News story

Medicines Discovery Catapult names its first chief executive

Life sciences business leader and drug discovery expert Chris Molloy to lead Medicines Discovery Catapult technology and innovation centre.

The first chief executive of the Medicines Discovery Catapult Chris Molloy has pledged to lead an organisation that will shape drug discovery and development in the UK and help others to do the same.

Chris is currently chief executive at the RSA Group, a leading global life sciences executive search and management specialist. He has significant senior level experience across pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, informatics and start-up sectors, and takes up his new post in November.

Chris said:

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.

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.

Innovation leaders welcome appointment

Chief executive of Innovate UK Dr Ruth McKernan said:

This is an excellent appointment for the Medicines Discovery Catapult. Chris’s long-standing experience and expertise in the international life sciences sector will be invaluable to the Catapult’s development, and I look forward to working closely with him.

Chris began his drug discovery career at Glaxo and was instrumental in helping to deliver specialist automation and informatics systems that had a significant impact on research.

He is a former chief operating officer at MerLion Pharmaceuticals and a 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 is based at Alderley Park in the north west of England. It will work alongside industry, technologists, academics and regulators to develop and implement new ways to discover medicines.

Chairman of the Medicines Discovery Catapult 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.

UK now has 11 Catapult centres

Catapults are not-for-profit, independent technology and innovation centres set up by Innovate UK.

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

There are now 11 Catapults, each focusing on a specific industry,