Our Approach

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CRUK-TDL focuses on biologically-themed multi-project alliances with academia and commercial partners. 

A Model That Works

We bring together the best minds in basic and clinical cancer research, the rigour and drive of pharmaceutical and biotech companies, and our in-house drug discovery and alliance management capabilities to deliver breakthrough medicines for cancer patients. The themed approach drives strong partner engagement, teamwork across academia and industry, high quality target selection and efficiency in drug discovery project prosecution. In recent years, we have established successful alliances with AstraZeneca, FORMA Therapeutics, Celgene (now BMS), Merck Healthcare KGaA, Ono Pharmaceutical and LifeArc.

It is a time of exciting progress in the understanding of cancer and of great progress in the development of new therapies however, unmet need remains high across many cancer types. The incentive has never been greater to bridge the gap between cutting edge academic research and organisations with the development capabilities to rapidly bring new agents to patients. At CRUK-TDL our approach is fully aligned to making Cancer Research UK’s ambition to beat cancer sooner a reality. 

The goal of any of our alliances is to deliver a portfolio of projects within an area of cancer biology where there is compelling rationale for clinical relevance and patient selection. The themed approach allows clear delineation of alliance scope, focus for interaction with the academic community and the efficient triage and prosecution of multiple drug discovery targets.


A number of key principles underpin CRUK-TDL’s alliance philosophy:

  • Mutual benefit for academic and industry partners 
  • Early engagement of our industry partners
  • Active participation of leading PIs
  • Resource and reagents for PI labs 
  • Robust cross-validation of underlying science and approach
  • Critical mass through joint resourcing
  • Flexibility in size and scope of alliances
  • An overarching goal of optimal patient benefit



  • Alliance Model

    Our alliances build on areas where there is a critical mass of world-class basic research funded by Cancer Research UK.