Skip to main content

An Interview with Dr. Angela Kukula, MedCity CEO

Welcome to the first part of an insightful two-part interview with Dr. Angela Kukula, the newly appointed CEO of MedCity, as she delves into her leadership journey and the exciting prospects for the organisation.

Q:Welcome to MedCity! Can you begin by sharing a bit about your background and what attracted you to this role as CEO?

I have worked in life science roles for most of my career. Following a first degree in Biochemistry at Oxford and a PhD in Immunology and Genetics at the Institute of Child Health in London, I spent several years working in the pharmaceuticals industry in Japan. On my return to the UK I moved in to the commercialization of University research spending time as Life Sciences Project Manager at (what is now) Oxford University Innovation, as Head of IP and Commercialisation at Aston University and as Director of Business and Innovation at the Institute of Cancer Research in London. Immediately before taking on the role of CEO of MedCity I spent a brief period as Commercial Director at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.

I was particularly interested in the role of CEO of MedCity as it give the opportunity to follow two of my passions – Life Sciences and London – in one role. I strongly believe that life sciences is the most important of our economic sectors, offering the promise of improving healthcare and making a positive impact on people’s lives alongside the opportunity for economic growth and prosperity. And London has to be one of the best cities in the world to live and work with its rich culture and history, green spaces, and lively theatre and restaurant scene.

Q: MedCity plays a vital role in promoting innovation in the life sciences and healthcare sectors. What excites you most about leading this organisation, and what are your initial priorities?

MedCity has an amazing track record and reputation – it truly is an honour to now be leading this organization, but the thing that excites me most has to be the opportunity to work with and lead the brilliant MedCity team. It is remarkable how much such a small team has achieved from reports on subjects such as clinical trials and lab spaces, through convening stakeholders, to helping companies to navigate the life sciences ecosystem in London. So initial priorities will of course be to look at how we continue to do all of those things as well as some ambitious new projects.

Q: MedCity has a rich network of partners and stakeholders. How do you plan to strengthen and expand these collaborations to further our mission?

As I mentioned, bringing together partners and collaborators has been one of MedCity’s key roles so we will certainly be planning to continue with this. I have started a programme of visits to key stakeholders and partners to understand how we can work together for the benefit of the life sciences community in London. This will continue into the New Year, and I am hoping that these visits will stimulate new ideas for collaborations. We are also planning a vibrant programme of networking events for the coming year which will give members of the community opportunities to meet with peers and potential partners to forge new relationships.

Q: Can you provide some insights into your leadership style and the principles that guide your decision-making as CEO of MedCity?

I am very collaborative in my leadership style and like to seek a range of opinions before coming to a decision; which is not to say that I advocate decisions by committee, but more that I like to have taken into consideration points of view which are not the same as my own. I think this is important in an ecosystem where there are a wide variety of different stakeholders who will not always be aligned. In terms of guiding principles, I think it is important that decisions fit with an organisation’s vision. They should be guided by data and insights wherever possible and in this respect we are delighted to welcome Ella Churchill to the MedCity/L&P team as our dedicated Life Science Insights Manager. It is also important that decisions are ethical and here again we have the benefit within L&P of an ethics group who can help make decisions on contentious issues. And of course they should be inclusive, allowing everyone the opportunity to engage and grow.

Q: The healthcare industry is continually evolving. What trends and developments do you see as particularly significant, and how will MedCity adapt to these changes?

We are seeing artificial intelligence and machine learning become more prominent, with over 100 AI related partnerships announced in the last year including a number with London/Cambridge drug discovery company, Benevolent AI. Healthcare and life sciences sectors have adopted AI/ML solutions much earlier than many others sectors and we are now seeing this scaling up.

We are also starting to see a rise in infectious disease research for the first time in many years with more funding than ever for antimicrobial resistance and vaccine development.

MedCity is currently considering how it will respond to both of these trends.

Q: Collaboration is key to MedCity’s success. Can you share your vision for how the organisation will facilitate collaboration among stakeholders to drive innovation in healthcare and life sciences?

We are currently working on a new strategy for MedCity which will include a range of new networking and collaborative opportunities– watch this space.

Q: What milestones and goals should MedCity’s stakeholders and partners look forward to during your tenure as CEO?

As I mentioned above, we are in the process of developing a new strategy so I can’t say what specific goals and milestones we will have yet, but MedCity will continue to:

  • support Life Science companies to locate to, grow in and expand from London
  • provide information and resources to support Life Science businesses and entrepreneurs to navigate and connect with the London Life Science ecosystem
  • amplify and communicate the strengths of the London Life Science ecosystem; and
  • act as the unified voice for Life Sciences in London

Q: Can you highlight any upcoming initiatives or projects that MedCity will be involved in, and what impact you anticipate they will have on the healthcare and life sciences sectors?

Over the next few months MedCity will be creating a Life Science Proposition for London. This will be a “shop window” for Life Sciences in London. The aim is to show the different aspects of life sciences growth in London and how they interact with each other and describes London’s offer for life science businesses and investors, acting as a resource for all who work to grow the sector. It will also provide important messages to policy makers on the importance of life sciences to the London economy. We hope that this will be something that is collectively created and used by all stakeholders and acts as a definitive source of information on London life sciences.

Contact us