News story

£32 million boost for UK biomedical projects

Organisations across the UK will get funding to develop new treatments and technologies that could transform patients’ lives.

Image of a row of test tubes
The Biomedical Catalyst funds the development of treatments that could transform patients' lives

38 universities and companies from Aberdeen to Somerset will receive funding awards through the seventh round of the Biomedical Catalyst, a partnership between the Medical Research Council (MRC) and Innovate UK.

Life changing ideas

Among the projects supported in this round are:

  • the first human trial of a drug that targets one of the defects in the brain linked to schizophrenia
  • a home testing kit for bladder cancer, sparing patients the discomfort of a cystoscopy
  • trials of a new drug to minimise the inflammation caused by colds and which can lead to asthma attacks
  • development and trials of a gel to minimise post-operation scarring
  • development of a drug to combat retinopathy – damage to blood vessels at the back of the eye – a serious and common complication of diabetes that can lead to blindness
  • using movement sensors from a games console could improve brain imaging to diagnose and monitor people with dementia

Funding for this round will be boosted by over £8 million leveraged from industry – bringing the total investment to £40 million.

A total of £350 million in funding has been invested in the Biomedical Catalyst since it was set up in 2011. This latest round of funding brings the total number of awards to 293.

Support to turn ideas into reality

Greg Clark, Minister for Universities, Science and Cities said:

Getting an idea to market is one of the hardest challenges any entrepreneur or small businesses will face when trying to turn their innovative ideas into a reality. The Biomedical Catalyst is giving a real lifeline to research and projects that will help improve or save countless lives.

Zahid Latif, Head of Health and Care at Innovate UK said:

The UK’s life sciences industry is behind some of the most exciting discoveries and new healthcare products of the moment and the Biomedical Catalyst programme will help that continue.

The Catalyst provides crucial support for small firms without which they would not have been able to take the next step on the long road to bring their potentially life changing drugs to the market.

Published 26 March 2015