Home » News and events » LifeArc’s new fund to advance gene-based medicines for genetic diseases

LifeArc’s new fund to advance gene-based medicines for genetic diseases

Articles & blogs
DNA in LifeArc's Edinburgh laboratory

Researchers can now apply to LifeArc’s new £5 million Gene Therapy Innovation Fund to progress their exciting gene therapy research through the Innovation Hubs for Gene Therapies.

This dedicated scheme was created to address the current UK gap in funding for academic-led gene therapy research. It allows early research to remain in academia and flourish to the point where it’s more likely to attract follow-on investment.

As manufacturing costs will be included in the award, academic researchers in the UK can use the capabilities of the Innovation Hubs to produce novel gene therapies for clinical trials in patients – and beyond.

Progressing gene therapy research

In March 2021, LifeArc and the Medical Research Council (MRC), with support from the Biotechnology Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), announced an £18 million investment to create a national network of Innovation Hubs for Gene Therapies. These three world-class facilities will help academics from across the UK to progress their gene therapy research, by providing access to high-quality viral vectors, essential translational support and regulatory advice.

Sophie Mountcastle, Networks Manager for the Innovation Hubs for Gene Therapies said: “One of the major barriers to advancing promising genetic medicines into clinical trials is the complexities of manufacturing these products. The Innovation Hubs for Gene Therapies were set up to help address this challenge.”

About the funding

The LifeArc Gene Therapy Innovation Fund provides grants directly to researchers, and successful projects must use the manufacturing capabilities of the Innovation Hubs that are expected to be fully operational by mid-2023.

“This new fund is specifically dedicated to academic-led innovative gene therapy research. Our aim is to support at least two projects per year.

Anji Miller, LifeArc’s lead for the Innovation hubs

We’re particularly encouraging applications involving promising therapeutics that address life-limiting diseases, including rare conditions and those affecting children. Successful projects will address a healthcare need, have a strong scientific rationale with full supportive data and have the potential to transform patients’ lives.”

We also encourage applications involving collaborations with other academic partners, patient groups and/or industry.

The first tranche of preliminary applications will be reviewed by an allocation panel in mid-January 2023. While the Hubs operate as a coordinated network and share technical skills and resources, research projects will be allocated to the Innovation Hub that can best provide translational support, regulatory advice, and match manufacturing needs.

Find out more

Find out more about the LifeArc Gene Therapy Innovation Fund and how to apply.

For more information on the Innovation Hubs for Gene Therapies – and to seek advice and support on gene therapy research projects at any stage of development – please email viralvector@mrc.ukri.org or visit genetherapyhubs.uk

The Innovation Hubs are also asking academics working on gene therapy to fill out a survey to find out more about their viral vector needs.

Media contact

Hannah Severyn

Head of Media and PR at LifeArc

WordPress development by Andy White using PorterWP