The Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Technology Strategy Board are to jointly invest over £3.7 million in seven major new research projects that will help to place the UK at the forefront of developments into personalised medicine.
The investment is the first to be made through the Technology Strategy Board-managed Stratified Medicine Innovation Platform (SMIP), an initiative which will oversee an investment of over £50 million over five years in innovative research and development. The focus for this research includes tumour profiling to improve cancer care and developing biomarkers for more effective drugs.
The seven projects will be lead by AstraZeneca UK Ltd, GlaxoSmithKline (three projects), Ig Innovations Ltd, Janssen UK and Randox Laboratories Ltd. Including contributions from the project partners, the total value of the research and development will be over £7 million.
John Jeans, Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Chief Executive of the Medical Research Council (MRC), said:
"The MRC has chosen to be a major investor in this partnership, as it provides an opportunity to enhance the competitiveness of the UK knowledge and health base in an important and innovative area. We welcome the opportunity to continue collaborating with the Technology Strategy Board and other partners in supporting the development of targeted treatments for patients. As well as benefiting the health services both at home and abroad, the SMIP initiative could help to deliver the economic advantages associated with world-leading research."
The Technology Strategy Board's Chief Executive, Iain Gray, said:
"Here in the UK we have many of the strengths needed to accelerate the innovation of stratified - or personalised - medicines and to become a world leader in developing medicines aimed at smaller sub-groups of patients. These investments are the first in a programme that is bringing scientific research, businesses and policymakers together to develop the personalised, targeted drugs and treatments of the future."