A £180m fund designed to bridge the ‘valley of death’ for medical breakthroughs in the UK will kick off at the end of April
A £180m government scheme designed to support collaboration between innovative SMEs and academics for developing solutions to healthcare challenges will open for applications at the end of April, according to announcements by the UK’s Technology Strategy Board The Biomedical Catalyst is a key element of the Strategy for Life Sciences launched by Prime Minister David Cameron in December 2011. It will see the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Technology Strategy Board working together to take the best British medical breakthroughs through to commercial success. Announcing the opening of the fund at a life sciences roundtable event in Japan, Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts said, “The Government is absolutely committed to ensuring the future success of the UK’s life sciences industry and one of the key challenges is tackling the so-called ‘valley of death’. This exists between the moment that a bright new idea is developed in the laboratory and the point when a new drug or technology can be invested in by the market. The £180 million Biomedical Catalyst program will bridge this funding gap.”Under the Biomedical Catalyst scheme, three categories of grant awards will be available – feasibility, early stage and late stage clinical research. Individual grants to businesses will range from a maximum of £150,000 for feasibility awards to £3 million for early and late stage awards. Projects could focus on stratified therapy development, regenerative medicine, diagnostics, eHealth and mHealth solutions, enabling medical technologies and devices. The announcement complements a £200m VC funding initiative termed Project Sigma launched in March by the British Wellcome Trust .