The Medicines Discovery Catapult technology and innovation centre in Cheshire has named its first chief executive.

Chris Molloy pledged to lead an organisation that will shape drug discovery and development in the UK after he takes up his post at Alderley Park in November.

He is currently chief executive at the RSA Group, a leading global life sciences executive search and management specialist.

“Fundamental to the Catapult’s mission will be the fact that great people make great R&D, something I have seen throughout my career and recently in advising RSA’s global clients,” he said.

“The Catapult will engage the UK’s experienced drug discovery talent and help launch a new generation of drug R&D leaders into a successful future.

“It is an incredibly exciting and forward-thinking organisation that will actively shape the direction of travel in drug discovery and development and enable others in the UK to do so too.”

Molloy has significant senior level experience across pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, informatics and start-up sectors.

He began his drug discovery career at Glaxo and is a former chief operating officer at MerLion Pharmaceuticals and former vice-president corporate development and marketing at IDBS, a software company that aims to improve R&D through better access to data.

The Medicines Discovery Catapult will work alongside industry, technologists, academics and regulators to develop and implement new ways to discover medicines.

Its chairman Professor Graham Boulnois said: “We are delighted to bring Chris on board as we start our exciting journey at the Medicines Discovery Catapult.

“Chris’s experience of leading companies operating in life sciences, combined with his in-depth knowledge of drug discovery, will be of tremendous value to the company.”

The UK now has 11 Catapult centres – not-for-profit, independent technology and innovation centres set up by Innovate UK – with each focused on a specific industry.

They connect businesses with the UK’s research and academic communities, and help them to access expert help and specialist facilities. 

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