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UK £180m life sciences fund to open at end of April

Part of government plans to support innovation in small to medium businesses

Small and medium sized business working in the UK life sciences industry will have access to a £180m fund from April 30, 2012.

The Biomedical Catalyst, which was announced in December last year as part of the government's strategy for life sciences, will see the UK's Medical Research Council and the country's Technology Strategy Board (TSB) team up to support UK companies in medical research.

According to the TSB, a public body to drive innovation in the UK, the fund will support ideas that 'demonstrate the potential to provide significant positive healthcare and economic impact'.

Examples given included projects that researched stratified therapy development, regenerative medicine, diagnostics, eHealth and mHealth solutions, or enabled medical technologies and devices.

The total fund will be broken down into three categories of grant awards that aim to support ideas from concept to commercialisation: feasibility, early stage and late stage.

It is hoped this will create a pipeline of projects stemming from early stage exploration of commercial potential to proving an idea's actual worth in a real world situation.

Individual grants will range from a maximum of £150,000 for feasibility awards to £3m for early and late stage awards.

UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, said: "The UK boasts a world-leading life sciences sector which is changing at an incredible pace.  And I'm absolutely committed to helping it widen its significant foothold in the global market.

"Benefiting both patients and the British economy, this £180m programme will support both SMEs and academics and help to ensure that they can turn their promising ideas into innovative technologies."

Potential applicants should visit the TSB's website for more information.

This is the second boost for the UK life sciences industry in recent weeks following the Wellcome Trust's announcement it plans to invest £200m to provide long-term support for emerging business and technologies.

12th April 2012

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