As we come closer to the end of the year, I want to take the opportunity to reflect on 2023 and all that we have achieved, and I have highlighted just a few of the achievements and milestones of the previous 12 months.
Our commitment and dedication to our Corporate Social Responsibility
MAC has made huge progress towards our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) commitments throughout this year. Not only have we solidified our sustainability framework, but we have also created specific and measurable Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion goals and training and completed our very first EcoVadis assessment, for which we are proud to report we received a Bronze Medal. This is a fantastic achievement for us and provides a wealth of guidance to use to bolster progress for our next assessment in 2024.
To complement our efforts in this area, MAC has established emissions reduction targets* through the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi), aligning with the objectives of the United Nations Paris Agreement. The targets covering greenhouse gas emissions from MAC’s operations (scopes 1 and 2) are consistent with reductions required to keep warming to 1.5°C, as recommended by the latest climate science, to prevent the most damaging effects of climate change. The targets have been verified by the SBTi and will be assessed and reported upon annually. Our strong commitment extends to working with suppliers and sponsors towards a more sustainable future.
We entered a new business Partnership
Earlier this year, MAC entered a partnership with Kariya Pharmaceuticals, a biotech company developing innovative disease-modifying agents to treat neurodegenerative diseases. The partnership makes MAC shareholders alongside its founding members.
As part of the partnership, MAC will lead a Phase I trial for Parkinson’s drug (KP405). The phase I study in both healthy volunteers and patients with Parkinson’s disease is to evaluate the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics (PK), and potential pharmacodynamics (PD) of subcutaneously administered KP405.
This is an exciting development in the research of Parkinson’s disease and we are proud to be leading the study alongside Kariya Pharmaceuticals.
We are now incorporated in Australia
We continue to expand our international footprint. In 2023 MAC became fully incorporated in Australia to continue to meet the research needs of our clients and their patients across the globe. Our presence in Australia complements our clinical research and scientific teams in other regions, our growing network of investigator sites, and our UK-based, wholly owned investigator sites and array of pharmaceutical and laboratory services. We are proud to be a global CRO and can conduct study services anywhere.
Our expertise in psychedelics has grown
We have continued to develop our expertise in psychedelic research by participating in several studies this year, with more in the pipeline for next year, including exploring new molecules.
Dr. Shoona A Vincent, our VP of Clinical Science, spoke at Clinical Trials Europe in November on the challenges of delivering early-phase clinical trials with psychedelic substances in healthy volunteers and patient populations.
Some key achievements this year include:
- We became the first site to have dosed 28 participants with LSD within a 3-week period.
- We are going to be the only unit in the UK to continuously dose subjects for 7 days on R-MDMA.
- We have conducted several psychedelic studies that include Psilocybin, Psilocin, DMT, D3 DMT, Ibogaine, LSD, R-MDMA, and analogues of Psilocybin.
In 2023, we made substantial investments in advancing key services, including Laboratory Services and Clinical Pathology, to provide a comprehensive range of fully in-house pharmaceutical services. These investments also allowed the acquisition of state-of-the-art equipment, further enhancing our capabilities in delivering cutting-edge solutions and ensuring the highest standards in our services.
This year we also proudly unveiled a brand-new brochure which offers a detailed overview of our complete Pharmaceutical Services.
A bumper year for participant recruitment
Participant recruitment continues to be a key area of focus for us, ensuring diversity across our trials as well as keeping patient well-being a top priority.
We stand out against competitors with our unique approach to recruitment, offering a bespoke, technology platform and central recruitment services that provide an efficient, patient-centric recruitment process at every stage of our studies.
This year our central recruitment teams have delivered impressive results:
- 14,156 inbound patient and volunteer calls handled
- 189,030 outbound calls made
- 25,302 telescreens completed
- 2416 patient chats have been completed.
- 1590 screening visits completed
New videos showcasing our services coming soon
We have also been creating a series of videos highlighting the work we do, the services we offer, and to showcase our state-of-the-art laboratories, pharmacies, and clinics.
Look out for these videos coming soon in 2024.
We continue to invest in our people – focusing on their wellbeing and professional development.
Establishing a Mental Health Initiative Group
Our Mental Health Initiative (MHI) Group, which was formed in June, has been actively raising awareness for significant causes throughout the year. These have ranged from Loneliness Awareness Week to World Wellbeing at Work Week.
By addressing mental health challenges, the group helps to create and foster a supportive and inclusive work environment, and their contribution to breaking stigma and promoting mental health awareness has already played a pivotal role in enhancing the overall well-being of our workplace.
The group is dedicated to promoting these causes internally at MAC, on Viva Engage, and they plan to continue their efforts throughout 2024.
In addition to the MHI Group, our Human Resources team organised Managers Mental Health Training in October and November. The positive feedback received indicates that managers now feel better equipped to support the mental wellbeing of their employees.
Creating focused, bespoke training for our clinical teams
The Clinical Training Team initiative was established in early February 2023 to enhance our training sessions and provide bespoke coaching and support for our in-house clinical teams. Since then, the group has successfully conducted a comprehensive training needs analysis for all clinical employees, created role-specific email groups, and ongoing efforts include one-on-one and group training sessions as well as support for standardised new inductions.
As a result, training quality and output have significantly increased over the past year.
Over the past year, while we have encountered challenges alongside many others in the industry, it’s encouraging that clinical research in the UK is on the verge of significant changes and improvements in regulatory approval routes and timelines. This prospect is warmly welcomed.
With 2024 on the horizon, I eagerly anticipate the exciting achievements awaiting us next year. I wish you all a well-deserved holiday break and hope your festive season is a joyful one.
You can find out more about MAC and get in touch here.