Cancer Research UK is launching two new funding streams worth £10 million to accelerate the translation of research on biological cancer therapies into novel treatments for patients.

The Biotherapeutic Programme Awards will provide support for up to five years with total funding of £2.5 million for research aimed at all stages of biotherapeutics drug discovery and development.

The Biotherapeutic Drug Discovery Project Awards will offer around £100,000 per year for projects (lasting around two years) that focus on identification/validation of new targets and the discovery and development of novel agents. 

Applications for both will be accepted from scientists, clinicians or healthcare workers in UK universities, medical schools, hospitals and some research institutions, and will be judged on the potential value of research findings to develop a new therapeutic approach.

MedImmune link

The charity also said that it is linking up with MedImmune, the research and development arm of AstraZeneca, to support these new awards, giving access to the firm’s expertise in antibody production and library of potential biological therapies.

“Biotherapeutics already play an important role in the treatment of cancer but there‘s huge potential to do more for patients,” said Alexa Smith, head of translational funding at CR UK, noting that “the technologies required to generate these medicines are well established and this scheme is designed to boost the efforts to identify and test new biotherapeutics”.

Just last month CRUK entered into an innovative partnership with AZ and MedImmune to establish a joint laboratory in Cambridge, UK, at which scientists from both groups will work on the discovery and development of novel biologic cancer treatments.