Cancer Research UK to join forces with venture capitalist

The charity Cancer Research UK has teamed up with a venture capital organisation to launch a £50 million investment fund aimed at boosting the translation of its discoveries into new cancer treatments.

March 31, 2012

The European Investment Fund and the charity’s commercial arm, Cancer Research Technology, will make equal contributions to the CRT Pioneer Fund.

At least two-thirds of the fund will be used to take the discoveries of CRUK’s own scientists to Phase II clinical trials. The rest will be offered to other UK academic or industrial groups.

Cancer Research Technology will reinvest its share of any profits into research.

Keith Blundy, chief executive of Cancer Research Technology, said the fund, which will be focused on licensing treatments rather than creating new companies, would address the gap in funding streams between discovery and near-market development.

“The gap has appeared because investment from industry has moved away from early-stage discovery and there’s less funding for small biotechnology firms who previously helped bridge the gap between academia and pharmaceutical companies,” he said.

“This important investment means we can take forward the most innovative approaches using our in-house drug discovery and development capabilities, to progress promising treatments from the lab all the way to clinical trials.”

David Willetts, minister for universities and science, said the initiative would complement the government’s Strategy for UK Life Sciences, published earlier this year, which aims to boost collaboration between industry and academia.

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