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Could a Covid ‘blueprint’ transform healthcare?

January 25, 2022

This week sees the launch of a not-for-profit project aimed at transforming treatments for some of the world’s most common diseases.

Founded by Sir Martin Landray, ‘Protas’ will employ the same techniques and methods used by the eminent scientist in his discovery of an effective treatment for COVID-19.

Commencing in March 2020, his ‘Recovery’ trial has been credited with saving more than a million lives from COVID and proved that clinical evidence could be rapidly established at a low cost using NHS patients and stripping the trial process back to basics.

In normal circumstances, drug trials typically cost more than a billion dollars and take an average of seven years to complete. All too often, this time and cost investment is prohibitive, and many companies are unwilling to risk trialling new drugs that cost too much to produce.

Recovery broke new ground by simultaneously testing drugs on thousands of COVID patients, resulting in a treatment in just three months.

It is hoped that, by utilising these principles, Landray’s new venture will pave the way for cost-effective treatments for some of the most common but often neglected diseases, including depression and chronic respiratory disease.

Protas is already causing quite a stir within the pharma world and has recruited an impressive array of talent to serve on its board, including Sir John Bell, who was instrumental in the Oxford vaccine and served on the government’s vaccine taskforce, and Sir Rory Collins, chief executive of UK Biobank.

Meanwhile, investment worth up to £5m has been secured from Sanofi, who have signed up as a strategic partner to the initiative.

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