Pioneering Centre for Cancer Drug Discovery opens at The London Cancer Hub site in Sutton

Cancer Hub

Published Thursday, 19th November 2020

The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) has opened a new state of the art Centre for Cancer Drug Discovery at Sutton’s London Cancer Hub site.

The opening of the centre marks an important step in the development of the London Cancer Hub, a global centre for cancer research and innovation delivering real benefits for cancer patients and for the local and UK economy. Sutton Council is working closely with partners, including the ICR, the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, the Greater London Authority and Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust to redevelop the whole site, ensuring they have facilities of the highest quality for their crucial work.

The new, world-leading £75m centre, which covers 7,300 square metres will house the world’s first ‘Darwinian’ drug discovery programme alongside various other promising projects centred on discovering new strategies to tackle cancer.

The pioneering research facility will also bring together around 300 leading scientists to create new resistance-busting treatments and therapeutic approaches, with a focus on overcoming or redirecting the whole process of cancer evolution.

Sutton Council is also currently re-modelling the former temporary school on the site to create the Innovation Gateway, a new, modern incubator space that will enable start up companies and other science led enterprises to collaborate with some of the top cancer researchers in the world.  

The London Cancer Hub will help attract world-class researchers from across the globe to be part of London’s thriving life-science industry. It will be a game changer for UK cancer research – increasing the number of drugs that the ICR and its partners can discover, develop and commercialise and increasing the chances of transformative new cancer treatments reaching patients.

It will attract UK and international businesses, bringing high-value investment, skills and knowledge to Sutton generating a projected £13m in business rates and £1.2bn GVA to the UK economy annually. It will create 13,000 jobs and inspire and educate future scientists and clinicians, providing opportunities for the next generation of research leaders to pursue careers in science.

Councillor Ruth Dombey, Leader of Sutton Council, said:

"I am delighted that Sutton is now home to this world-leading cancer research centre, cementing our borough's position at the heart of the global pursuit for cancer cures and treatments.

"The work that will be done at the Centre for Drug Discovery is truly inspiring to learn about, and I'm pleased that the links we have fostered between Sutton schools and the ICR mean that some of the next generation of cancer-beating scientists could come from the Cancer Hub's own doorstep. 

"Sutton Council's partnership with the ICR and commitment to the ongoing development of the London Cancer Hub will also bring wide-ranging opportunities and benefits to the wider community. 

"I congratulate our partners on the opening of the Centre and wish our scientists the very best with their vital research."

Professor Paul Workman, Chief Executive of The Institute of Cancer Research, London, said:

“This new building is the embodiment of our research strategy, which centres on overcoming cancer evolution and drug resistance – the major challenge we face today in cancer research and treatment. The Centre will bring together our cancer evolution scientists with our drug discovery researchers all under one roof, so they can more easily share ideas and spark new discoveries.

“We have highly ambitious plans. The Centre will help us find new ways to overcome drug resistance so that we can manage patients for much longer with a good quality of life, just as is done with diseases like HIV and diabetes, while also increasing their chances of cure.

“The Centre would not have been possible were it not for the amazing generosity and strategic vision of our donors, funders and partners, and we are so grateful for their support. We are now focusing on raising funds to help us equip the building and to get our research in the new Centre off to the best possible start.”

The new Centre was given a virtual opening on Tuesday 17 November 2020 at an online event to celebrate the support the ICR has received from donors, funders and partners who made the building possible.