Professor Ruth Roberts Joins the Drug Discovery Experts of beLAB1407

belab14071 | ApconiX

Professor Ruth Roberts is leading the newly created beLAB1407 on behalf of the University of Birmingham, one of four UK universities selected for investment by the drug development company Evotec SE and the global pharmaceutical company Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS).  This new industry collaboration has been launched to accelerate drug discovery projects that will fast track research from lab to patient.

Drug Discovery Expert Team

Ruth is part of the Drug Discovery Expert team comprising:

  • Dr Mark Slack, VP Academic Partnerships is responsible at Evotec for the establishment and execution of Evotec’s Academic BRIDGE
  • Professor Richard Emes, Professor of Bioinformatics at Nottingham School of Veterinary Medicine and Science and Director of the University of Nottingham Advanced Data Analysis Centre ADAC
  • Professor Ruth Roberts, Chair and Director of Drug Discovery at Birmingham University, UK, and Cofounder of ApconiX
  • Professor Webster, Chair of Medicines Discovery at the Centre for Cardiovascular Science, University of Edinburgh
  • David Gray, Head of Biology at University of Dundee’s Drug Discovery Unit.


The name beLAB1407 alludes to BMS and Evotec, followed by the distance between Land’s End in the far southwest of Great Britain to its north-easternmost point near the village of John o’ Groats in Scotland, which – if travelled by bike – adds up to 1,407 kilometres.

Ruth commented, “We are delighted to be part of this translational runway to ensure excellent academic science is translated into patient benefit.   As a keen cyclist, I am geared up to go the extra Km (1407 extra in fact) to ensure we deliver!”

Evotec, together with Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (NYSE: BMY) launched beLAB1407, a new $20m academic BRIDGE to identify and advance novel and breakthrough drug discovery opportunities across therapeutic areas from the UK’s top-tier academic institutions. Through a unique combination of Evotec’s drug discovery and development platforms and early-stage therapeutic concepts from the Universities of Nottingham, Birmingham, Edinburgh, and Dundee, beLAB1407 offers a unique route to the advancement of first-in-class therapeutics and the creation of spinout companies.

Biomedical Research, Innovation & Development Generation Efficiency

Evotec’s BRIDGE (Biomedical Research, Innovation & Development Generation Efficiency) collaborations provide an integrated fund and award framework to validate exciting academic projects in collaborations with Pharma and biotech with the goal to form new companies. Since implementing the first academic BRIDGE ‘LAB282’ in Oxford in November 2016, Evotec has formed and funded a number of different collaborations including LAB282, LAB150, LAB031, LAB10x, and Autobahn Labs.

The University of Birmingham

Researchers from the University of Birmingham’s Colleges of Life and Environmental Sciences, Engineering and Physical Sciences, and Medical and Dental Sciences work across all areas of drug discovery from target identification to clinical trials and will have the opportunity to apply for funding from this project.

David Coleman, Director of Enterprise & Innovation, University of Birmingham Enterprise, commented: “Over the last few years, the University of Birmingham has identified a significant pipeline of early-stage life science discoveries. The support and investment provided by Evotec and Bristol Myers Squibb through beLAB1407 provides a great opportunity to validate and develop some of these into important therapies for the future, and we’re very excited to be working with them.”


Dr Werner Lanthaler, Chief Executive Officer of Evotec, said: “We are thrilled to launch beLAB1407 together with our partners at Bristol Myers Squibb with whom we’ve worked on a variety of projects over a period of many years. beLAB1407 provides researchers from the member institutions with a unique way to fast-track their projects, to validate them on our industrial-grade platform and have partnering options including company formations readily available to them.”

Bristol Myers Squibb

Dr Rupert Vessey, Executive Vice President and President, Research and Early Development at Bristol Myers Squibb commented: “This collaboration builds on our important connection to leading European universities. With beLAB1407, we are supporting UK-based universities that are exploring many interesting lines of scientific research and discovery. That research combined with Evotec’s proprietary data platforms has the potential to identify new and novel therapies for areas of unmet medical need.”