The UK government has announced £48 million in new funding for biomedical research, to be provided through the Biomedical Catalyst scheme.

Over 70 research projects have been chosen for the new round of funding through the Catalyst, including: a revolutionary blood test which can identify Alzheimer’s disease; a potential new gene therapy for Parkinson’s disease; a new approach for treating cancerous tumours; and a wearable blanket providing light therapy for jaundiced newborns or conditions such as psoriasis.

Commenting on the investment, Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts said: “investing in this research will not only help us to realise treatments that could have remained trapped in the laboratory, but it will ensure that the UK continues to lead the global race in R&D.”

The Biomedical Catalyst is a scheme run jointly by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) - the UK’s innovation agency which is sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) - to find solutions to healthcare challenges.

This round of funding is the latest in a series from the Catalyst which has been successful in not only supporting individual healthcare innovations but also attracting additional investment from industry, said the TSB’s chief executive, Iain Gray.

“The companies we’ve supported via these funding rounds have all developed innovations with the potential to transform healthcare approaches and achieve commercial success,” he added.

Among the other innovations whose development will be supported by the new funding include projects which will tackle issues around the treatment of cancerous tumours, atrial fibrillation, haemophilia, eye disease, blood-borne infections, chronic pain, rheumatoid arthritis, youth obesity and Clostridium difficile.

“Since its inception, the Biomedical Catalyst has awarded over £170 million to UK scientists and businesses - this has been matched by an additional £97 million of private investment, with more likely to come as prospects are developed,” noted the MRC’s chief executive, Professor Sir John Savill.

“The academic-industry partnerships forged through this investment will help to improve lives by delivering the next generation of innovative therapies and will help drive the UK economy,” said Sir John.

Grant funding through the Biomedical Catalyst is available to academics and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK which are looking to develop innovative solutions to healthcare challenges, either individually or in collaboration. Support is available for projects arising from any sector or discipline.