Crick scientists are able to work with the Translation team and access advice from industry and entrepreneurs from the very beginning.
The close proximity of applied scientists, clinicians and business people to Crick researchers is key to our approach and helps make sure projects develop in productive directions.
An outline of the general steps is as follows, though developing a technology is not a smooth process and will not tend to follow a straight path.
Advancing a discovery
1. An idea
A scientist working in a Crick lab has an idea. It could be:
- A new treatment for patients
- Something to prevent a disorder progressing
- A new diagnostic test
- A technology that might enable new science studies.
The first thing they do is talk to the Translation team.
2. A conversation
The scientists and Translation team have a discussion about what an application of their research might look like.
Experiments that might help show its potential are talked through. Funding can be provided to gain confidence in a concept by supporting key experiments.
3. Early input
The Translation team will involve industry partners, entrepreneurs, clinicians and other experts to help refine the ideas from this very early stage.
This expertise and mentorship on translation makes sure that ideas are developed and experiments build towards real products.
4. A plan is developed
Should the experiments look good and give confidence in the concept, a full development plan is put together. The plan will be different for each project depending on its application.
Questions asked at this point might include:
- What is the unmet need?
- Is it novel?
- Who would use it?
- How do we get it to patients or those who will use the technology?
The best route for developing the concept further is considered. It might be:
- Collaborating with industry
- Forming a new company
- Disseminate the concept openly and support its adoption
5. Ongoing support
With a project plan and all the steps laid out, the scientist is supported with regular meetings.
A network of contacts in industry can help product development and identify further experiments to verify its promise.
As projects develop and change, the plan can respond.
6. Find partners
An initial idea or technology is quite likely to require further development before becoming a product for patient benefit. The aim is to get the idea to the point of implementation and adoption by those who are able to make it a reality.
That might be those who can do clinical trials of a new medicine, or those who can take forward the development, user testing and marketing of a new technology.
It’s then that a new idea or a new discovery can make a difference and improve healthcare.