Member spotlight: Meet Excellerate Bioscience

Nick Holliday.png

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!

 

More news and updates 

Continuity and change: Labour’s life science strategy

​​​​Herbie Lambden, Senior Policy and Public Affairs Executive at the BIA, provides a rundown of the BIA Committee Summit, which took place in Westminster on 21 February.

CEO Update - 22 April 2024

The UK's engineering biology scene was out in force at a Number 10 Downing Street reception last week. It was great to celebrate the developments in our community network together with ministers and investors.

Step up and create more inclusive workplaces within the biotech sector

In last year’s Diversity and Inclusion in UK Biotech survey conducted by the BIA, hearing loss emerged as one of the most prevalent disabilities. With Deaf Awareness Week 2024 (6-12 May) fast approaching, the BIA has teamed up with its charity partner, RNID, to offer valuable resources and initiatives for creating more inclusive workplaces across the biotech sector.

Investing in life science – learnings from the first round of investments from Discovery Park Ventures

Launched in May 2022 by thriving life science community Discovery Park, Discovery Park Ventures (DPV) is an investment fund that invests in ambitious and growing life sciences companies, driving disruptive innovation and catalysing economic growth. Initially a £1 million fund, DPV has now expanded to £3 million.

AI in life sciences: future-proofing strategies

In the final piece of the 'AI in life sciences' series, Jenny Yu, Marsh’s Life Sciences industry practice leader and experts from law firm Kennedys emphasize essential steps for life sciences companies to develop and implement a successful AI business strategy. They delve into effective management of outcomes from AI technologies and strategies to mitigate potential risks.

CEO Update - 15 April 2024

In case you missed it last week, post-Brexit border paperwork and inspections have been postponed for the life sciences sector, thanks to BIA work. Importers of laboratory reagents and materials used in the manufacture of medicines in the UK’s life sciences sector have been given a six-month extension to make the necessary changes to their supply chains for new post-Brexit border paperwork and border inspections.

CEO Update - 8 April 2024

I don’t always start Newscast with a technical detail – but this one matters and underpins the work of many, many companies in our Association. In short, keep doing your experiments and manufacturing medicines as normal as we work hard to keep your reagents and materials supply chain operating smoothly.

How to build a high-performance life science team

In this blog, Olivia Fletcher-Hogg, Programme Manager at Pioneer Group, provides actionable insights for building high-performance teams in the life sciences and biotech sector, from fostering a positive work culture to empowering employee development.

AI in life sciences: regulating AI technologies and the product liability implications

Recent regulatory developments in the EU and UK suggest a proactive stance on governing AI technologies, with the EU introducing comprehensive regulations and the UK proposing reforms to align with emerging digital technologies.

CEO Update - 25 March 2024

I’m delighted to be opening PULSE this morning. It is a free three-day leadership and entrepreneurship training programme for up-and-coming life sciences entrepreneurs that we’ve developed and delivered with the Francis Crick Institute. Read on for the latest on EU biotech initiatives, Biosecurity Leadership Council and boost for UK cell and gene therapy.

 

More within