The Medicines Discovery Catapult, MQ Mental Health and Alzheimer’s Research UK have announced a new strategic collaboration called ‘The Psychiatry Consortium’.

The partnership, which will be supported by the Wellcome Trust, will focus on identifying and validating novel drug targets for unmet therapeutic needs for psychiatric symptoms affecting people with mental health conditions and dementia.

Major industry players already engaged as inaugural members of the consortium include Biogen, Boehringer Ingelheim, Johnson & Johnson Innovation Limited, Lundbeck, MSD and Takeda.

Collectively, the charity and industry partners aim to provide approximately £3 million in research funding over a period of three years, with the aim of delivering up to 10 high-value drug-discovery projects.

Ian Campbell, interim executive chair of Innovate UK believes that the collaboration “signals tangible progress in changing the shape of UK innovation in medicines discovery. The Catapult believes that the future of medicines discovery has the patient at its heart.

“This Consortium shows that industry, academia and charities believe that too. The UK Government has prioritised addressing mental health and Innovate UK is playing its role in delivery. We share the Consortium’s vision and proudly support the Catapult in its ongoing mission to support the sector by delivering multiple technology and process improvements.”

With only 5.8% of the total UK research budget dedicated to mental health research, funding currently falls dramatically short of what is required, lagging behind many other conditions.

One in ten children, and one in four adults, approximately 15 million people in the UK, experience mental illness each year, affecting their wellbeing, relationships, and potential ability to work. The economic and social cost has been estimated as £105 billion a year in England alone.