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Innovation and access to drugs and therapies

Efficacy and performance of new drugs and treatments

Improving healthcare and enabling new treatments through measurement

We need new drugs and therapies, with better efficacy and clinical performance. They need to reach the marketplace faster, at lower cost and in line with regulation. At the same time, the move towards personalised medicine has great potential in delivering improved patient outcomes.

New financial, research and regulatory models for drug discovery and development aim to encourage investment in areas of critical need, such as pandemic preparedness and antimicrobial resistance. To take full advantage of emerging opportunities, through the development of innovative new therapeutic approaches the healthcare industry faces many challenges, including:

  • the need to reduce expensive late stage failure rates (drug attrition) through techniques that reduce uncertainty and increase the information from pre-clinical safety assessment
  • integration of 'omics' technologies and systems biology to provide simulations and predictions that are based upon reliable data
  • better quantitative understanding of biological systems and related processes and the application of engineering biology approaches and systems to enable scale-down, scale-up and scale-out of products
  • improvements in manufacture, delivery, analysis and quality control of complex medicines, advanced therapies and bioproducts (including point of care manufacture). This includes the application of adaptive manufacturing and the establishment of Pharma 4.0, the digitisation of medicines manufacture.

Addressing challenges in new drugs and treatment regimes

Our work is supporting researchers developing new drugs and therapies through:

  • validation and standardisation of analytical methods to determine and structurally characterise bio-species within biological tissue and cell samples
  • development of measurements and reference materials to support real-time, label-free, live cell imaging for targeted drug delivery
  • increasing confidence in measurements at the cellular and subcellular level to enable greater integration of ‘omics' technologies and systems biology
  • insights into characterisation, formulation and quality in manufacturing bio-based materials
  • provision of QA/QC standards, reference materials, higher order methodologies and good practice guides
  • development of a 'metrology toolbox' for standardisation and validation of engineering biology approaches to manufacture
  • delivery of high quality experimental data to feed into digital twins for predictive modelling

The programmes above are underpinned by our work as the UK’s National metrology institute and the realisation and maintenance of SI units along with primary and secondary standards.

If you have a research collaboration where our expertise can help, please contact the team and discuss your project.

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Case study

New subcellular imaging to support pharmaceutical innovation


Case study

Electrochemical device makes safe and affordable biocide disinfectant


Case study

Optimising viral vaccine development


Working with NPL

Our researchers are at the forefront of new innovations that promise to deliver new solutions to healthcare challenges, and also play a vital role in providing the standards and assurance to accelerate their route to market. Learn more about our research areas and working with our experts.  

If you have a research collaboration where our expertise can help, please can contact the team and discuss your challenge.

Contact us

Building a 'Google Earth' of cancer

The Grand Challenge, a new Cancer Research UK initiative, aims to overcome the biggest challenges facing cancer researchers in a global effort to beat cancer sooner. Funded through the scheme, NPL's Professor Josephine Bunch leads a group of international and multidisciplinary chemists, physicists and biologists from the UK to develop a reproducible, standardised way to fully map tumours with extraordinary precision.

Google earth project

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Find out more about the range of work we do in life sciences and health.

Work with us

Our research and measurement solutions support innovation and product development. We work with companies to deliver business advantage and commercial success.
Contact our Customer Services team on +44 20 8943 7070