Full Disclosure of interactions with Industry

Research collaborations and partnerships with industry that are focused on advancing science and achieving benefits for cancer patients

In order for Cancer Research UK to operate effectively as a cancer research charity and to accelerate progress to see three-quarters of people surviving the disease by 2034, it is necessary for Cancer Research UK to enter into partnerships with industry (including pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies). As a member of the Association of Medical Research Charities, when Cancer Research UK enters into research collaborations with industry it seeks to follow the principles set out in https://www.amrc.org.uk/Handlers/Download.ashx?IDMF=fa2c3b7c-8184-45c4-87a2-e6d1b8a6888f (‘An Essential Partnership: A guide for charities working with industry’), including; (a) integrity: both parties should act honestly and with integrity at all times; (b) independence: charities should maintain their independence from the company concerned; and (c) transparency: charities should be entirely open about their collaborations with industry. The AMRC guidance recognises that confidentiality provisions are commonly included in research partnership agreements which will constrain the amount of information that medical research charities can make available publicly. The guidance also states that “charities should report their research collaborations and the financial contributions received from industry in their annual reports and accounts”. Cancer Research UK does include this information in its annual report and accounts. Additional information is provided on this page concerning the research and other partnerships which Cancer Research UK forms with industry. 

 One example of partnerships with industry which are important to Cancer Research UK in delivering benefits to cancer patients is the work that Cancer Research UK does to organise and sponsor clinical trials for novel drugs and other agents. These drugs and agents are often provided by pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies under contractual arrangements which are likely to provide Cancer Research UK with a share of the commercial success of the drug or agent that is tested.

The most common types of research partnership that Cancer Research UK will form with industry are: (a) agreements under which a commercial partner will obtain access to the results of Cancer Research UK funded research and will develop for patient benefit new drugs or other technologies and which will include a requirement that the partner makes certain payments to Cancer Research UK; and (b) agreements under which a commercial partner will fund the cost of cancer research at a UK university or other academic research institution. To the extent that Cancer Research UK receives income from these and other research partnerships, we have sought to include as comprehensively as we can the aggregate sums received. As explained below, additional sums may have been received by universities or other academic research institutions which information is not reported on this page and may be available from those organisations.

Revenue generated through research partnerships with industry provides valuable support for future investment in research. Cancer Research UK aims to fairly balance the early-stage nature of its research and the significant industry investment needed to bring new therapeutics and other technologies to market so that they can provide tangible benefits to patients. In relation to such partnerships, Cancer Research UK staff strive to understand the potential benefit to both industry and patients, negotiate terms that appropriately reflect the value of the technology, and in so doing, secure a fair return for Cancer Research UK. 

In entering into research collaborations, Cancer Research UK will often operate through its wholly owned subsidiary company, Cancer Research Technology Limited. The financial results achieved by this subsidiary company are reflected in Cancer Research UK’s annual report and accounts (and also in the statutory accounts filed at Companies House) which are publicly available https://find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk/company/01626049.

The income received by Cancer Research UK (and Cancer Research Technology Limited) from such research partnerships with pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry in the FY 20/21 is: £22,853,369.27. This amount came from interactions with 120 different Pharma companies including:

  • Astra Zeneca
  • Pfizer
  • Merck
  • Amgen
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • Roche

In order for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to be able to invest the very substantial sums required to develop technologies which have the potential to benefit patients they typically require that details (including financial information) of research partnership agreements are kept confidential.  It is therefore not possible to disclose the detailed content of these agreements.

In many cases, the research partnerships involving Cancer Research UK-funded researchers will involve payments being made by companies to Universities and other academic research institutions which operate independently of Cancer Research UK. These partnerships fund cancer research directly at those universities and institutions and may be of real value in delivering benefits for patients but because Cancer Research UK does not receive the funding, information on such funding is not provided here. When income is received by Cancer Research UK from research partnerships that have involved research funded by Cancer Research UK and which has been undertaken at Universities or other academic research institutions, it is very likely that income will be shared by Cancer Research UK with the University or research institution concerned. In turn, those Universities and academic research institutions will often share some income with the researchers who have participated in the research (under the applicable reward to inventor policy). 

Companies spun out from Cancer Research UK (in which CRUK held an equity stake at the start of the financial year) raised external equity finance totalling £822m during the financial year of which CRUK received an amount of £3,430,662.01. These were from 19 different companies including:

  • iOnctura
  • Artios Pharma
  • Psioxus Therapeutics
  • Amplia Therapeutics
  • Achilles Therapeutics
  • Cellinta
  • Zygosity

More details of this funding can be found the Cancer Research UK Commercial Partnerships Annual Review http://commercial.cancerresearchuk.org/sites/default/files/Commercial%20Partnerships%20Annual%20Review%202020-2021.pdf

Sometimes, through Cancer Research Technology Limited, Cancer Research UK will receive shares rather than financial payments when research partnerships are created. Cancer Research UK does not usually apply a market value to such shareholdings but some information concerning these shareholdings can be found in Cancer Research Technology Limited’s statutory accounts filed at Companies House. When new companies are formed to develop the results of Cancer Research UK-funded research, private sector investors will usually allocate shares to universities as well as to Cancer Research Technology Limited. Commonly the investors will also provide shares to academic researchers associated with the new company under consultancy and other contracts.

Further information on how Cancer Research UK delivers impact from the research it funds is found here: http://commercial.cancerresearchuk.org/news

Fundraising partnerships with industry (industry donations) 

In addition to the partnerships with industry that Cancer Research UK enters into which have as their principal focus the funding of cancer research activities or the development of discoveries made by Cancer Research UK-funded researchers (referred to above), Cancer Research UK may also enter into partnerships which have as their objective the raising of funds from partners which Cancer Research UK will include within its reported annual fundraising. Cancer Research UK has a number of partnerships with commercial entities operating in a variety of sectors (including retail) which generate income for the charity. Cancer Research UK recognises that entering into fundraising partnerships with pharmaceutical companies require it to ensure that particular care is taken to ensure that Cancer Research UK’s independence is preserved. Accordingly, Cancer Research UK has adopted principles for fundraising partnerships with pharmaceutical companies including: 

  • Income raised from pharmaceutical companies will not exceed in aggregate 5% of Cancer Research UK’s annual turnover (and income from any one company will not exceed 2.5%);
  • Any fundraising partnership with a pharmaceutical company should operate on a non-exclusive basis;
  • Fundraising partnerships with pharma companies will not in any way influence how funds are spent on research or any aspect of Cancer Research UK’s work;
  • Cancer Research UK will make decisions relating to the funding of research entirely independently of, and uninfluenced by, any fundraising partnership, through peer-review and other funding mechanisms used customarily by Cancer Research UK. Funding will be made available to grantees under the standard terms and conditions of Cancer Research UK grants which include provisions relating to conflicts of interest, free publication of results and data sharing  [https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/funding-for-researchers/applying-for-fu...
  • Cancer Research UK will retain an independent voice on all policy & information work and have the freedom to select which organisation it wishes to engage with in developing their policies, regardless of any fundraising partnerships with pharma;
  • Unlike research partnerships referred to above, any pharmaceutical company entering into a fundraising partnership with Cancer Research UK will not have preferential access to any research data relating to the projects Cancer Research UK funds;
  • Particular care will be taken by Cancer Research UK in connection with any permission granted to a pharmaceutical company for the company’s use of Cancer Research UK’s name and brand.

The income received from such fundraising partnerships with industry in the FY 20/21 period is: £91,000.00.  Made up of:

  • J&J                                     £30,000.00
  • MSD                                   £11,000.00
  • GlaxoSmithKline                £50,000.00

Sometimes staff employed by a pharmaceutical company will decide to make donations to Cancer Research UK through voluntary schemes operated by their employers and these donations are treated by Cancer Research UK as individual donations and are not be included in the figure above.

Conflicts of interest (in relation to all the types of partnership listed above)

Cancer Research UK operates a process in which its senior staff are required to declare financial and other material interests (directorships etc.) held with any industrial partners of Cancer Research UK. Care is taken by Cancer Research UK to ensure that in any research or fundraising partnership care is taken to identify and manage any conflicts of interest.