Based at St John's Innovation Centre, Cambridge Healthcare Research (CHR) is going for growth as demand for its consultancy services continues to rise. By Tony Quested, Business Weekly.


In just seven years it has grown to a team of 65 people and, in addition to its headquarters at St John’s Innovation Centre in Cambridge, it has opened a London office in Shoreditch.

In April, the company received the accolade of a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade in recognition of the high quality of its services that are in demand around the world – and the way it has risen to the challenge of building and scaling a successful international business.

“We are truly delighted that the hard work of everybody at CHR has been acknowledged with this award,” said Edward Cartwright, one of the three founding partners.

“We have a brilliant team and this is testament to their passion and commitment. Their dedication to quality and strong customer focus has allowed us to compete successfully in this global market.”

CHR works in the life sciences and healthcare sector, specialising in product strategy and commercialisation, competitor analysis and market insight. The firm’s main clients are global pharmaceutical, medical device and biotechnology companies – as well as non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

Key to the success of the company is its team of experts with PhDs and MBAs from top universities, who between them speak more than 15 different languages and support clients across geographies ranging from the UK and the rest of Europe to the US and Japan.

CHR’s mission is to deliver excellence in decision support for its clients by collecting and analysing information to enable them to make informed decisions in the face of uncertainty, optimise their tactics and effectively plan their strategies to achieve commercial success in their markets and maintain their competitive edge.

In addition, it enables NGO clients to optimise their investments and efforts in developing countries – in a bid to ensure that everyone has access to high-quality healthcare.

CHR has ambitious plans to become one of the leading providers of insight, analysis and data to the life sciences sector. Leadership in the competitive intelligence field was its first goal – and it is now one of the larger players in this space.

In 2016, the company established a separate qualitative and quantitative market research division – under the name of Vox.Bio – to enter the much larger pharmaceutical market research segment. The team is now successfully working on multiple projects spanning these two service offerings.

In the future, CHR plans to introduce additional services to its portfolio – such as forecasting, bespoke support to biotech start-ups and patient advocacy groups, and horizon scanning for healthcare providers.

This, combined with the opportunities for global expansion, will enable the company to provide an even wider range of services to stakeholders in the healthcare space worldwide.

Spearheading the next phase of CHR’s growth is new chief executive officer Chris Stevenson – an industry expert with decades of experience running large teams and scaling up healthcare companies.

“What drives CHR is a desire to do great quality work – and growth has come from that,” said Chris. “My main task is to ensure the right structure is in place to enable our fantastic team to continue that success story.”

People are at the heart of CHR’s success and the company is proud of its inclusive work environment, with a 50:50 gender split and 13 countries represented in its workforce.

It also believes that physical and mental wellbeing are core to a healthy working environment – so each employee has a monthly £50 health budget that can be spent on gym/fitness activities.

The company also offers a Cycle to Work Scheme, as well as private health insurance. “To ensure that work does not get in the way of family life, we also offer flexible working to all employees,” said founding partner Max Rubin.

Corporate social responsibility plays an important role in the life of CHR consultants. “We believe that business is not just about revenues and profits – companies need to leverage their resources and experience to have a real and positive impact on society and the environment,” said founding partner Matteo Perucchini.

“We want all our employees to build amazing careers whilst having a real and tangible impact on society and the environment – not just through the work that we deliver to our clients but also through our investment in a wide range of CSR activities, which reflect both our corporate and their personal values.”

The company has partnered with Trees for Life in the UK and the National Forest Foundation in the US to plant a tree for each flight its consultants take – and 10 trees for every project it completes. As a result, 1,350 trees have been planted so far.

In addition, CHR has supported more than 30 different charities over the last two years, including Cambridge charities such as Age UK Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Findacure, Cambridge City Food Bank and Addenbrooke’s ACT – a recent addition, to help tackle the COVID crisis.

A team of 17 staff also ran this year’s Cambridge Half Marathon, raising money for Level Water, Kidney Research UK and Guide Dogs UK.

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***This article has been first published by Business Weekly