Small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) and universities are set to benefit from a tranche of Biomedical Catalyst funding.
Some 32 projects are being awarded a portion of the capital, the first ‘substantial’ awards from the £180 million Biomedical Catalyst, a programme of public funding jointly managed by the Technology Strategy Board and the Medical Research Council.
Prime minister David Cameron launched the Biomedical Catalyst in December 2011 with the aim of providing ‘effective support’ for life science opportunities in the UK.
The department for Technology Strategy Board says that taking into account contributions to the projects from the participating companies, the total value of the research, evaluation, development and demonstration work to be undertaken by the 32 projects involved is projected to be £63 million.
Amongst the 32 recipients are a digital healthcare system which will provide early diagnosis of dementia, a universal flu vaccine and a therapy for the treatment of prostate cancer.
SME Immunocore is the business developing a prostate cancer treatment therapy. Its biologic drug is said to recognise changes within cells, meaning it can be used to treat diseases that are not currently amenable to targeted biological therapies.
David Willetts, minister for universities and science, comments, ‘Britain is in a global race today and this £39 million investment will help keep us at the very forefront of life sciences by supporting some of our most innovative SMEs and universities.
‘It will help take excellent ideas through to market, driving growth and helping patients benefit from the very latest technologies and treatments.’
The Biomedical Catalyst’s initial funding awards in August saw some £10 million injected into 14 universities and 18 SMEs.
Technology Strategy Board chief executive Iain Gray says that he has been ‘hugely impressed’ by the number and quality of applications.
He adds, ‘By providing vital finance to help at least some of these companies to evaluate, develop and demonstrate their exciting healthcare innovations, the Biomedical Catalyst is helping to turn promising ideas into innovative technologies faster.’
Grants to the 22 SME-led projects, totalling £29.6 million, will be administered by the Technology Strategy Board. Grants to the 10 university-led projects, totalling £9.5 million, will be administered by the Medical Research Council.
The 22 business-led projects will be managed by: Arecor, Bioinduction, Cantab Biopharmaceuticals, Creabilis, Cyclacel, Discuva, ELISHA Systems, Glide Pharmaceutical Technologies, ImmunoBiology, Immunocore, Intelligent Fingerprinting, IXICO, Kalvista Pharmaceuticals, Medical Research Council Technology, Modern Biosciences, OJ-Bio, Pharminox, Prosonix, PsiOxus Therapeutics, QuantuMDx Group, Sentinel Oncology and UB Pharma.
The 10 academic-led projects will be managed by: University of Oxford (2 projects), MRC Unit – The Gambia, Royal Holloway – University of London, King’s College London, University College London (3 projects), Leeds & York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, University of Manchester.