No other topic resonated throughout the panels and workshops of our inaugural Bio Integrates conference as much as collaboration. Its importance was one of the key themes of the day, from the initial concept to the final product or service.

During his keynote address, Mogrify CEO Darrin Disley set the tone for the day by challenging delegates to find ways to both help others and ask for help themselves. This was picked up by Steve McConchie, CEO of Aptus Clinical, who emphasised the importance of “a team with genuine relationships working together” across private, public and third-party entities. In fact, Aptus is embracing this collaborative spirit along with SEDA and Apconix through the APTrans initiative at the Alderley Park biotech hub, as a consortium of companies working together as a virtual project team.

Building a network and relationships is especially crucial at the early stages of any venture; a point reinforced when discussing the importance of working with potential buyers and when driving the adoption of new technologies, with Martino Picardo, Chairman of Discovery Park Kent, commenting: “When trying to drive your technology forward, nothing beats building and using your network.”

With drug development also moving away from an integrated model and towards several different specialist providers, relationships with the customer and others in the supply chain become even more important. Alex Slater, VP at Science Exchange, described the key to winning contracts as “knowing your customer, not overselling, being transparent, and focusing on communication”.

Engaging larger organisations to collaborate with businesses and academics to develop new ideas and remove barriers to commercialisation has seen great success. In fact, one Bio Integrates panel saw Steve Self, Commercial Director of Stream Bio, highlight how support from CPI and Innovate UK enabled their technology to reach commercialisation and expand the company’s product range.

Globally, the UK biotech sector continues to play a pivotal role in international partnerships, from academia to industry. Whether it be Imperial College’s status as the UK’s number one research collaborator with China; the University of Manchester partnering with multinational organisations from across the chemistry, biotechnology and biopharmaceutical sectors including GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Unilever and Pfizer; or US genomics accelerator Illumina selecting Cambridge as its first international presence, productive relationships allow innovation to thrive on a local, national and international scale.

Looking to the future, data sharing is becoming an increasingly important aspect of collaboration, whether it is a partnership between pharma and tech companies such as the $300m deal between GSK and consumer science company 23andMe or even working to improve the sharing of clinical trial data between pharma companies. And whilst the nature of the partnerships is becoming more complex and technical, the concept of forging successful working relationships at any stage of the development process remains essential to the success of the final product.

At Pharma Integrates in November, we will discuss the role of strategic relationships in accelerating early-stage productivity, as well as how collaboration across the supply chain can fast track advanced therapies to patients. We hope to see you there!

Want to learn more? Audio from all the roundtable discussions, breakout sessions and keynote presentations at Bio Integrates is available here.