BioIndustry Association urges Biomedical Catalyst funding to continue

Published: 10-Aug-2015

As a further £18m in funding for a dozen new life science projects is announced

The UK government's Biomedical Catalyst (BMC) should be maintained or small companies may once again fall into the funding 'valley of death', according to the BioIndustry Association (BIA).

The trade organisation makes this assertion in a new report, The Biomedical Catalyst, published today, just after the announcement of another £18m in funding for a dozen new initiatives.

The report gives a retrospective of the current scheme and showcases ten case studies from companies who have been recipients of BMC funding.

The BMC scheme, launched in April 2012, has to date awarded more than £250m in grants to 180 projects to accelerate medical research, which has attracted more than £100m in private capital, the BIA said.

Moreover, an additional £1bn has subsequently been raised by BMC-funded companies in the form of additional private finance and grant funding, through licensing or acquisition.

The Biomedical Catalyst fills a crucial structural gap in the UK investment pathway

The new BIA report says the BMC is a 'successful government policy that is underpinning the ongoing growth of the UK life sciences sector' and calls for it to be continued.

Steve Bates, CEO of the BIA, said: 'The Biomedical Catalyst fills a crucial structural gap in the UK investment pathway, early in company development where private sector investors will not venture alone. If this is removed or diluted, already invested SMEs will fall again into the funding valley of death and the whole life sciences ecosystem, and UK economic growth will suffer.'

The report, published under the United Life Sciences partnership, is also supported by Bionow, BioPartner UK, MediWales and One Nucleus.

It points out that other markets such as the US and Germany operate funding schemes that take technology closer to market, and warns that removing this early stage funding could mean that the UK will lose its position as Europe’s leader in ground-breaking life sciences industry developments.

Meanwhile, the BMC has today announced that 12 new treatments, diagnostics and medical technologies will receive funding, including a project that aims to develop a treatment for Crohn's disease (King's College London; £2,908,102); another that has identified a small molecule inhibitor with potential to be developed for treating soft tissue sarcomas and other cancers (Mission Therapeutics; £1,892,918); and a third that will conduct a Phase I/IIa trial of a humanised monoclonal antibody for treating wet AMD (University College London; £5,501,648).

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