UK life sciences researchers are set to benefit from £40 million made available through the Biomedical Catalyst Fund and industry, to help accelerate projects from the discovery stage to commercialisation.  

The Medical Research Council and Innovate UK (previously the Technology Strategy Board) are investing £32 million through the seventh round of the BMC, while industry has stumped up an additional £8 million.

The cash will be split among 38 awards in universities and companies across the UK that have the potential to transform the lives of patients with a range of conditions, including 20 MRC Confidence in Concept awards to universities to support early-stage translational projects.

In this round, over £3.2 million will support the first trial of a drug that targets one of the defects in the brain linked to schizophrenia, being developed by three universities and Autifony Therapeutics. Elsewhere, researchers at UCL will get £1.6 million to develop a home testing kit for bladder cancer in people with blood in the urine, potentially sparing patients the discomfort of a cystoscopy. 

“Getting an idea to market is one of the hardest challenges any entrepreneur or small businesses will face when trying to turn their innovative ideas into a reality,” said Greg Clark, Minister for Universities, Science and Cities. “The Biomedical Catalyst is giving a real lifeline to research and projects that will help improve or save countless lives.”