UK’s health industries to benefit from £93m package of support

The investment includes £25.9 million from Round 3 of the Biomedical Catalyst and 29 companies and five universities will receive funding for projects including clinical trials to ‘repurpose’ a cancer drug that could be used to treat rheumatoid arthritis.

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 addition a new £38 million 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 £29.3 million 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.

David Willetts, universities and science minister, said that the UK has to invest in new technologies in order for it to maintain its 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,” he added.

The Technology Strategy Board is continuing to invest in a range of innovative businesses. Working alongside the Department for Health, £7.3 million 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.

Five businesses will received a share of £5.6 million to develop new diagnostic tests for Tuberculosis. These will allow healthcare staff to get rapid results when testing and has resulted in an additional £2.9 million in private sector investment.

And 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.

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

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