Cancer Research UK has kicked off its first initiative to drive entrepreneurship in the field with two new partnerships with Deep Science Ventures and Panacea.

The Entrepreneurial Programmes Initiative strives to promote the development of new business ventures within academia by providing researchers with the guidance and tools to translate their research.

The partnerships will progress two business accelerator programmes, providing support and education to early career researchers, helping to transform innovative ideas from within the cancer research community into viable companies that can one day benefit patients, the charity noted.

Deep Science Ventures and Cancer Research UK will co-fund a one-year programme where researchers are invited to explore areas of oncology in need of translational progress. At least three successful applicants will be further supported to investigate key challenges in oncology.

After a promising idea has been identified, researchers will form a team with the knowledge and expertise to develop a solution. As the idea progresses, the group will then receive funding to perform proof of concept work and successful groups may form spin-outs.

“While there are incredibly talented people working in the field, the sector still suffers from many of the broader challenges in pharmaceuticals, including the dependence on a linear pathway from grant application to discovery, venture and into the clinic. This partnership allows us to bring together the outstanding research capability of Cancer Research UK’s network with DSV’s model of rapidly exploring the cross-disciplinary potential of science, in order to address the complexity presented by cancer,” said Dr Mark Hammond, founding director of Deep Science Ventures.

The charity's partnership with Panacea will it to support a one-year programme providing researchers with entrepreneurial skills and business support to progress their ideas from lab to company.

For successful applicants the programme will begin with a phase of idea generation and refinement, followed by the chance to develop business plans, build pitching expertise, and engage with industry investor experts.

“The timing has never been better for UK scientists and clinicians within the oncology domain to receive support to further explore the translational potential of their research,” said Mina Bekheet, Panacea’s chief executive and founder. “Together with Cancer Research UK and a consortium of partners, we are delighted to be at the forefront of joining some of the world’s best minds on their journey to introduce novel solutions to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer.”

These two initiatives are open to all UK researchers. The charity said it hopes the partnerships combined with the planned future expansion of the programme will encourage researchers to translate their work into the medicines and diagnostics of tomorrow.