Universities and Global Pharmaceutical Firms Launch Therapeutics Research Fund

microscopeA consortium of international pharmaceutical firms and UK universities have launched a new £40m fund for early drug research.

AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, and Johnson & Johnson Innovation will provide funding and expertise to collaborate with Imperial College London, the University of Cambridge and University College London (UCL).

The Apollo Therapeutics Fund will support the translation of academic science from the universities into new medicines for a variety of diseases.

Each of the three pharmaceutical firms will contribute £10m to the fund over a period of six years, while the three universities will each provide £3.3m through their technology transfer offices (TTOs).

The Apollo Therapeutics Investment Committee (AIC) will be based at Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst and advised by an independent drug discovery team of ex-industry scientists who will help identify projects that are to be developed.

It will consider all therapy areas and modalities, including small molecules, peptides, proteins, antibodies, cell and gene therapies.

The fund aims to progress academic preclinical research from the universities to a stage where it can either be taken forward by one of the industry partners, after an internal bidding process, or be out-licensed to another party.

The originating university and TTO will receive 50% of future commercial revenues or out-licensing fees for successful projects. Then the remaining amount will be divided between the partners.

Apollo Therapeutics Investment Committee chairman Ian Tomlinson said: “Apollo provides an additional source of early stage funding that will allow more therapeutics projects within the three universities to realise their full potential.

“The Apollo Therapeutics Fund should benefit the UK economy by increasing the potential for academic research to be translated into new medicines for patients the world over.”


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