30th June 2023

Paddington’s thriving life sciences cluster makes official debut


Paddington Life Sciences launch event

On Tuesday 13 June, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust marked the official launch of Paddington Life Sciences and announced the leading life sciences organisations joining the partnership. 

At the launch event and panel discussion hosted at IQVIA, attendees from NHS, academia, industry, local organisations, and stakeholders from across the life sciences sector gathered to mark the next phase in the ambitious vision of growing a life sciences cluster in Paddington. A cohort of high-profile names, including Lord James O'Shaughnessy and Lord James Bethell, were also amongst the attendees. 

Last year, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust set out its vision for Paddington Life Sciences – a collaboration between the NHS, academia, industry and organisations representing local people and businesses, centered around St Mary's Hospital.

Opening the event, Professor Tim Orchard, CEO of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trusts, highlighted the huge achievements in health and life sciences innovation that have led to improved patient outcomes and said that no other health system in the world has the breadth or depth of health data of the NHS. 

Formally launching the new cluster, Professor Tim Orchard said: "As we are embarking on a new chapter of health care innovation. Now more than ever, life sciences is key to the future of the NHS and we must make sure the NHS is key to the future of life sciences in this country. Establishing a more structured collaboration, centred around St Mary’s, with the formation of Paddington Life Sciences Partners is now creating a life sciences ecosystem opening up a range of opportunities to expand and accelerate innovation and to improve health and wellbeing, locally and globally."

The panel discussion chaired by Dr Bob Klaber, director of strategy research and innovation at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, provided a flavour of what Paddington Life Sciences want to achieve through its collaborative approach as well as share views and ideas about how they can work together to deliver as much health, economic and social value as possible. Panelists included:

  • Dr Suki Balendra, Director of strategic partnership, Paddington Life Sciences
  • Serena Simon, Director of communities, Westminster City Council
  • Dame Barbara Hakin, Strategic advisor, Optum
  • Angela McFarlane, Vice president, northern Europe strategic planning, IQVIA
  • Dr Erik Mayer, Director, Digital Collaboration Space, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust
  • Tim Haddon, Head of asset management, British Land
  • Kay Buxton,Chief executive, The Paddington Partnership

Community is at the heart of Paddington Life Sciences

A consistent theme across the panel discussion was the importance of embedding the local community in the life sciences cluster. Dr Suki Balendra, spoke on the importance of representation in clinical research: “We want our community to be a part of the research and not the subjects of research, as is so often the case. Across Paddington Life Sciences, we're looking at how we can support programmes and work that go out into the community and earn and build that trust, promoting fairness so that research is accessible to all."

As well as industry and academic partners, the Trust is also working closely with Westminster City Council on its #2035 initiative. Westminster City Council's Serena Simon highlighted that community is at the heart of what the council is doing to build trust: "When there are conversations about our clinical trials, it's important that our communities are part of that conversation, because we risk coming up with solutions that are not fit for purpose. We as a council, are on a journey to work more effectively with all communities and lots of work is currently happening in the local area of North Paddington." 

Partnerships are key for the future of the NHS

Closing the event, Lord Ara Darzi, Chair of the NHS Accelerated Access Collaborative, emphasised the importance of partnerships for the future of the NHS. He said: "We need to rediscover the spirit of collaboration. And to be frank, the NHS needs to get its act together about working with partners. We don’t need warm words, we need decisive action. I know that innovation may not seem like the number one priority with ballooning waiting lists and poor staff morale. But innovation is the only route to a sustainable NHS – because investment in innovation is the engine of productivity."

The event also saw the announcement of the leading organisations joining Paddington Life Sciences Partners, an influential partnership group made up of NHS, industry, community, and academic organisations with a shared commitment to generating healthcare innovation, alongside health, economic, and social value, in Paddington. Paddington Life Sciences Partners will be a key driver of the Paddington Life Sciences development.

Tim Haddon, Head of Asset Management at British Land, who are also are one of the members of the Paddington Life Sciences Partners, said: "It was fantastic to be able to contribute to the launch of Paddington Life Sciences.This is an exciting opportunity to put Paddington on the map in this growing sector and build on the evolution of the area. Collaboration and cluster effect is so important for life sciences organisations and having St Mary's Hospital on the doorstep is very compelling for attracting future life sciences organisation to Paddington."

The Paddington Life Sciences Partners are: British Land, Brockton Everlast, Derwent London, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, Imperial College London, IQVIA, Microsoft, Optum, Oracle Health, Takeda, The Paddington Partnership, Vertex and Vodafone. The Associate Partners are: Imperial College Health Partners and Imperial Health Charity.

View photographs from the launch event.