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Support for the future of UK bioscience sector

David Willetts, MP, Minister for Science and Universities, has announced that the Medical Research Council and the Technology Strategy Board are committing almost £26 million to enable innovative life science projects through the third round of the Biomedical Catalyst. Winning companies come from across the country and include firms from Manchester, Scotland, Wales, Oxford, Cambridge and London.

David Willetts, MP, Minister for Science and Universities, has announced that the Medical Research Council and the Technology Strategy Board are committing almost £26 million to enable innovative life science projects through the third round of the Biomedical Catalyst. Winning companies come from across the country and include firms from Manchester, Scotland, Wales, Oxford, Cambridge and London.
The Minister also announced that the National Biologics Manufacturing Centre, a key commitment of the government’s Life science Strategy One Year on document, will be based in Darlington.
Biomedical Catalyst
The Medical Research Council and the Technology Strategy Board will invest £16 million in business-led projects leveraging in at least £13 million from other investors. Additionally almost £10 million is being invested in academic-led projects.
Steve Bates, BIA Chief Executive Officer, said:
“To date over £70 million of private investment has been leveraged into UK life science companies as a result of the Biomedical Catalyst scheme. This is enabling this strategically vital sector of the UK economy to do more research and grow faster.
“Today’s announcement enables 35 innovative projects to move forward. They range from new therapies for genetic disorders, to advanced cell therapies, to vaccines of the future and new methods of tackling drug resistant bacteria – reflecting the vibrancy and variety of the UK biomedical ecosystem.
 
“The Biomedical Catalyst – a growing brand in global biotech – is also enabling UK biotech entrepreneurs to showcase their innovation to the world. Having the scheme as an investor in your company de-risks your idea for other investors and enables UK companies to develop the therapies of the future faster.”
Biomedical Catalyst recipient example – Summit develop rare disease drug
Summit plc today received a Biomedical Catalyst award to help advance a utrophin modulating drug into patient clinical trials for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), a fatal genetic disease that affects approximately 1,500 boys and young men in the UK. The trial aims to establish clinical proof of concept for the candidate and validate it as a viable therapy. What’s novel for this scheme is that the funding mix to support this work includes the Biomedical Catalyst, private investors and patient group funding.
Glyn Edwards, Chief Executive of Summit plc, said:
“Summit is delighted to have been awarded this prestigious grant from the UK Biomedical Catalyst that will support the clinical development of our DMD programme. The collective support from investors, the DMD community and now the Biomedical Catalyst will enable our programme to start patient clinical trials that aim to validate utrophin modulation as a viable treatment for all forms of this devastating condition.”
National Biologics Manufacturing Centre location
The BIA welcomed the announcement by government in December 2012 that it would establish the National Biologics Manufacturing Centre. The BIA and its members have been actively engaged with the Technology Strategy Board and the Centre for Process Innovation, who will manage the National Biologics Manufacturing Centre, in the development of the requirement brief for the centre. BIA members are also represented on its Industry Steering Board.
Steve Bates, BIA Chief Executive Officer, said:
“The National Biologics Manufacturing Centre will provide a valuable resource for the biologics manufacturing sector in the UK. The centre will help the UK capture more of the expanding global market in high value, high quality manufacture of biologic medicines. It is another key piece in the jigsaw in developing a supportive ecosystem for the bioscience sector alongside successful measures such as the Biomedical Catalyst, Patent Box and the Cell Therapy Catapult.”
Stephen Ward, Chair of the BIA Manufacturing Advisory Committee and Chief Operating Officer at the Cell Therapy Catapult, said:
“The establishment of National Biologics Manufacturing Centre will help underpin the highly-skilled R&D supply chain in the UK. The centre’s focus on industry needs will help drive innovative manufacturing technologies to commercial reality.”
Regenerative medicine, stratified medicine and tuberculosis funding
The Minister also announced that the Technology Strategy Board will invest £29 million into innovative health companies. Four companies will share £7.3 million to develop stratified medicine; five companies will share £5.6 million to develop new diagnostic tests for tuberculosis and seven groups will share £8.4 million for regenerative medicine and cell therapy.


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