Research funding round-up

Published: 29-Mar-2019

Capital to support the development of new drugs and technology around the world

Oncology market

LifeArc and Ono Pharmaceutical have joined forces with Cancer Research UK in a multi-year partnership to identify targets for the development of both antibody and small molecule therapeutics.

Boosted by a multimillion pound investment from Ono and a further investment from LifeArc, drug discovery experts will be pursuing targets within Cancer Research UK’s extensive portfolio of immuno-oncology research.

This new collaboration expands upon an existing alliance between Cancer Research UK and LifeArc announced in 2017.

Under the terms of the deal, LifeArc will progress antibody projects via its antibody screening and development expertise. Small molecule projects will be taken forward by Cancer Research UK’s Therapeutic Discovery Labs.

Cell sampling

Solentim and Valitacell, British and Irish biotech companies, have established a €3.5 million funding to produce an integrated platform to deposit, culture, profile and select optimal cells for the manufacture of life-saving biological medicines.

Building on the existing partnership between the two companies signed in February 2019, Germany's Microcoat Biotechnologies has joined the consortium to further strengthen manufacturing capability and scale.

Work over the next 24 months will see the alliance develop a new platform technology, including hardware component, enabling precision sample preparation, on-board imaging and sample tracking of clones and cell samples.

When combined with a novel plate consumable, this technology will significantly improve ranking and selection of top clones for manufacturing, the alliance claims.

Genetic research

Evox has secured £1.5 million in funding from Innovate UK. The funds will be used to support the company's pre-clinical development of an exosome-based therapy to treat argininosuccinic aciduria (ASA), a rare life-threatening metabolic disease. The research will be done in collaboration with University College London (UCL).

The Oxford-based therapeutics specialist is engineering exosomes, the body’s natural vesicular delivery system, to enable a wide variety of drugs to reach previously inaccessible tissues and compartments, including crossing the blood-brain barrier to deliver drugs to the central nervous system for extra-hepatic delivery of RNA therapeutics.

Michael J. Fox Foundation

Inflazome has been awarded funding in excess of US$1 million by The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF). The grant will fund the development of an NLRP3-specific Positron Emission Tomography (PET) tracer to allow non-invasive imaging of inflammasome-driven inflammation in the brain.

Headquartered in Ireland, Inflazome has pioneered several small molecule drugs that inhibit harmful inflammation.

The NLRP3 inflammasome is believed to drive chronic inflammation associated with the progression of many neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson’s Disease.

The PET tracer will also help Inflazome to determine what doses are needed for patients in larger clinical trials in the future.

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