“I turned back to respiratory solutions during the pandemic, but cancer is the challenge and main focus for me”Date Posted: 15 June 2022
Prof. Sir Chris Evans OBE has told Cardiff Business Club members of his return to 21st Century cancer diagnostics and brilliant new cancer treatments following a hectic two years of focussing on respiratory solutions during the pandemic. The Port Talbot-born internationally renowned scientific entrepreneur worked everyday from March 2020 until late 2021 developing his own highly accurate lateral flow and PCR tests and sourcing 1,000’s of high-quality ventilators and medical equipment for the NHS and several other countries. His work made a huge contribution around the globe of which he is very proud.
Headlining the Cardiff Business Club’s latest live speaker event on June 13, Sir Chris spoke openly and passionately about his life-saving work. He said: “In 1988 my first start-up company, Enzymatix, pioneered a unique lung surfactant to help millions of premature babies to breath. In 1998, I established Vectura which focused on the treatment of respiratory diseases. It became a world leader in inhaled therapies and last year was sold for over £1bn. We also grew Verona Pharma to a £300m plc, developing a unique COPD respiratory drug. During the pandemic, I went full circle and returned to respiratory once more, but cancer is the real challenge and excitement for me.
“In particular, cancer diagnostics for early detection of difficult cancers such as ovarian cancer. In Ellipses Pharma I have some excellent treatments in the pipeline, but the world needs thousands of new treatments coming down the track, not 12 or 13. There is a lot of work that needs doing by a lot of people and Ellipses Pharma is ambitiously trying to push things forward at pace and get multiple products through expensive clinical trials successfully.
“Cancer is complicated, so we put together a panel of 126 leading oncologists from around the world and once you get 90% of these leading cancer experts saying a product looks good to back, then it’s my responsibility to ensure we write the cheque and get phase 1 and phase 2 started and feel confident we stand a great chance of getting somewhere. We’ll invest £20m-£40m or so getting it through the first two phases, which includes all the necessary tox and trials, and I know that I have given the products the best shot possible of success.”
“We are getting very good results in world-leading hospitals. We currently have seven products in trials, including one due to end next year that has seen some terminally ill cancer patients virtually cured of the disease. We have another 14 going to trial by the end of next year and another 45 projects behind those. It will take £billions and several years, but I am not afraid to go and attempt to raise that money. Statistically, more than one of these will be successful which will make it all worthwhile, and I will spend most of my time doing just this for the rest of my life.”
Sir Chris Evans has built more than 40 life sciences companies which were valued in excess of $7 billion. As well as Ellipses Pharma and Vectura, other notable companies include Excalibur, Chiroscience, Celsis, BioVex, ReNeuron, Piramed, Arakis, Arix, Rutherford clinics and Merlin Biosciences. Sir Chris told Cardiff Business Club members of his latest venture that will focus on making early cancer screening tests available to the public via easy to use kits and Apps, as well as a new charity he is launching ‘Cancer Awareness Trust’ that will share lots of valuable information about surviving the disease on one platform.