Grants totalling £39m have been awarded to 32 projects led by small and medium-sized companies and universities to accelerate the development of innovative solutions to healthcare challenges.
These are the first awards made from the £180m Biomedical Catalyst, a programme of public funding jointly managed by the Technology Strategy Board and the Medical Research Council.
The programme, announced by Prime Minister David Cameron in December last year, is designed to deliver effective support for the best life science opportunities arising in the UK, enabling businesses and academics to speed-up the translation of scientific ideas into commercial propositions.
A digital healthcare system that will provide early diagnosis of dementia (presented by IXICO), a universal flu vaccine that could protect against all known strains of the illness (presented by scientists at the University of Oxford) and a targeted therapy for the treatment of prostate cancer (presented by Immunocore) are just three of the planned innovations that will be evaluated, developed or demonstrated using the funding provided by the Biomedical Catalyst.
David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science, said: “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.”
The Biomedical Catalyst’s initial funding awards, announced in August, injected nearly £10m into 14 universities and 18 SMEs, supporting them on the first steps in exploring the market potential of their scientific ideas.
Through these new funding awards, grants totalling £29.6m have been agreed for 22 projects led by SMEs while a further £9.5m has been awarded to 10 projects led by academic institutions.
Iain Gray, chief executive of the Technology Strategy Board, commented: “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.”