£30 million fund to advance life-changing cancer therapeutics

Multi pipette research of cancer stem cells

Innovate UK is launching a new £30 million fund to advance life-changing cancer therapeutics delivered through the Biomedical Catalyst (BMC) programme.

Advancing cancer treatment

This initiative aims to unleash business-led innovation from the UK’s vibrant research base in immuno-oncology, treatments that guide the patient’s own immune system to target their cancer cells.

In addition, this fund will support innovation projects that address unmet medical needs in treating childhood cancers, a leading cause of death between the ages of 0 to 14 in the UK.

Novel medicines

These themes support Innovate UK’s plan for action to build its future economy from global leadership in science and technology and provide novel medicines that ultimately improve the health of the nation and globally.

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.

Alongside this, Innovate UK has already seen an increase in demand for funding ideas that advance transformative cancer treatments.

In response to this, it has already invested over £7 million to fund 6 exciting new projects in immuno-oncology and paediatric cancers. From funding a clinical study to evaluate a novel vaccine to prevent metastases, to the development of new software to enable precision dosing of chemotherapy for childhood cancers.

Biomedical Catalyst programme

As highlighted in Innovate UK’s strategic delivery plan, BMC is unique in offering a suite of technology-agnostic programmes. It supports small and medium-sized enterprises to progress projects at different stages and is well placed to deliver the £30 million funding allocation.

With this investment, Innovate UK will launch focused funding competitions through BMC. It will include 2 oncology accelerators for early-stage projects in immuno-oncology and paediatric cancer and thematic collaborative research and development support, as well as bespoke investor partnership programmes.

Supporting UK’s life sciences vision

In addition, Innovate UK is supporting the government’s ambition to develop of a globally competitive UK life sciences venture capital ecosystem that facilitates scaling and growth of UK life science companies.

This new programme directly supports the ambition of UK government’s cancer mission, announced today (28 November 2022), to develop new therapeutics by combining expertise in immuno-oncology and the vaccine capabilities developed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Producing transformative medicines

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 programme offers a supportive ecosystem for UK entrepreneurs to deliver next-generation cancer therapies.

Top image:  Credit: luchschen, iStock, Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

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