'Bengaluru is the focal point for life science activity in India'

Speaking notes for Dominic McAllister, British Deputy High Commissioner Bengaluru at conference of the Association of Breast Surgeons of India.


I am very pleased to be here today and thank The Association of Breast Surgeons of India for the opportunity to speak on a subject that is very important to me and to the British High Commission in India.

I am a chemist by training, but married to an oncology pharmacist so these issues are discussed regularly in the McAllister household.

Bengaluru is the focal point for life science activity in India. At the British Deputy High Commission in Bengaluru we are tasked with developing new trade, investment and R&D into the sector. We are tasked with the developing the people-to people relationships that will take these collaborations forward.

The UK and India have a long relationship together in life sciences, and oncology is a key area of focus.

Let me set out what we have to offer each other and where we can best work together:

The UK and Oncology

The UK is a leader in cancer study right from screening and diagnostics to discovery research and healthcare delivery;

We have a single National Cancer Registry, a powerful tool for research and clinical trials;

For every 100 patients diagnosed with cancer in the UK, 21 enter clinical studies including 7 in randomised controlled trials;

85,000 patients per year are recruited to cancer research studies – more than in the USA;

Cancer Research UK (CRUK) is the world’s largest independent cancer research charity, supporting research directed by CRUK employees and grant-funded researchers, or in partnership with industry, and promoting cancer awareness;

Across the UK, 18 Experimental Cancer Medicine Centres (ECMCs), jointly supported by CRUK and the health departments for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are driving the development of new therapies and are bringing benefits to patients faster.

India and Oncology

India is the 3rd largest country affected globally;

Cancer accounts for 8% of causes of death in India;

Key cancers in India are: breast, colorectal, lung, Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL) and prostrate cancer;

Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of cancer treatment is set to rise at 6.5% pa to US$240 million by 2018;

Bengaluru is a hub for activity in research, medical technologies and for companies doing early discovery work.

Also there are good hospitals for clinical study and healthcare.

So what are we doing together?

Working together

In 2016 UKTI launched its campaign: ‘Making Cancer History’

Oncology is a critical area of work recognised in UKTI India’s wider life science strategy. We will be focusing mainly on screening and diagnostics;

Through the campaign we will:

  • build new industry-to-industry relationships;
  • create a UK-India bridge with industry participants to support collaboration. This will be driven by UKTI to bring all relevant stakeholders together to create a new ecosystem;

What we’ve been working on:

  • under the Newton-Bhabha Programme the UK Medical Research Council and Indian Department for Biotechnology (DBT) are funding three major global research centres. One of these, the MRC-DBT Joint Centre for Cancer Biology and Therapeutics will link the MRC Cancer Unit at the University of Cambridge with the National Centre for Biological Sciences in Bangalore to foster research on cancer biology and therapy through collaborative research programmes, translational research and capacity building.

  • the UK is a world leader in Precision medicine through investment in the 100,000 genomes project and better NHS access to patient data. Precision medicine has the power to develop new targeted therapies for cancer patients and is a growing area of opportunity for UK and Indian researchers. Our national innovation agency, Innovate UK established a Precision Medicine Catapult in April this year and has six centres of excellence across the UK.

  • cellworks in Bengaluru are working with Cancer Research UK and Wellcome on Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC);

  • Horizon Discovery after a mission to Bengaluru has set up here. They are working in discovery research and are developing relationships with preclinical organisations in India;

  • Wigomania, a wig manufacturer from the UK has started working with hospitals like Apollo and Healthcare Global (HCG).

Other partnerships are in the pipeline. We are looking to bring more diagnostics and technology companies in oncology together to do more, and to do it better. We are looking to link up Indian and UK R&D and innovation partners to work on next generation services

Please get in touch with the UK Trade and Investment, and the Science and Innovation teams at the British Deputy High Commission in Bengaluru if you want to learn more about our plans.

I am very grateful for this opportunity to set out our stall. I wish you all a successful conference.

Published 1 July 2016