The UK’s Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) has invested £9.5 million in Manchester’s Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) as part of a second round of funding for the National Institute for Health Research unit created just over a year ago.

The NWDA initially invested £4.1 million to help launch the Manchester BRC, which is a partnership between Central Manchester & Manchester Children’s University Hospitals NHS Trust and the University of Manchester.

In this second round of funding, the partnership and the Department of Health have together provided match funding of £18.8 million along with other partners including AstraZeneca, Renovo, GlaxoSmithKline, the Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility and Manchester City Council.

The £9.5 million investment from the NWDA will help cover the centre’s operating costs while sustaining and further developing its business plan up to 2012, the agency noted. With a second round of funding, the centre will be in a better position to retain BRC status when this is assessed nationally in 2011.

As the NWDA pointed out, the Northwest is the only region of the UK outside the Southeast that has more than one NIHR BRC (the other centre is in Liverpool).

The Manchester BRC recently awarded £50,000 apiece for two Phase I clinical trials looking at, respectively, the potential of sitaxsentan (a selective endothelin receptor antagonist) to prevent lung inflammation in premature babies with bronchopulmonary dysplasia; and whether a new aldosterone antagonist can head off inflammation and damage to tissue surrounding the arteries in patients with metabolic syndrome.