An early-stage drug development company based at the University of Liverpool has been given over £4 million from a new government fund.

Redx Pharma has received the money from the third round of the government’s £1 billion Regional Growth Fund, which aims to boost local economies.

The firm has a conditional offer of £4.7 million to help fund an initial two-year pre-clinical phase of a five-year R&D project. The project will aim to deliver new treatments for microbial infection as well as anti-viral therapies for conditions such as influenza, hepatitis C and HIV, for progression to human clinical trials.

The research will create 119 skilled jobs directly at the company within chemistry, biochemistry and analytical testing, and a further 28 specialist jobs within the wider supply chain over its lifetime.

The business secretary Vince Cable visited the University this week to announce their round three offer, as well as to meet staff and see the progress from their round two project, which received £5.9 million from the Regional Growth Fund to establish a state-of-the-art oncology centre.

Speaking at the University of Liverpool, Cable said: “The Regional Growth Fund is creating the long-term growth and jobs that Liverpool and the north west [of England] needs.

“Redx Pharma’s previous award from round two has already helped them establish an impressive oncology research centre and has created over 50 new jobs since April this year. I look forward to seeing the progress of the vital drugs research that they are carrying out which will maintain the UK’s competitiveness within the life sciences industry and deliver benefits for patients.”

This new investment comes ahead of the government’s announcement that it will allocating £1 billion worth of funding from the third round of the Fund to a number of different industries.

Pharma to benefit from investment

It was also announced that five of the round three bids linked to the pharmaceuticals sector have been selected, with £17 million being awarded from the Fund - this will unlock £80 million private investment by the sector, according to the Business, Industry and Skills department.

Dr Neil Murray, chief executive of Redx Pharma, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded a second grant from the Regional Growth Fund. Their support is critical in enabling Redx to create a sustainable business and adapt to the rapidly-changing R&D landscape in the pharmaceutical industry. We have strong partners in Liverpool in the City, the NHS and the universities and we look forward to working with them as we take our infectious disease business forwards.