From digital therapeutics to breakthroughs in human performance, McLaren Applied is applying insight gained from decades of elite motorsport competition to help improve people’s lives in healthcare. Leading McLaren’s expansion in to the health industry is Chief Medical Officer, Dr Adam Hill.
So how did a trained clinician transform into one of McLaren’s business leaders? We sat down with Adam to find out.
Adam, you’re a medical Doctor with a PhD in mechanical engineering. That’s an unusual combination, even for the McLaren Technology Centre. How did you get here?
When I left school, I was lucky enough to get a place at medical school at St Mary’s in Paddington, London. At the time, St Mary’s was undergoing a merger with [eminent engineering institution] Imperial College London and so the medics were soon mixing with the mechanical, electrical and computer engineers.
I had a fascination with building (and breaking) stuff and so I decided, during my medical degree, I would go off and study an engineering degree. I recall being very keen on building myself a motorcycle! Off the back of that I did a PhD in engineering, before returning to medicine.
With my head stuck in text books for the best part of a decade encouraged me to get a job that promised travel and adventure. I took a job with the British Army, in order to train as a bone and joint surgeon. During my final posting with the Army, I co-founded and then ran a research institute called The Centre for Blast Injury Studies at Imperial College London. In 2011, I left to come into industry to continue with some of the wider research and clinical activity with which I was involved. And in the summer of 2015, I was pleased to join McLaren Applied to lead its launch into the health and life science industry.
Why McLaren Applied?
There is a vision at McLaren Applied to develop technology solutions that improve people’s lives; it is difficult not to be attracted by that opportunity. McLaren has the platform technology, and most importantly, the people to improve health outcomes.
Of course, a number of technology companies would say the same – but what differentiates us is our philosophy – developed out of our background in Motorsport – of continuous improvement, supported by our end-to-end technology solutions. The track record of delivering that continuous improvement speaks for itself.
Are your two areas of expertise (medicine and engineering) complimentary?
I think so. Patients can tell you their problems, clinicians can solve a subset of those problems and engineers can perhaps solve a different subset. I think my expertise is at the interface between the two disciplines – and through that lens, I occasionally come up with a novel solution to those problems.
What prompted you to leave academia for the private sector?
If you develop solutions to problems, you need to get those solutions into the hands of people that can use them – clinicians and patients. I came into industry to learn how to do that. Frankly, I’d thought I’d be in industry for a year before returning to clinical medicine with an academic practice. That was in 2011…
Where do you see McLaren Applied in the healthcare space in five-years’ time?
The Health team at McLaren is positioned as a technology enabler of digital therapeutics – or companion technology for medicines and devices to improve their effectiveness – to support our Partners to develop solutions to the evolving healthcare landscape; in five-years’ time, we really will be on our way to enhancing our world.