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9 November, 2017 - 23:24 By Tony Quested

Cambridge drug discovery company opens US office

RxCelerate David Grainger

Cambridge-based RxCelerate, one of the leading out-sourced drug discovery and development platforms in the UK, has opened a US office near Boston and made a significant hire to steer the initiative.

Laura Hamilton becomes executive vice-president, US Operations at the new Cambridge, Massachusetts centre.

Founded in 2012, RxCelerate offers a fully integrated discovery and development service to the pharma and biotech industry, ranging from medicinal chemistry, antibody discovery, preclinical safety and efficacy through to clinical proof of concept. 

The RxCelerate team has grown to more than 40 experienced scientists. Clients range from entirely virtual startups, using RxCelerate as their infrastructure, through to three of the top 15 global pharmaceutical companies. 

CEO Jill Reckless said: “We are bringing RxCelerate's unique model for out-sourced drug discovery and development to the heart of the largest and most vibrant life sciences cluster on the planet.

“With our home in Europe's largest bioscience cluster, establishing a base in the epicentre of American biotech seemed to be the logical next step. We already have a number of US clients, but this new move brings us right to their doorstep.”

RxCelerate is headquartered on the Babraham Research Campus, home to more than 30 life science companies.

Laura Hamilton has joined RxCelerate from the local industry trade association, MassBio. She says: “There is huge demand for drug discovery and development services in the greater Boston area and I look forward to introducing many more companies to the unique RxCelerate approach.

“I am certain RxCelerate can be as successful in Cambridge, Massachusetts, as it has been in Cambridge, England."

With Department for International Trade (DIT) support over the last two years, RxCelerate began to develop its international trade strategy and looked to expand abroad. 

DIT international trade advisers provided the company with local market insights, advice on export strategy and connected them to key target companies in the US, leading to a significant increase in export business in 2017, underpinning the opening of the Boston office.

Baroness Rona Fairhead, Minister of State for Trade and Export Promotion, said: “We are delighted to support an exciting UK-grown biotech company as it takes its first steps into new markets. 

“The goal of our department is to support UK companies, large and small, sell ever-more of their products and services overseas. RxCelerate is a great example of what can be achieved by a U.K. company taking advantage of global demand.”

RxCelerate offers a wide range of services. The biology team specialises in in vivo pharmacology, offering proprietary models of a wide range of human diseases, as well as complex cell-based assays. 

The chemistry team provides medicinal chemistry, including in silico screening, and synthesis that integrates seamlessly with the in vitro testing capability. 

A dedicated team designs the optimum discovery or development strategy for each project, as well as integrated program management. By working closely together, these teams can deliver pharma-grade drug product candidates at a fraction of the cost of traditional approaches.

Executive chairman David Grainger said: “Contract Research Organisations often provide an excellent way of increasing capacity, acting as extra pairs of hands to perform experiments you design with them – but RxCelerate is different.

“We are architects of drug discovery and development, rather than builders. Our clients need provide nothing more than the target they are interested in  and RxCelerate will deliver a pharma-grade product candidate and progress it into the clinic.

“We are deeply integrated into the life sciences ecosystem. With our new US base, that ecosystem just got a whole lot bigger.”

• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: David Grainger

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