institutions to do their PhD work and we are very happy to support such students because I think it's important for us to create the next generation of ophthalmic researchers.

Dr Naj Sharif, Vice President, Ophthalmology External Research, Santen Inc. talks about the benefits of collaboration between industry and academia.

This benefits the students that we collaborate with, in terms of exposing them to areas that ordinarily they would not have direct contact or gain experience from.

UCL Institute of Ophthalmology

I'm Shin-ichi Ohnuma. I'm a professor at the University College London. I'm a deputy director of the Institute of Ophthalmology.

We able to illustrate a mechanism ocular disease using our new animal model we are interested in ocular  cancer, such as retinoblastoma and glaucoma.

We started our collaboration with pharmaceutical industry, around 10 years ago and we have two large scale research collaboration with the two different companies. So further collaboration provides funding to create new animal models for ocular cancer research. As we still use animal models. Also this collaboration supported research associate and research postdoc through this collaboration. So we couldn't find a better mechanism for eye cancer, but also this produced several papers. Furthermore, this collaboration created further research funding. This collaboration significantly advanced our understanding of ocular cancer and provided a new strategy for the treatment of cancer. Second collaboration supported glaucoma research. This second collaboration, provide you the cases for the shingles data analysis of the glaucoma model animals. This new technology is very expensive without that collaboration we could not perform the experiment. So this study illustrates the mechanism has a good outcome.

Industrial collaboration provided some PhD studentships so that students supported by industry had a significant contribution to the science. In addition, the students have decided to stay in academia. So they are continuing to study of Ophthalmology. So as their contribution to the science, is quite a significant.

Prof Shin-ichi Ohnuma, Deputy Director - International, UCL Institute of Ophthalmology talks about the benefits of collaboration between industry and academia.

So this collaboration significantly advanced our understanding of ocular cancer and provided a new strategy towards the treatment of cancer.

GSK Academic Liaison

Many years ago during my first degree, the idea of taking a soft substance like a powder and turning that into a product that can be used to transform lives or transform health in a positive way, was quite an exciting one for me.

I had an opportunity to work as an industrial placement student while I was studying and that got me exposed to practical ways the sciences are applied to develop and discover and develop medicines, and immediately I became interested in the industrial practice. I would then go on to work for a CRO and then GSK and I did a PhD in the area of pharmaceutical development. Now over 18 years working in the industry, it has been a very fulfilling career, I have to say.

The group I work in, puts in place research collaborations. We've set cooperation agreements for the power and the scientist. So we deliver about 600 agreements a year between the US and the UK teams, some of which are very big, strategic collaboration or some are smaller collaboration or very important collaborations too. So that is a big portfolio of collaborations that we deliver year in an year out.

An example is the prospective partnerships collaboration with Francis Crick Institute is a multidisciplinary project developing systems Chemical Biology, technology, based on reactive fragment screening to accelerate the discovery of medicines. So it is a five years programme that is co-funded by the UKRI EPF RC £11.2 million, with GSK making matched of £4.2 million over that five years.

The GSK academic liaison team, led by Professor Malcolm Skingle, which is the group I work in, has been putting in place academic collaborations for more than two decades now for the R&D scientists. Personally, myself, I've been doing academic collaboration agreements for over four years.

Academic institutions provide fertile ground for innovation. Industry partners need to tap into these to this fertile ground as part of the job overall drug discovery journey. So academic institutions provide industry partners with global access to experts, smart scientists, as well as data and novel technologies that otherwise industry partners wouldn't be able to access. So the opportunity for industry to contribute to setting specification earlier on drug technology discovery is also a benefit to the industry.

Development, broaden on skill set, informed career choice, so the ability for students to work on projects alongside industry partners provides a unique opportunity to learn ways of working in a tightly regulated environment such as industry.

So collaborative projects will enable that porosity that allows the movement, whereby the students can co-locate in the industry and learn and be exposed to the different ways of working different drug discovery strategies by the industrial supply, as such will help the students compare industrial practice with academia and therefore enabling them to make career path decision upon qualification.

Dr Uche Agwo, a Senior Manager within the Global Academic Liaison group at GSK, speaks about the benefits of industry-academic collaboration.

Collaborative projects will enable porosity that allows the movement whereby the students can co-locate in the industry and learn, be exposed to the different ways of working, different drug discovery strategies that the
industry apply, and such will help the students compare industry practice with academia and therefore enabling them to make career path decisions upon qualification.

History of the survey

Since 2003, the ABPI has collected information every two years from member companies on their collaborations with academic institutions. The data collected thus far has been invaluable in measuring the number and extent of collaborations between the pharmaceutical industry in the UK and academic institutions worldwide.