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Trust welcomes executives from international partner ICON PLC

The Trust was delighted to host a visit by a group of senior executives from ICON PLC, a global provider of outsourced development services to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device industries. They came to see progress on the development of their new purpose-built translational medicine facility at the Trust's Oxford Road site. Established in collaboration with the Trust, the facility will enable new drugs, therapies and medical devices to be tested safely in a hospital environment, and enable patients to benefit from the most advanced treatments. The partnership with ICON is a fundamental aspect of Manchester's drive to become a prime location for early stage clinical trials among pharma and biotech companies. Led by US-based Bill Taaffe, President for Corporate Development for ICON PLC, the ICON team saw each aspect of the three-phase development of their new translational medicine facility. ICON clinical trials staff are currently based in dedicated facilities at the Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility while a new unit is being built on the hospital campus. The purpose-built 34 bed ICON Clinical Research Facility will be adjacent to the A&E Department at Manchester Royal Infirmary and will open in April 2010. Mr Taaffe and his colleagues also reviewed future plans for the Manchester Royal Eye Hospital, a key site being developed by the Corridor Manchester regeneration partnership. The third phase of ICON's consolidation onto the hospital campus will see them become a key anchor tenant of the extensively developed site, which is planned to open in April 2012. The visit included a tour of the new Royal Manchester Children's Hospital, including the new dedicated Children's Clinical Research Facility due to open in November. Mr Taaffe commented: "I was incredibly impressed with the drive and energy of the all the individuals I met in my all too brief stay in Manchester. ICON is committed to the early phase development of new medicines and in the Trust and MAHSC we have found partners who share our vision of world class research facilities. I'm looking forward to coming back to the opening in April 2010." Mike Deegan, Chief Executive of the Trust, added: “This exciting collaboration with ICON is a major step for the Trust and will accelerate the translation of research discoveries into new medicines and treatments. Our partnership is also a blueprint for how the NHS and the commercial sector can work closely together to the benefit of patients."