Our approach

Discovering and developing new medicines and vaccines is tough. It requires huge investment, takes a long time and there’s a high rate of failure – especially when, in our quest for a breakthrough, we attempt things never tried before.

randd with test tubes

Even in Consumer Healthcare, where development timelines are generally shorter than for prescription medicines, the regulatory requirements for testing, approval, manufacturing, labelling and marketing of our over-the-counter products are rigorous.

So if we’re to continue to discover new medicines, vaccines and consumer healthcare products, and get them to the people who need them as quickly as possible, it’s vital that we continually challenge the way we go about things in our labs.

“We’ve already broken down the old hierarchical R&D model, which was slow and cumbersome,” says Patrick Vallance, President of Pharmaceuticals R&D. “Our scientists now work in smaller units focused on specific areas of research, seeking out the biological targets involved in disease and creating new molecules and antigens that could ultimately become a new medicine or vaccine.”

Working in smaller groups has encouraged our R&D team to be more entrepreneurial and made them more accountable.

"We know that many of our research programmes won’t succeed, but we also know that failures can still be valuable. The important thing is that we learn from them, and use what we’ve learnt to find different paths to the discovery of new medicines, vaccines and consumer healthcare products.”