The UK Government has handed out new cash awards to help boost to the UK bioscience sector.

This funding injection cones from the first round of the ‘Biomedical Catalyst awards,’ which has given 22 companies £29.6 million to help accelerate the development of new medical products and technologies to treat areas of unmet medical need.

The UK Biomedical Catalyst, which was announced by the UK prime minister David Cameron in December 2011, is managed jointly by the Medical Research Council and the Technology Strategy Board.

Overall, £39 million worth of funding has been announced for 32 projects leveraging in significant private finance making the total value of the work in excess of £63 million - a significant boost for UK medical research.

The BIA, which represents the UK biotech sector, said it ‘warmly welcomed’ the announcement of the first early and late-stage grant awards.

Steve Bates, BIA chief executive, said: “This latest announcement of BioMedical Catalyst funding is a very welcome boost for UK bioscience, a key UK export sector. It will support 22 innovative companies researching and developing new treatments and technologies for improved patient benefit. It's great that the UK’s excellence in medical research can now move closer to becoming therapies for patients.

“Because angel and other private sector investors understand the rigour of this process and the calibre of the assessors, a successful Biomedical Catalyst fund application pays dividends when seeking other forms of investment.

“BIA members found the process quicker and easier than previous government initiatives which makes a difference for time pressed small businesses. We're particularly pleased that more feedback is given during the process as we have suggested.” 

Firms welcome funds 

Glide Pharma, the specialty pharmaceutical company focused on the new ways of administration for solid dose formulations of therapeutics and vaccines, was given £2.3 million via the awards to support the development of a novel formulation of teriparatide (parathyroid hormone) for the treatment of osteoporosis.

Dr Sam Williams, chief executive of Modern Biosciences, a recipient of an award of up to £1.6 million to support its lead anti-inflammatory programme, OsteoRx, said: “The award enables us to take the OsteoRx programme to a much more advanced stage than might otherwise be possible, thereby increasing the chances of this new treatment reaching patients and achieving eventual commercial success.”