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UK biotech gains further £47.2m from Biomedical Catalyst funding

Programme aims to help bridge the 'valley of death' funding gap

Biomedical Catalyst funding 

The UK government is making a second wave of Biomedical Catalyst funding worth £47.2m as it seeks to help companies overcome the so-called 'valley of death'.

Set up in December 2011 with a total budget of £180m and run by the Technology Strategy Board and the Medical Research Council, the Biomedical Catalyst aims to assist companies in translating their R&D efforts into products that reach the market.

Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said: “Investing in new ideas for technology now means that the UK will maintain its position as a global leader for innovation. Through our life sciences strategy and Innovation and Research Strategy we are laying the foundations for future financial benefits in these high growth areas of technology. 

“The Biomedical Catalyst has proved to be a real success in leveraging additional private finance and it is a model I am keen to see replicated across other technology areas. This will help to keep our world leading technology industries at the front of the global race for research and development.”

The competitive awards programme supports activities in three stages - feasibility studies, early-stage awards and late stage awards – and are designed to support applicants seeking to evaluate the clinical utility of a new product, process or service

The latest round of investment will be used by a further 51 businesses and includes £3.3m for 25 feasibility studies, £30.3m for 18 early-stage awards and £13.6m for eight late-stage awards.

The funding announcement coincides with the launch of a new report from the UK biotech trade body the BioIndustry Association (BIA) that highlights the Biomedical Catalyst's successes.

Steve Bates, BIA CEO, said: "BIA member companies have told me that engaging with government-led schemes can be complicated and time consuming for businesses. 

“However, the Biomedical Catalyst has been a success because it has a short and straightforward application process, a speedy response and decision on the application and expert scrutiny that is seen as de-risking the project and driving investor interest."

The BIA report shows the different ways in which the Biomedical Catalyst is helping to leverage significant inward investment into the UK. For example, clinical-stage biotech company Creabilis leveraged additional capital alongside its award to fund a large clinical trial in atopic dermatitis. Elsewhere, a feasibility award helped cancer therapeutics firm BioMoti spin-out its technology business from the lab bench and work towards validating its clinical development plan.

Meanwhile, the Technology Strategy Board has invested a further £12m to support innovative companies in a funding round that included a £3.7m competition for feasibility studies in Photonics for Health. The competition will provide awards of around £100,000 to businesses looking to exploit this area of technology, which includes the use of lasers and LEDs for things such as laser eye surgery and cancer diagnosis.

11th March 2013

From: Research

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