Making life science life changing

We transform promising life science ideas into medical breakthroughs that change patients’ lives.

We specialise in early-stage translation – advancing lab-based scientific discoveries to a point at which they can be developed into the next generation of diagnostics, treatments and cures.

Who we are

We started out as MRC Technology, commercialising scientific research funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC), and today we are a leading UK medical research charity. We are self-funding, using our investment portfolio to support our charitable activities. We partner and work with academics, industry, charities and patient groups to unlock the potential of early stage science.

We have an office in London and scientific research facilities in Stevenage and Edinburgh. We also have a specialist science team working at the Francis Crick Institute in London. Our state-of-the-art laboratories in Stevenage are dedicated to drug discovery, while our scientists in Edinburgh are working to develop diagnostics.

What we do

Translating science is a long, expensive and unpredictable process. This means many exceptional ideas don’t make it to the patient – they don’t even make it out of the lab. By bridging the gaps in this journey, we help more researchers unlock the potential of their discoveries and ultimately improve patients’ lives.

We seek out early stage discoveries, often in universities, charities and start ups and we aim to develop it to a point where it becomes attractive for others to invest and move it along the innovation pipeline.

We do this by providing three types of support:

  • translational advice (business and industrial know-how)
  • translational science (our own lab-based research)
  • translational funding (investments and philanthropic grants)

Because we are an independent charity, we have greater freedom to invest in areas where others are reluctant to take risks. This means we can channel resources into areas where patient need is high and others may not be pursuing it.

Our early ventures funding provides a much-needed source of investment for young start-ups, while generating a financial return for LifeArc. Our Philanthropic Fund provides grants and funding to academic researchers working on new treatments and diagnostics for rare diseases.

And through our new strategy, making life science life changing, we plan to spend up to £1.3 billion by 2030, to help patient-focused life sciences to flourish.

Some of our work

Medicines developed from four of our humanised antibodies have helped patients with conditions from cancer and Crohn’s disease to multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. Another eight potential medicines are in clinical trials. We provide technology transfer services to the Medical Research Council (MRC), which is part of United Kingdom Research and Innovation.

As part of the UK BioIndustry Association’s Therapeutics Antibody Taskforce we helped screen over 600 antibodies to help create a Covid-19 ‘antibody cocktail’.

We’ve invested more than £18 million with the MRC and Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) to create a network of Gene Therapy Hubs.

To find out more, have a look at our annual report and news pages.