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Transforming Cancer Care

Proton Partners International Ltd is an award-winning healthcare company in the vanguard of advancing high energy proton beam therapy in…

Transforming Cancer Care

1st March 2018


Transforming Cancer Care

Proton Partners International Ltd is an award-winning healthcare company in the vanguard of advancing high energy proton beam therapy in the UK. The company was formed in 2015 by UK based and international cancer and healthcare specialists. We speak to Mike Moran as we look to find out more about the achievements of the company and his own success.

Recognised as the world’s largest developer of high energy proton beam therapy centres, Proton Partners International is set to build at least five centres across the UK within the next four years. Currently, the company is building oncology centres in Newport, Northumberland, Reading and Liverpool, with an additional site under consideration in London. The company has also made an investment in the UAE to acquire an oncology business, with a view to build a proton therapy centre alongside the existing clinic.

Proton Partners International’s oncology centres will be known as the Rutherford Cancer Centres, which reflects the renowned scientist Ernest Rutherford’s contribution in identifying and naming the proton in 1911. At each centre, Proton Partners International aims to treat up to 500 patients annually and, in addition to proton beam therapy, will offer imaging, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, immunotherapy and a range of supportive care services including survivorship and recovery. Treatment will be available to medically-insured private patients, self-paying patients and patients referred by the NHS.

The centre in Newport, known as the Rutherford Cancer Centre South Wales, has recently opened for conventional cancer treatments and the high energy proton beam therapy machine, the IBA Proteus®ONE, is undergoing installation and will be patient ready in February 2018.

There is a pressing need to make specialised cancer care more accessible worldwide, and high energy proton beam therapy plays an important role in that. The vision of Proton Partners International is to create a better future for cancer patients. The company will achieve this by growing its network of cancer centres, accepting nothing less than excellence and, by developing a patient centred service.

In 2010, Mike was awarded an MBE for services to the business community in Hereford and Worcestershire, something he is extremely proud of. Mike starts off by walking us through his career milestones, touching base on his education and his first job role, before explaining how his career has progressed to the level of being selected in the Corporate Excellence Awards 2017 as the 2017 CEO of the Year in the United Kingdom.

“Firstly, I was born, raised and schooled in Liverpool and educated in the Army. I enjoyed a military career spanning 20 years as both a soldier and a commissioned officer. Having served all over the world, I retired in 2001 to scratch my business itch which, looking back, was a bold move but one that has paid dividends.

“Being very thankful, I have been fortunate to work with some incredible people, including business mentors, investors, bankers, accountants, colleagues and friends. I have always thrived in an environment where I start with a blank sheet of paper; I enjoy setting out the vision and then building a team to deliver it. Clearly, leading Proton Partners International is a highlight in my career to date. I look forward to working further with the incredibly talented team that we have to grow and develop the business further.

“In summary, I have over 30 years of experience in strategic leadership, planning and programme delivery in the defence and healthcare sector both in the UK and abroad. Overall, I have significant experience siting on international boards, and I have held several positions as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer. Also, I have held various executive positions in defence and healthcare companies, and I am the Former Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce & Learning & Skills Council in Hereford and Worcestershire.”

Describing the origins of Proton Partners International, Mike explains his responsibilities as CEO and tells us more about his leadership style which has contributed to his own success, as well as that of his staff. “Basically, the company was formed to respond to the growing global demand for high energy proton beam therapy. The founders had a very clear vision to build a network of cancer centres in the UK and in international markets. We set out to raise £100m in equity and debt to build out the first three proton beam therapy centres. Early equity investors included Woodford Funds and the Wales Life Sciences Investment Fund. The debt provision (£35m) was put in place by Shawbrook Bank which, at the time, was the largest debt provision in the Bank’s history.

“With funding in place, we set out to recruit a Board of renowned specialists in healthcare, life sciences and the equity markets. At the same time, I started to build my own senior management team and then put the capital to work. In 2016, we raised a further £60m equity to build two additional oncology centres.”

Being a founder of Proton Partners International is something Mike is extremely proud of, which is clear in the way he talks about the business and its staff. Essentially, Mike sets the targets which the team strives to reach, in the short, medium and long-term. Identifying strategies and working with the Board of Directors are all important aspects of Mike’s role, as he looks for opportunities and opens up avenues which will help the team achieve their targets.

“In terms of my leadership style, I would say that I am somebody who likes to lead from the front while allowing others to thrive in their roles. I would say that key facets of my leadership style are; clear vision, clarity of thought, the ability to define the strategy and develop the goals and objectives, collaborative in nature and assertive. Also, I am a great believer in ensuring that all staff can develop their own leadership skills and have the space to exercise them. Most of all, I like to inspire people to step outside of their comfort zone, maybe do something that they wouldn’t normally do, or just do something different.

“At Proton Partners International, we have developed a ‘Dare to Do’ scheme which challenges the staff to do something different. It can be anything from belly dancing to parachute jumping and much more in-between. We give them a day off to do the event and pay up to £100 towards the cost of the dare. The only thing I ask is that they photograph the event and do a write up for the company intranet.”

Furthermore, having spoken about the integration of staff and how this is a key part of his leadership style, Mike goes into a bit more detail about how he manages his staff, and what key principles he expects both himself and his staff to adhere to.

“Importantly, I would not say that I manage staff, I do like to think that I lead them though and, I ensure that they are well led and well managed. Managing staff well requires a good recruitment strategy, a sustainable management system and a senior management team with a range of experience and skill-mix. As CEO, I like to focus on growing the business, which is why I rely so heavily on the team around me to operate the business and manage the staff. We are doing something that nobody has ever done before; building a network of five proton beam therapy centres, concurrently, in the UK and in the UAE. This requires a motivated team, willing and able to work tirelessly to achieve the goals and objectives required of them. I believe in telling people what to achieve, not how to achieve it, allowing them to work it out and deliver the desired outcome.

“Working alongside the team, I believe in functional management, not hierarchical management. I like to ensure that the most appropriate people have the authority and responsibility to manage their sphere within the business.” After discussing his staff and his feelings on his leadership, Mike then tells us how it feels to have been selected in the Corporate Excellence Awards 2017 as the 2017 CEO of the Year in the United Kingdom, and how it is a recognition of his excellent work, reflecting on an exciting year for Proton Partners.

“From a personal perspective it is an honour, and extremely humbling, to be nominated the 2017 CEO of the Year for the United Kingdom. From the company’s perspective, it is a great way to mark the end of another successful year which has seen us open the first Rutherford Cancer Centre in South Wales and win an award for M&A growth.

“Additionally, we have been working incredibly hard to secure the backing and support of investors to ensure that our vision of making high energy proton beam therapy becomes a reality in the UK. This sort of recognition also rewards the trust and faith placed in me by the investors, Board, stakeholders and my staff.

“What is particularly pleasing about the award is that it is the Corporate Excellence Awards. We have worked tirelessly to promote Excellence within all that we do in the company, this award speaks well to that. We are still a young company, punching well above our weight, this award will allow us to stand toe to toe with our industry peers and not look out of place.”

Being a business leader in this increasingly dominated technology generation can be quite challenging as there are always new developments and legislations which the team and company have to keep on top of. With an explosion in social media, CEOs and other business leaders also come under more scrutiny, and Mike notes how this is not necessarily a problem, as he has never felt the need to hide away, something he is keen to highlight. This is just one of the key attributes that makes Mike Moran an award-winning business leader.

“From a personal perspective, I like to hide out in the open and tackle things head on. Business leaders today require clear vision, strategic thinking, stamina, courage, the ability to build a multi-disciplinary team and the determination to succeed.

“Honestly, I think that what makes me stand out as a business leader is my passion for what I am doing, my drive to deliver and my ability to inspire others to do the same. It is all very well having a big vision, however, if you can’t translate it and then inspire others to get behind it, you will never succeed.

“Leading by example, I am also always driven to do the right thing and I ensure that those who work for me do things right, the two aspects sit well together and support a culture of excellence. I don’t like a culture of blame where people point the finger. If things go wrong, we must take corporate responsibility, identify the lessons and learn from them. I am a believer that failure often shapes success which is why I do not have a fear of failure and I try to instil that into my team.”

Having spoken about his leadership style, his role and his success, alongside the attributes which make him a successful CEO, Mike offers advice to others who are looking to achieve what he has done within the corporate world, mentioning that people should not get wrapped up in the detail.

“Regarding what guidance I could possibly give to others, the best advice that I can give anybody is to ‘think clearly and act deliberately’. Two very different disciplines which may not come naturally to some but are key to success. Clarity of thought is a mindset which takes time to perfect. I am a great believer that schools should teach our young people how to think not what to think. This simple process, taught early, will prepare young people for the workplace and allow them to be much more effective from the outset.

“Often, people get wrapped up in the detail, they over think and develop complex plans based on single source intelligence or wild assumptions. They then compound this by not acting decisively enough or not being agile enough to adapt to the unplanned event that inevitably arises. In military parlance; no plan survives contact with the enemy. In business, the enemy is more often about time and money than competitors.

“In business, it is critical to act deliberately, to decide what it is you are going to do and then put all your resources behind achieving it. At Proton Partners International, one of my mantras is to ‘make better decisions quicker’. For me, this is achieved through the combination of thinking clearly and acting deliberately.”

Looking ahead, there are exciting times on the horizon for Proton Partners International. There are a number of challenges which the firm will have to deal with but these are not seen as insurmountable, however it will take a lot of due care and attention in making sure that these objectives and issues are overcome, which Mike is excited to comment on.

“Having now completed our first Rutherford Cancer Centre in Newport, South Wales and with two more in the final stages of build, we have accumulated a great deal of knowledge, knowhow, IP and intelligence. We are now in the position to leverage this knowledge to reduce construction lead-time and to ensure that all of our projects are delivered on time and on budget. We have recently signed a partnering agreement with our design team at JDDK, DESCO and Fairhurst. This has enabled us to ensure that we design out cost while maintaining quality, it also reduces significant time at the front end of the project which allows more time for the construction phase.

“Plus, we are in the final stages of tendering out for the construction of our next four centres. We anticipate contracting out the first phase of this build programme in December 2017 and the additional three centres throughout 2018. This will make Proton Partners International the world’s largest operator of high energy proton beam therapy centres which, from a standing start in February 2015, is a significant achievement. We will continue to build centres to grow our influence in the marketplace and to provide a world-class service to our patients.

“In all our Rutherford Cancer Centres, we are installing technical equipment with very complex mechanical and engineering requirements, in a timeframe never achieved anywhere in the world. In addition to managing several new market entries at one time, we are also bringing new innovative treatments to the UK healthcare market which, while they have significant clinical buy-in, the health economics are not so well understood, across a range of stakeholders including the politicians, clinical professions, the insurers and most importantly the patient. We intend to change that by contributing positively to the global research effort and by becoming thought leaders in the oncology space.”

Going into more detail about the challenges that Proton Partners International face, Mike talks about the ever increasing expectations of clients, and the demands which the client will have to meet. The company will be at the forefront of any potential developments, with Mike outlining the future ambitions of the company, discussing other prospective developments.

“Ultimately, the most significant challenge that we will face over the next decade however, is keeping up with the demand for high energy proton beam therapy. As the clinical evidence reads out, there will be more patient demand which will require the development of more operational centres. Proton Partners International will be at the forefront of the growth. It is our ambition to have a Rutherford Cancer Centre within 90 minutes of the front door of 75% of the UK population by 2021.

“Alongside our Rutherford Cancer Centres, the company has a number of exciting developments in the pipeline, which will help it to continue to grow and develop a global reputation. For instance, Proton Partners International will undertake a major genomics research programme at the Life Sciences Accelerator building in Liverpool (the building is the first part of a ‘health campus’ that is set to surround the £335m new Royal Liverpool Hospital). The company is also working with the University of Liverpool’s Physics Department on a genomics programme to collate, analyse and distribute data from its treatment centres.

“In addition to this, Proton Partners International has announced a two-year collaborative research project with The University of Liverpool to develop a new measurement system, known as a 3D Water Phantom, which will further improve the accuracy of proton beam therapy treatment.”

In his concluding comments, Mike signs off by stating how he will guarantee that the company will stay committed to innovation. Creating additional companies are exciting additions to the firm’s portfolio, and Proton Partners International will be able to establish itself at the top of the industry, particularly with Mike at the helm.

“Lastly, to ensure that we stay committed to innovation in cancer research and thought leadership, we have recently created two subsidiary companies, Rutherford Innovations Ltd and Rutherford Diagnostics Ltd, which will allow us to contribute more positively on the research effort without disrupting cancer services.”

Company: Proton Partners International

Contact: Mike Moran

Contact Email: [email protected]

Address: 3 Assembly Square, Cardiff, CF10 4PL, UK

Phone: 2077100020


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