Form an alliance with us and expand your R&D programme

Contact us:

The Industry Alliance initiative is provided by the NIHR Clinical Research Network. To discuss contact:

Matt Cooper
Business Development and Marketing Director
00 44 (0)113 343 8944

Divya Chadha Manek
Business Development and Marketing Manager (commercial)
00 44 (0) 788 685 4261

Researcher examining a sample slide

What is an Alliance?
Alliances are academic partnerships between the NIHR Clinical Research Network and individual pharmaceutical companies. Their objective is to optimise early phase testing of potential pharmaceutical products which would not otherwise form part of the company’s main research and development programme.

Can I form a new Alliance?
Yes, use the contact details on this page to discuss developing a new Alliance. 

How do Alliances optimise clinical research?
Underwritten by a Memorandum of Understanding, Alliances promote interaction between clinical experts and the company’s drug development team. They facilitate:

  • clinicians to access agents which are still in development
  • companies wishing to engage with clinical experts to design investigator-led, academically-sponsored studies in areas that are not currently part of their direct development plan
  • speedier study set-up

Typically, establishing an Alliance study involves a call for proposals from investigators by the company involved. A workshop is then held where each proposal is discussed in an open forum of clinicians before the most appropriate and clinically relevant ones are put forward to go through the clinical trials approvals process.

“Pfizer is proud to be partnering with the NIHR Clinical Research Network as part of our ongoing commitment to developing medical advancements to help in our fight to cure or control cancer."
Dr David Montgomery, Medical Director, Pfizer Oncology UK

A researcher carrying out tests

The Company perspective

A  Principal Medical Scientist at AstraZeneca, provided positive feedback about the impact of Alliances for commercial companies, clinicians and patients:

“The AstraZeneca and Clinical Research Network Alliance has a significant impact on the development of our drug pipeline. The Alliance means we can work with investigators who have fresh ideas about how to develop our drugs. It allows us to find out whether these drugs are active in a broader range of cancer patients that would otherwise not be feasible.

“The Alliance gives clinical investigators a direct route into AstraZeneca. It is an excellent opportunity for them to pitch their ideas to us and have the opportunity to go further and develop and implement these.

“Most importantly, the Alliance means we can work with new investigators with innovative ideas and get AstraZeneca drugs to patients.”

“If more companies were able to make Alliances with the Network it would be hugely positive.” 
Principal Medical Scientist and Clinical Partnerships Manager, AstraZeneca

Researchers examining a sample in laboratory

 What Alliances already exist?

Five Alliances of this type currently exist with Pfizer, AstraZeneca/MedImmune, GlaxoSmithKline, and Verastem - all in the area of cancer research. This work has resulted in the rapid growth of industry-sponsored and  industry-supported, academically-sponsored cancer trials. Alliances in areas other than cancer will be considered.


“The Alliance means we can work with investigators who have fresh ideas about how to develop our drugs”
A Principal Medical Scientist, AstraZeneca

Patient giving blood sample

How do patients and the NHS benefit?

The primary driver behind the industry Alliance initiative is patient benefit. By supporting the life-sciences industry in this way more compounds can be tested for clinical effectiveness across a wider range of conditions, ultimately leading to more patients gaining faster access to cutting edge treatments.

"Collaboration between academia and industry is vital, and this Alliance will help bring new trials and new treatment options to patients in the UK." 
Dr David Montgomery, Medical Director, Pfizer Oncology UK