10 August 2015
The most recent round of funding awards from the Biomedical Catalyst (BMC), an ongoing initiative to support small and medium sized businesses and academic aiming to move research from discovery to commercialisation, have been announced.
The BMC is a joint venture between the Medical Research Council (MRC) and Innovate UK, and has been running since 2011. The latest funding, worth a total of £18 million, has gone to a wide variety of projects aimed at creating new treatments, diagnostics and other technologies.
Tools to improve disease detection and analysis include technologies for better bladder and bowel cancer evaluation, assessing stroke damage and clever innovations for infectious disease control in the form of an infection-detecting wound dressing and a system for the early detection of bacterial and fungal lung infections in patients’ homes.
Alongside a new ‘ultimate’ influenza vaccine, there are also potential new treatments for soft-tissue sarcomas, inflammatory bowel disease, age-related macular degeneration and Fragile X syndrome.
This last development, for which company Sentinel Oncology Inc has received almost a million pounds BMC funding, is particularly interesting, and not only because it is far from an oncology product. Fragile X syndrome is the most common inherited form of learning disability, and the most common form of autism spectrum disorders with a single identifiable genetic cause. The UK National Screening Committee (NSC) has been consulting on whether the condition should be screened for during pregnancy, and other have raised the issue of whether it should form part of broad preconception carrier screening testing. The existence of an effective treatment would have a major impact.
Innovate UK Chief Executive Dr Ruth McKernan commented: “Delivering efficient and effective healthcare has never been more important, and innovation is central to making that happen. Through the Biomedical Catalyst, we have backed innovative companies that are taking on this challenge and developing the medical advances of the future that will potentially help to save lives and money”.