Second Round of funding
07.11.2012 - The British government-backed Biomedical Catalyst has started its second round of funding. A total of £39m will be given to 32 of UK’s leading life science projects.
The money comes from a £180m funding initiative set up in in December 2011 to help spur the commercialisation of new medical products and technologies being developed by UK businesses and universities. The funds are jointly administered by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) and the Medical Research Council (MRC). The TSB manages 22 SME-led projects, totalling £29.6m. Business recipients include Cambridge biotech company Arecor, which has been awarded £85,000 to accelerate the development of high concentration antibodies to allow more convenient administration of future therapeutic medicines and reduce healthcare costs. KalVista Pharmaceuticals (Southampton) will use its £2.4m grant to further develop its oral plasma kallikrein inhibitor as a treatment for diabetic macular edema (DME). Other recipients include PsiOxus Therapeutics, which received £1.7m to develop a virus-based oncolytic vaccine for treating ovarian cancer, and Modern Biosciences, which received £1.6m to push forward the development of a novel anti-inflammatory compound for treating rheumatoid arthritis. Additional companies receiving funding include dermatology and inflammation company Creabilis S.A. (Canterbury, £1.4m); cancer company Cyclacel Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Dundee, £1.9m); drug delivery company Glide Pharma Technologies Ltd. (Abingdon, £2.3m) and medical imaging company IXICO Ltd. (London).
Grants to the 10 university-led projects, totalling £9.5m will be administered by the Medical Research Council. Academic recipients include Oxford University, which will use its grant to conduct human trials of a universal flu jab that could protect against all known strains of the illness.
“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“, stated David Willetts, UK’s Minister for Universities and Science.
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 exceeds £63m. The Biomedical Catalyst’s initial funding awards, announced in August, injected nearly £10m into 14 universities and 18 SMEs, supporting them on their vital first steps in exploring the market potential of their scientific ideas.