The Medical Research Council (MRC) and UCB have launched a new scheme designed to help accelerate work on the development of antibody-based therapeutics.

Under the initiative, the MRC will fund up to five projects a year giving UK academic scientists access to UCB’s technologies in order to facilitate the potential discovery of new monoclonal antibodies, that can then be used to research the mechanisms of disease and identify novel therapeutic targets.

Researchers will be able to tap into UCB’s high-throughput antibody discovery technology, which enables large numbers of antibodies to be sampled quickly to assess if they are suitable for the research or treatment of human diseases such as cancer, infection and autoimmune conditions.

“Through access to UCB’s state of the art technology we are hoping that this collaboration will enable scientists to deepen their understanding of disease, identify new therapeutic targets and kick-start the search for new medicines,” noted Chris Watkins, director of innovation, at the MRC.

UK-based academics will be able to submit projects to the MRC for consideration, those projects selected for support should begin sometime in the second quarter of 2018.