Greater Manchester Cancer Vanguard Innovation

The Cancer Vanguard’s medicines optimisation team has been shortlisted for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s (RPS) prestigious Team of the Year award.

The shortlisting recognises the Cancer Vanguard’s innovative Pharma Challenge. This is a new way of working collaboratively with the pharmaceutical industry, whereby potential commercial partners were invited to ‘pitch’ to work with us on a project idea to improve cancer drugs provision.

The process, which resembled the hit BBC TV series Dragons’ Den, prompted 39 proposals of which six led to agreements between the Cancer Vanguard and commercial partners.

Vanguard Innovation is a member of the Cancer Vanguard, along with our London partners RM Partners and UCLH Cancer Collaborative.

One of the contracts that resulted from the Pharma Challenge is with global pharmaceutical company Sandoz to develop educational material on the use of biosimilar medicines in cancer care. These drugs are highly similar copies of biologic medicines and offer significant potential savings, and their use in the NHS is growing.

The project has resulted in an extensive online resource on the Cancer Vanguard website, which details how NHS organisations can successfully adopt the use of biosimilar medicines.

The Drugs and Therapeutics Committee at The Christie has approved the use of biosimilars in cancer, a decision based on the evidence and educational material developed by the Pharma Challenge partnership.

The winner of the RPS award will be announced at a gala evening in Birmingham on 3 September, an event that celebrates ‘innovative and inspiring work’ among the UK’s pharmacists.

Jatinder Harchowal, Chief Pharmacist at The Royal Marsden, said: ‘It’s a great honour to be shortlisted and it’s a tribute to the enormous effort and dedication shown by our team, who work across three leading cancer centres – The Christie, The Royal Marsden and UCLH.

‘We’ve shown how a pharmacy-led, multidisciplinary approach can work innovatively and at speed to develop projects that will improve outcomes for patients, as well as make significant efficiencies.’