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Meet the Lifetime Achievement Award 2020 Nominees: David Rogers, Medicines Evaluation Unit

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Now in its 6th year, the Christine Pierre Clinical Trials Lifetime Achievement Award, in association with mdgroup, celebrates the ground-breaking work and contributions of individuals across the field of clinical trials who are making a positive difference. The shortlist for the 2020 prize has been announced and we are taking a closer look at each of the nominees - see all the profiles here. Here we focus on David Rogers, Director of Operations at Medicines Evaluation Unit. Cast your vote here to have your say on this years winner.


Why he was nominated

“David has successfully developed the MEU into one of Europe's leading early phase respiratory specialist clinical trials units. Founded in 1999, MEU's inception was a turbulent affair and with David’s intervention, quite possibly could have ceased to exist. Over the following 20 years MEU has grown from strength to strength helping to develop ground breaking treatments for patients with Asthma and COPD. In 2020 MEU received the Queens award for Enterprise in International Trade. It has been largely down to David’s steer that this award has been received. David is always the first to recognise that the togetherness of the organisation is what makes for a successful organisation, however I believe that without an exceptional leader, the team would not be as driven, focused, skilled and successful as it has proven.”


In his own words...

“I have worked in the health space for over 40 years the first 20 years was as a management accountant advising clinical departments on how to efficiently maximise their spend on both research and patient care. In 1999 I helped set up the Medicines Evaluation Unit Ltd and I transformed it from a small grant funded research unit with 4 staff to a full service CRO with a Phase 1 36 bed inpatient unit employing over 130 staff, who’s remit is to develop medicines for this and future generations.

Over the last 20 years, I am proud to say that the MEU has developed in a way that has had a huge impact on patients’ lives across the world. We have contributed to the development of numerous IMP’s and specifically a number of new inhalers that are widely used for patients with asthma and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder) and in doing so, we have contributed to improved health for these patients.

We have been involved in a number of long-term collaborations with pharmaceutical companies that have resulted in the successful development of combination inhalers (inhalers with more than one medicine). These combination inhalers are of great value and benefit to patients, for example, Chiesi’s Trimbow® triple therapy inhaler. This was the first triple therapy to be launched in the UK and the MEU carried out the majority of early phase studies for this treatment. This demonstrates the extent to which the MEU has contributed to the treatment and improvement of COPD patients’ lives.

It would be fair to say that some of these medicines would not exist without the input of the MEU.

“It is a privilege to head-up our clinical research facility based in Manchester. We are proud to be in a city with a history of spirit, industry and innovation and to be continuing this innovation for the Pharmaceutical industry, helping to develop ground-breaking medicines for patients and future generations worldwide, is truly an honour"David Rogers, Director of Operations of the Medicines Evaluation Unit

Our research and scientific efforts have contributed to a simple blood test (blood eosinophil counts) being validated for use in daily clinical practice for patients with COPD, in order to help doctors determine which combination inhaler would be best for which patient. This individualised, personalised approach, has had an enormous global impact on prescribing the right medicine to the right patient.

In addition to the achievements in clinical research, over the past 20 years, the MEU has donated over £9 million to the North West Lung Centre Charity, whose mission is to treat patients from across the North West and beyond, and to lead the development in clinical research on a national and international level.

Furthermore, in 2015, we invested £1.3 million to build a state-of-the-art bronchoscopy unit at Wythenshawe Hospital, which trebled the number of patients treated at the hospital site, and continues to significantly improve lung treatment and care for patients across the North West whilst also providing a Bronchoscopy suite dedicated to clinical research. We have this year, donated £500,000 towards a MRI scanner that will be used for both research and patient care at Manchester NHS Foundation Trust.

We have conducted over 400 clinical trials and are working with virtual Biotech’s to large Pharma around the world currently helping with their drug development. We are also diverting some of our attention to help with the fight against COVID-19 to this end we are currently working on 3 COVID treatment trials.

In the future I would like to replicate the MEU business model in other locations throughout the UK supporting drug development and continuing to support the NHS through our charitable donations.

We recently received the Queens award for Enterprise 2020 for International Trade but unfortunately my “date” with the Queen has been put on hold due to the pandemic.”


How the voting works

Voting is now open until 9 October 2020, 12pm GMT. We will impartially encourage our online community to vote; each finalist is also encouraged to reach out to their colleagues and contacts. Anyone in the online clinical trials community can vote, but only once each. Both voting and the opinion of the expert panel will be taken into account when choosing the winner. The prize will be presented at the Clinical Trials Europe virtual event on 4 November.

Cast your vote for this year's Lifetime Achievement Award winner here.

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