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Public-private funding to accelerate biopharmaceutical drug development

28.09.2007
New research funding announced today will help eliminate processing bottlenecks that are slowing the development and manufacture of new biopharmaceuticals.

The Bioprocessing Research Industry Club (BRIC), a public-private collaboration between two Research Councils and the UK biopharmaceutical community, has awarded £3.5 million to researchers at seven universities. The funding will bring new treatments a step closer by helping to develop faster and more efficient development and manufacturing techniques.

Biopharmaceuticals account for 30 per cent of drugs currently in development, and 10 per cent of the current market. Examples of current biopharmaceutical treatments include the use of therapeutic proteins to manage conditions associated with hormone deficiencies or cancers of breast, colon, prostate or pancreatic tissues. In the future, biopharmaceutical treatments may also be able to help with organ and tissue deficiencies or disease conditions associated with ageing. The projects funded by BRIC aim to improve the bioprocessing techniques and systems that underpin biopharmaceutical development and production.

This is the second round of funding awarded by BRIC - a funding collaboration between the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the UK biopharmaceutical industry, with support from bioProcessUK. It has awarded funding to eight research teams at seven universities: the Universities of Birmingham, Imperial College London, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield and Strathclyde.

These projects build on the first round of BRIC funding which supported nine projects at ten universities with funds in excess of £5 million. The third and final call for BRIC will be announced in the next few weeks.

By combining funding from major public funders and industry, BRIC works to support the rapidly growing biological medicines industry in the UK, with the ultimate aim of accelerating therapy development for patients.

Dr John Birch, Chairman of the BRIC steering group and Chief Scientific Officer at Lonza Biologics, said: "Biological drug development offers tremendous promise for patients. The eight new projects funded by BRIC will make a significant contribution to the research underpinning bioprocessing and will help to provide both faster process development and more efficient manufacturing technology for new biopharmaceuticals."

Dr Doug Yarrow, BBSRC Director of Corporate Science said: "The UK has an outstanding research base in bioprocessing and the latest round of BRIC grants further promotes the UK's world-leading status. It is essential that research capabilities are translated into real benefits for patients. BRIC's funding enables this by strengthening the vital links between groundbreaking research in our universities and industry's needs."

Michelle Kilfoyle | alfa
Further information:
http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk

Further reports about: BRIC Development biopharmaceutical universities

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