A new UK-based partnership of pharmaceutical professionals and academic experts is offering flexible access to senior-level capabilities at all stages of drug development for companies that have reduced their headcounts in-house.

With headquarters in Thames Valley Park, Reading, TranScrip Partners is headed by senior partners and pharmaceutical physicians Felicity Gabbay and Marcin Mankowski, who between them have more than 35 years’ experience in drug development.

Gabbay’s career has included a stint as global head of anti-infectives at Parke Davis in the US and founding Gabbay Group, a contract research organisation (CRO) acquired by US CRO PPD, where Gabbay served as global vice-president for regulatory and clinical research.

Mankowski has held a number of positions at Bristol-Myers Squibb, where he worked as director of clinical research for infectious diseases and as the European medical lead for HIV. He was also senior director for infectious diseases and general medicine at Chiron Biopharmaceuticals, responsible for drug development and medical affairs activities in Europe.

Other partners include academic advisors for specific therapeutic areas such as David Goldsmith (renal disease and toxicology, dialysis and transplantation), consultant kidney physician at Guy’s Hospital, honorary senior lecturer at King’s College and deputy director for research and development at Guy’s and St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust in London; and Karol Sikora (oncology), professor of cancer medicine and honorary consultant oncologist at Imperial College School of Medicine, Hammersmith Hospital, London.

The expertise gathered by TranScrip Partners ranges from pre-clinical research through to non-clinical drug development, translational medicine, clinical development, peri-registration activities and life cycle management. By co-operating with other pharmaceutical industry specialists, TranScrip Partners can also supply expertise and support in closely related areas such as manufacturing, audit, commissioning non-clinical studies and other aspects of drug development including microbiology, the partnership notes.

As well as being available on a wholly as-needed basis, the service provided by TranScrip Partners “differs markedly from traditional out- and in-sourcing solutions, such as CROs and interims or freelance engagement”, in a number of key ways, the partners say.

For one thing, all projects will be led by a senior partner. Secondly, TranScrip Partners provides full administrative support to all of its staff, “meaning that they can concentrate solely on the task in hand and not have to worry about where their next project is coming from”. And thirdly, all of the partnership’s staff will continue to be fully trained in their specialist area and to attend relevant conferences, “thereby ensuring they remain completely up to date with the current thinking in their chosen disciplines”.

According to TransScrip, this model is also likely to appeal to emerging biotechnology companies, “by removing the need for them to build their own in-house pharma medicine or regulatory affairs teams”.

As pharmaceutical companies shed highly experienced staff, “we saw a real need to set up a truly flexible service that could be accessed on a completely as and when basis”, Gabbay commented. “We also saw the need for a service that had clear advantages over the currently available in-sourcing and out-sourcing models. Hence our ‘partner led – client driven’ approach, which means our clients will get the exact skills they need at the very time that they need them most.”