Can data make a medicine?

7.20pm to 8.45pm, Friday 26 May

The Theatre

The Royal Institution of Great Britain GB United Kingdom W1S 4BS 21 Albemarle Street London

This event has already taken place

  • Credit: Chaos via Wikimedia


Standard £18


Concession £15


Free for Members and Patrons

Event description

Patrick Vallance, President of Research and Development at GlaxoSmithKline, will explore the key questions you need to answer when making a medicine and how data, increasingly captured in real-time, could lead to better outcomes for patients.

NB This talk was previously advertised under the title 'Global Pharma'.

About the speaker

Patrick Vallance is President, R&D at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). Prior to this, he was Senior Vice President, Medicines Discovery and Development. Patrick joined the company in May 2006 as Head of Drug Discovery. He is a member of the Board and the Corporate Executive Team.

Prior to joining GSK, Patrick was a clinical academic and as Professor of Medicine led the Division of Medicine at University College London.

He has worked in clinical medicine, general internal medicine, cardiovascular medicine and clinical pharmacology for over 20 years. He has an international reputation as a vascular biologist and clinician scientist. His research has spanned structural and molecular studies, in vitro and in vivo experimental pharmacology and clinical studies including the use of large-scale patient databases. At GSK, he has transformed the discovery engine to focus on therapy areas that are underpinned by the most promising and mature science, and which offer fresh insights into diseases. He is also responsible for creating small, empowered research teams, called Discovery Performance Units. This approach has led to a new wave of medicines for diseases from malaria through to cancer treatments. He has championed open innovation and transparency of clinical trial results.


Listen to Patrick's interview on the Life Scientific with Jim Al-Khalili:

More about Discourses

Discourses are one of the Ri’s oldest and most prestigious series of talks. Since 1825, audiences in the theatre have witnessed countless mind-expanding moments, including the first public liquefaction of air by James Dewar, the announcement of the electron by J.J. Thomson and over 100 lectures by Michael Faraday. In more recent times, we have had Nobel laureates, Fields medal winners, scientists, authors and artists – all from the cutting-edge of their field. Discourses are an opportunity for the best and brightest to share their work with the world.

Steeped in nearly two centuries of tradition, a Discourse is more than just a lecture. To keep the focus on the topic, presenters begin sharply at 7:30pm without introduction and we lock the speaker into a room ten minutes ahead of the start (legend has it that a speaker once tried to escape!) We also ask guests to dress smartly to add to the sense of occasion.

Discourses are free for members - consider joining today.

Find out more about the history of the Friday Evening Discourses on our blog.

Food and Drink

The Atrium cafe will be open before and after the talk. Check out the delicious menu and call 020 7670 2973 or email to reserve your table.

There will also be a cash bar on the Mezzanine before the Discourse, where you can relax, meet likeminded people with an interest in science, and have a drink.

Dress code

The dress code for this event is smart (ties optional, no jeans or trainers). Please note, if you are not dressed smartly you may be asked to sit in the gallery.

Timing note

Please be aware that this Discourse starts at 7.30pm, but all attendees must be seated in the theatre by 7.20pm. This is half an hour earlier than previous Discourses.


This event will be filmed and on the Ri Channel within a few months. Subscribe for free to hear when new videos are released.

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