Partnership funds diagnosis and treatments for prostate cancer

doctor holding a blue ribbon, a symbol for prostate cancer awareness

UKRI’s Healthy Ageing Challenge and cancer charity Prostate Cancer Research have agreed to become investment partners, a first for UKRI.

The partnership will combine government grant funding and equity investment by the charity to fund better ways to diagnose and treat prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer accounts for 25% of cancers diagnosed in men. Each year, around 50,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in the UK, and numbers of diagnoses are rising at around 2% each year.

Side effects of treatment

In early disease, the side effects of treatment often have a significant harmful impact on:

  • quality of life
  • emotional wellbeing
  • mental health.

Around 13% of men have incurable metastatic disease at the time of diagnosis and prostate cancer is the second most common cause of male cancer death.

Funding for early-stage companies

Prostate Cancer Research aims to offer several million over the next few years in equity funding, aligned with funding by UKRI, for early-stage companies that are working on:

  • treatments
  • diagnostics
  • services that tackle prostate cancer.

The charity’s initial allocation is £300k.

Healthy Ageing Challenge

UKRI’s Healthy Ageing Challenge investment partnership programme is delivered by Innovate UK.

It combines government funding and private investment in research and business, supporting innovators to produce products and services that promote healthy ageing, and which can be adopted at scale.

Prostate Cancer Research joins other investment partners Northstar Ventures, Nesta and 24Haymarket.

Total funding available under the programme includes £15.5 million of grant funding and £15.5 million of equity investment.

Supporting innovative businesses

Indro Mukerjee, CEO of Innovate UK, said:

I welcome this important initiative with Prostate Cancer Research, which has the potential to translate cutting edge science into innovative commercial solutions. Charities have long played a key role in research, and I welcome this move into supporting innovative businesses. It is a first for Innovate UK and paves the way for other charities to follow.

Bringing about positive change

Oliver Kemp, CEO of Prostate Cancer Research, said:

Diagnosed late, prostate cancer can be fatal and for those diagnosed early, the treatments as well as the condition itself, can have long-term repercussions for health and wellbeing.

Strategic investment in support of innovations that meet the needs and preferences of patients is the key to bringing about positive change for all those diagnosed with prostate cancer. We are absolutely delighted to be the first charity to partner with UK Research and Innovation in this way.

This investment partnership will significantly bolster our ability to create an environment where financial support, advice and collaboration accelerate our journey towards a future where men diagnosed with prostate cancer live longer and with a better quality of life.

Encourage scientific and innovation breakthroughs

Providing grant funding alongside equity investment helps encourage scientific and innovation breakthroughs for a whole range of issues that affect an ageing population.

Vitally, the government contribution de-risks the private or third-sector sector investment, allowing cutting edge innovation to prosper and scale up until it becomes attractive to the traditional venture capital market.

Innovators can apply for funding through the partnership.

Further information

About Prostate Cancer Research’s investment

The charity’s mission is to create scientific breakthroughs by directing financial support, advice and collaboration opportunities that could have a meaningful impact on patients’ lives.

Its investment programme (Proven Connect) is dedicated to supporting companies developing:

  • innovative diagnostics
  • therapeutics
  • drug delivery systems
  • services that have the potential to transform the patient journey for men with prostate cancer.

It will focus on early-stage investments, including:

  • companies for whom prostate cancer is a primary target
  • companies with innovative technologies with potential applications in prostate cancer.

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

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