£93.2m to support new healthcare innovations

Government announces further investment in business and academic projects

Innovative business and academic projects from across the UK’s health sector will benefit from a new £93.2m package of support announced today by Universities and Science Minister, David Willetts.

The investment includes £25.9m from Round Three of the Biomedical Catalyst, with 29 companies and five universities benefitting. Projects include clinical trials to ‘repurpose’ a cancer drug that could be used to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA); and an implant to reduce pain and restore mobility to knee cartilage injuries.

The Biomedical Catalyst programme has already proved a significant success, providing the support companies need to develop their innovations and solve healthcare challenges

As part of the recent Spending Review it was announced that there will be additional support for the Catalyst. Academic researchers and universities can continue to apply for additional funding through the Technology Strategy Board and Medical Research Council (MRC) in Round 4 of the Biomedical Catalyst, which is now open.

In a further boost to the biomedical industry, a new £38m National Biologics Manufacturing Centre (NBMC) will be based in Darlington. The centre, being funded through investment announced as part of the life sciences strategy, will be a national base for the manufacturing of biological medicines such as antibodies and vaccines.

To complete the package of support, a further £29.3m of investment in healthcare innovation has been announced through three Technology Strategy Board led funding competitions. These will support businesses in areas such as stratified medicine and regenerative medicine.

Willetts said: “By investing in new technologies now we are maintaining the UK’s position as a world leader for innovation. The biomedical industry is a fast moving, high-growth sector and the Catalyst has proven to be extremely successful in supporting new business ideas. This investment further drives forward our life sciences strategy.

“The new National Biologics Manufacturing Centre will significantly increase the UK’s manufacturing capability in biologics, keeping us ahead in the global race and strengthening the UK’s position as the location of choice for life sciences companies.”

Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board, Iain Gray, added: “The Biomedical Catalyst programme has already proved a significant success, providing the support companies need to develop their innovations and solve healthcare challenges.

“The projects funded through this latest round of the programme demonstrate both the innovative nature of the UK’s health R&D sector and the success of the programme in identifying projects with strong commercial potential.”

The projects funded through this latest round of the programme demonstrate both the innovative nature of the UK’s health R&D sector and the success of the programme in identifying projects with strong commercial potential

The Technology Strategy Board is continuing to invest in a range of innovative businesses. Working alongside the Department for Health, £7.3m will be invested in four companies looking to develop personalised approaches to healthcare, known as stratified medicine. This will allow patients to be assessed quickly, effectively and be given the correct treatment for their condition. £5.6m will be invested in five business-led collaborative projects looking to develop new diagnostic tests for Tuberculosis (TB). These will allow healthcare staff to get rapid results when testing and has resulted in an additional £2.9m in private sector investment.

An £8.4 million investment has also been made by the Technology Strategy Board in seven companies and business-led consortiums exploring healthcare solutions in regenerative medicine and cell therapy. These businesses will look at using cells to develop treatments for a range of conditions including strokes and surgical procedures. The funding has attracted a further £5.1m from the private sector.

In total these projects alone are worth £29.3m of investment to the industry.

Companies