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Chrystalina Antoniades is an Associate Professor of Clinical Neuroscience at the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences. In her story, Chrystalina shares her experience of collaboration and her top tips for successfully working with industry - ensuring mutual alignment and showcasing your passion.

Chrystalina Antoniades alongside the quote "One of the great things about working with industry is that you can be sure your work will be impactful."

Tell us about your experiences of working with industry  

I have been working with industry since 2016. This includes two large pharma companies and a number of medical device manufacturers. It started with an informal meeting with the company who became my first industrial backer (UCB), on the sidelines of a European grant meeting. Discussions proceeded rapidly and they progressed to supporting my group's work with a grant of over £1M. Since then, other backers have actively approached me, and total industrial support for my work has topped £4M. This has directly supported work that has led to multiple publications in high-impact factor journals. 

Why are industrial partners key to realising the impact from your work?  

Industrial partners are likely to be looking for specific outputs from collaborations and obtaining funding will depend on good alignment between your interests and theirs. Fortunately, the area in which I work – the development of digital biomarkers – is a key concern for pharma companies who are seeking accurate ways of detecting early signals of clinical effect in trials of novel therapeutics.  

One of the great things about working with industry is that you can be sure your work will be impactful. The industrial partner is interested precisely because they have a clear downstream application for what you are doing. A clear pathway to impact is much more likely with an industrial funder than through other funding routes.  

What have you learnt through your collaborations with industry?  

I have learned a lot about how drug trials are planned. I had no idea how expensive it is to get a new therapy to market and the amount of work that goes into it. Go/no go decisions can have hundreds of millions of pounds riding on them. I had not realised how many senior industrial people are ex-academics, with years of scientific experience, and it was surprisingly easy to engage in detailed technical discussions with them all.  

How has the MSD Business Partnerships Office supported you in your endeavours?  

Working with the Business Partnerships Office has been invaluable. Amongst other things, it has led to invitations to present my work at industry meetings. Charlotte and her team have always been available for help and advice.  

What are your top tips for working with Industry? 

  • Do your homework on potential partners – they are only going to be interested in working with you if it aligns with what they are doing.
  • Don’t be afraid to appear passionate about what you do.