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Pioneering healthcare projects to get government funding


Almost £70 million is to be invested to speed up access to pioneering medicines, the Government has revealed.

Coming via the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, nearly £50 million will support the development and manufacturing of new drugs to support those most in need.

Digital health products, medical technologies, medicines and vaccines all come under the Leading Edge Healthcare Challenge, while a total of £181 million will be invested across a four year period.

Initially unveiled in the summer of 2017, more details of the challenge have now emerged, as 22 projects involving 58 organisations will get a share of £15 million.

Among them is MeiraGTx, which develops gene therapies to support those with a number of disorders, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

A focus will also be placed on digital healthcare solutions, with Innovate UK due to invest £8 million into 52 projects designed to enhance patient outcomes and boost access to services and treatments.

One such development will be Gameball, a rehabilitation game for those who have suffered strokes, designed by a partnership between Neurofenix and Brunel University London.

A further £21 million will support the creation of three advanced therapies treatment centres, with one site in Manchester, one spanning the Midlands and Wales, and lastly the north of England and Scotland.

It is hoped the projects will advance gene and cell therapies and most ventures will be collaborations between hospitals, therapeutic development firms and their support networks.

In addition to this, £5.6 million will fund the manufacture and production of viral vectors, as there is currently a lack of capacity for what is deemed to be a vital part of gene therapy development.

The Government also revealed that there will be £18 million made available to UK researchers and businesses under two new competitions.

While up to £10 million will support research and development in medicines manufacturing, up to £8 million will be available as part of the next round of the Digital health technology catalyst.

Minister for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Sam Gyimah, unveiled the latest plans during a visit to Imperial College London.

Applications for the new competitions will open in February and March of this year.

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