Cell therapy to receive £6 million

28 Jul 2008

Nine innovative research and development projects to receive investment  

Total value of projects in excess of £10 million

The Technology Strategy Board, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Medical Research Council (MRC) and Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) are to jointly invest in nine innovative research and development projects in the field of cell therapy. 

The organisations are to invest £6.3 million in the projects, which have a total value of £10 million.

The projects include research and development of:

  • a novel cell therapy designed to stimulate and sustain tissue regeneration;
  • an automated system for rapid, simple production of 3D tissue constructs;
  • "smart scaffolds" for optimised wound healing.

Commenting on the decision to invest in these projects, the Technology Strategy Board's Chief Executive, Iain Gray, said: "The Technology Strategy Board supports the research, development and exploitation of technology for the benefit of the UK economy and to improve quality of life.  The worldwide market for regenerative medicine is estimated to reach $500 billion by 2010.  The UK has a significant presence in this field.  But for the full potential to be realised will require the successful development and application of bio-processing technologies.   We are therefore very enthusiastic about these cell therapy research and development projects and are delighted to invest in them."

Steve Visscher, Interim Chief Executive, BBSRC said: "We are delighted to be collaborating with the Technology Strategy Board, MRC and EPSRC on this new initiative.  By encouraging collaborations between academia and industry on these exciting projects we will ensure that excellent science reaches its full economic potential in important new technologies.  This initiative complements our existing strategy of supporting academic-industry partnerships through our research industry clubs.  One club, with co-funding from EPSRC, supports bioprocessing and is already investing in excess of £14M over 5 years, and a further Club involving 13 companies in the diet and health area is funding some £10M of industrially-relevant research."

Commenting on the announcement, Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, Chief Executive of the Medical Research Council, said: "The potential of these projects demonstrates the importance of the partnership between business and academia.  We are pleased to be able to support this investment which is at the heart of driving forward the translation of research discoveries into improvements in healthcare and patient benefits."

Dr John Wand, Head of Nanotechnology and Next Generation Healthcare Programmes at EPSRC, added: "The EPSRC welcomes this opportunity to collaborate with the Technology Strategy Board in their cell therapy funding competition.  This has provided a platform for further funding into our areas of research by linking researchers with appropriate companies and transferring innovative research ideas more rapidly to application in business."

The funding of these projects is the latest investment in technology research and development by the Technology Strategy Board and follows their Autumn 2007 call for proposals in a number of innovation and technology areas.  Announcements about further investments are likely to be made shortly.

Download full press release including notes for editors and further information about the projects

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Last updated on Monday 28 July 2008 at 16:19

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