The government’s new Precision Medicine Catapult is be centred in Cambridge with links to regional centres of excellence across the UK, it was announced today.

The catapult’s headquarters will be housed at Cambridge Biomedical Campus - also new home of drugs giant AstraZeneca - and headed up by John McKinley as chief executive. The site was chosen because of its access to an internationally recognised biotech cluster plus academic and private sector precision medicine expertise. 

“This is a great move to put the UK at the forefront of this burgeoning area of science,” said Eliot Forster, Executive Chair of MedCity, and will “attract significant interest and new investment”. 

“The new catapult will give a real boost to our capacity to commercialise our innovative research in precision medicine, with the consequence of far-reaching health and economic benefits,” he noted.

Medicines technology catapult

In a further boost to the UK’s research infrastructure, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne also unveiled new funding of £5 million to establish a catapult centre in medicines technology at Alderley Park in C_heshire.

As a means of nurturing innovation, Catapult centres were launched in 2011 with the aim of bringing together researchers, scientists and businesses to help start-ups bring ideas to market that might otherwise struggle to get there because of a lack of funding, expertise or facilities. 

Innovate UK chief executive Ruth McKernan said today’s announcement “will mean that the UK will have a world-class network of medicines Catapults – Precision Medicine, Medicines Technologies and our existing Cell Therapy Catapult. Together these three complementary Catapults should keep the UK at the forefront of a sector we have long excelled in and act as a magnet for inward investment”.