LifeArc, the UK medical research charity formerly known as MRC Technology, is investing £500 million over the next five years to underpin its aims of advancing innovations in antimicrobials, neuroscience, personalised oncology and respiratory medicine.

The charity, which evolved from the Medical Research Council, plans to build on its collaboration model by setting up ‘Communities for Impact’, networks that will will bring together the partners best placed to drive forward medical innovation in specific therapeutic and diagnostic areas.

“LifeArc is a new name for an organisation that already has an impressive track record of pioneering new ways to turn the best science into patient treatments,” said its chief executive Dr Dave Tapolczay. “The name LifeArc better reflects what we achieve in being the arc or bridge between great science and its application to help patients”.

The charity - which helped develop Keytruda (pembrolizumab), Actemra (tocilizumab), Tysabri (natalizumab) and Entyvio (vedolizumab) and a test for antimicrobial resistance - said it has also set up two new funds to progress medical science worth a combined £30 million over four years.

The Philanthropic Fund, to be launched in 2018, will provide grants to support academic research funded by other medical research charities and organisations in areas typically unattractive to investment, in the hope of boosting patient outcomes.

The Seed Fund will stream money into in early preclinical stage therapeutics and biological research.