Member spotlight: Meet Excellerate Bioscience

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Nick Holliday, Chief Scientific Officer at Excellerate Bioscience unveils the journey of the cutting-edge contract research organisation, rewriting the rules of pre-clinical drug discovery with its pioneering cellular and molecular pharmacology services. The blog delves into the company's ambitious vision, remarkable achievements, and strategic priorities, offering an insight into how they are helping to shape the future landscape of contracted research within drug discovery and development.

Tell us about your company and ambitions

Excellerate Bioscience is a contract research organisation specialising in cellular and molecular pharmacology services for pre-clinical drug discovery. From our foundation in 2016, we have had the desire to stand out in a competitive market, by offering the highest standards and flexibility for in vitro pharmacology assay development and execution, and in pharmacological analysis. We work with worldwide SME and pharma clients on target validation, lead optimisation and mechanism of action studies across small molecule and biologic programs, for diverse therapeutic indications. We’ve grown rapidly over a short space of time and recently moved to our own dedicated site in Nottingham. Our goal as we continue to expand is to cement our reputation as an international centre of excellence for drug discovery pharmacology. 

What is your company’s biggest achievement so far?

I think the pace of our expansion has been exciting, coming from the initial vision of our co-founders to combine the best parts of academic and industry pharmacology expertise, while offering responsive assay services that deliver in the timeframes needed. Most importantly we have built a brilliant young team of scientists, with an environment, facilities and culture that we can see is very attractive to our clients. I’m proud of that, and of how members of our team who have been with us for several years are now excelling in more senior roles. We are now also seeing some of our earliest projects fulfilling their potential and going forward into clinical trials. Although CRO efforts can be in the background for these advances, we still take pride in that success for our clients!

What are some of the priorities that you’re currently working on?

Phase 2 of our site renovation in summer 2024 will give us 6,000 ft of space and should keep us in good stead for the plans over the next couple of years. We are investing in expanding capabilities in areas such as immunology, gene editing and protein biophysical assays, and in our leadership team so that as we increase in size, we keep the personalised feel of working with Excellerate. Finally, our business has run on word-of-mouth reputation since its inception, and we have reached the stage where a more structured marketing and communications plan may be in order! We’ll be going out to more events across the UK, the US and Europe over the next 12 months, alongside a new website and digital communications.    

What has been the greatest benefit of being a BIA member?

We’ve recently joined the BIA, and are naturally keen on the networking and conference opportunities it provides with the wider membership. I have a dual role both as Excellerate CSO and as an academic at the University of Nottingham, so have a particular interest in how we facilitate knowledge exchange and commercialisation of ideas between the academic and industry sectors and provide high-quality training for our life sciences graduates for successful careers in biotech. I’m looking forward to finding out more about the work BIA does in these policy areas, and perhaps helping shape the discussions in due course.

What excites you about the UK life sciences sector?

I am a relatively recent convert to industry, joining Excellerate 5 years ago after a university-focused career. What’s apparent from this perspective is that UK SMEs in drug discovery are leading the way, driven by exceptional scientists with great ideas and a focus to see them through. It’s a real privilege to get involved and collaborate on some of the work that is being done on new drug modalities, therapeutic approaches and AI – with my own passion, pharmacology, still being at the heart of it!


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