Innovate UK announces £30m fund for cancer therapeutics

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags Immuno-oncology Uk

Innovate UK is launching a new £30m ($36m) fund to advance cancer therapeutics delivered through the Biomedical Catalyst (BMC) program.

The initiative ‘aims to unleash business-led innovation’ from the UK’s research base in immuno-oncology. It will also have a focus on projects that address unmet medical needs in treating childhood cancers: a leading cause of death between ages 0-14 in the UK.

Biomedical catalyst program

The BMC supports small and medium-sized enterprises in progressing new products and securing onward investment, and is charged with delivering the £30m funding allocation. 

It will include two oncology accelerators for early-stage projects in immuno-oncology and pediatric cancer and thematic collaborative research and development support, as well as bespoke investor partnership program.

Dr Karen Spink, Head of Medicines at Innovate UK said: “This dedicated fund will accelerate the development of safer and more effective treatment options for cancer patients, including children.

“Through our COVID-19 response the UK has built stronger capabilities to produce transformative medicines such as mRNA vaccines and therapeutics.

“Armed with these learnings from the pandemic and our world class science base, this new program offers a supportive ecosystem for UK entrepreneurs to deliver next-generation cancer therapies.”

Precision therapies

Innovate UK, part of the UK’s national funding agency for science and research, has previously set out a plan for action to build science, tech and business innovation from 2021 – 2025.

“Opportunities exist to learn from new technology approaches developed during the COVID-19 pandemic, not only to prepare for future pandemic threats but to deploy them in other areas such as the development and manufacture of precision therapies,”​ notes the agency.

Alongside this, Innovate UK has already seen an increase in demand for funding ideas that advance transformative cancer treatments. As a result, it has already invested £7m to fund six new projects in immuno-oncology and pediatric cancers: ranging from a novel vaccine to prevent metastases, to the development of new software to enable precision dosing of chemotherapy for childhood cancers.

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