LifeArc, MRC and BBSRC create £18m network of gene therapy hubs to advance promising research into new treatments for patients across Britain.
LifeArc and the Medical Research Council (MRC), with support from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), announce this week three major investments to create a national network of cutting-edge gene therapy innovation hubs.
£18m of funding will support the creation of the three dedicated facilities across Britain to advance the clinical development of new genetic treatments. It will have the potential to transform care for millions of patients including those with rare and life-threatening genetic diseases.
The hubs will be located at:
- Kings College London
- NHS Blood and Transplant, Bristol
- University of Sheffield
Huge potential for patients
These innovation hubs will enable academic-led clinical trials of novel gene therapies to take place, helping the most innovative research to reach patients.
Gene therapies offer huge potential as treatments for a wide range of conditions, and the UK has a world-class genetics research base. However, to date, academics have found it difficult to get access to the:
- clinical materials
- expertise required to progress gene therapy research into clinical trials.
These hubs will unlock development pathways for these new treatments by offering access to good manufacturing practice (GMP) facilities for:
- clinical trial materials
- essential translational support
- regulatory advice.
The hubs will operate as a coordinated network, sharing technical skills and resources to enable innovative gene therapy research.
The creation and ongoing operation of the hub network will be overseen by a cross-network coordination committee to:
- promote sharing of knowledge and capabilities
- engage with the academic community
- foster interactions with commercial organisations to facilitate the onward the development of new genetic medicines.
Dr Melanie Lee, CEO of LifeArc, said:
Professor Fiona Watt, MRC’s Executive Chair said:
Dr Lee Beniston, BBSRC’s Associate Director for Industry Partnerships and Collaborative R&D, noted:
You can read more about this initiative on the LifeArc website.
Source: UK Research and Innovation.
Launched in April 2018, UKRI is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). They bring together the seven disciplinary research councils, Research England, which is responsible for supporting research and knowledge exchange at higher education institutions in England, and the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK. For more details go to: https://www.ukri.org/