As part of our £100 million investment into Global Health, we will address three primary areas: antimicrobial resistance, neglected tropical diseases, and emerging viral threats. To succeed in this, we have established collaborative partnerships with several organisations.
For the last five years, LifeArc has been partnered with the University of St Andrews in developing the TB-MBLA – ‘Tuberculosis Molecular Bacterial Load Assay.’
TB-MBLA kits utilise RT-qPCR to estimate viable TB bacterial load in patient sputum samples. This ability to detect viable bacteria means the kit can be used to monitor a patient’s response to anti-TB therapy over time.
The kit is also currently being assessed in the TIME study (TB Diagnosis and Monitoring Evaluation) which is running in four clinical sites in east Africa until the end of 2024.
We are partnering with the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) to launch a new £2.7 million Translational Development Fund. This fund will support the development of diagnostics and treatments to tackle emerging viral threats and neglected tropical diseases. The fund will be available to all of LSTM’s partners, including research organisations in low-and-middle-income countries.
We have also joined the LSTM-led Infection Innovation Consortium (iiCON), alongside other core partners such as Unilever, Evotec, the Liverpool University Hospitals Foundation Trust, the University of Liverpool, and Infex Therapeutics. The aim of the £250 million programme is to accelerate the discovery and development of new therapies and innovations.
As part of this agreement, we have made our antibody humanisation platform available for iiCON and its partners to support the development of new potential treatments. The Translational Development Fund will also be available to iiCON and its collaborators.
In collaboration with the Francis Crick Institute and five African research institutions, we have partnered with the Crick Africa Network (CAN), which we have funded with £7.5 million to extend the project for an additional five years.
CAN launched in 2017 to support young African biomedical researchers, allowing them to address unmet medical needs in their communities and develop their independent work into fully-fledged translational scientific programmes.
CAN fellows will be hosted at one of five African partner institutions:
- The West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens (WACCBIP), based at the University of Ghana
- Stellenbosch University, in South Africa
- The University of Cape Town, in South Africa
- The Medical Research Council Unit The Gambia at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
- The Medical Research Council/Uganda Virus Research Institute and London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine Uganda Research Unit
Also available are the Crick’s world-class research laboratories and platforms, as well as our own state-of-the-art facilities in Stevenage and Edinburgh. Our Academic Engagement team is on hand to offer mentorship in a variety of areas, such as grant writing, publications, research ethics, translational science, and commercialisation.
PACE – Pathways to Antimicrobial Clinical Efficacy – is a £30 million initiative driving new developments to tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR). LifeArc and Innovate UK have each invested £15 million into PACE and will collaborate alongside Medicines Discovery Catapult to implement it.
PACE will remove barriers to innovation and connect the AMR research community and industry. By bolstering researchers’ efforts with funding, advice, expertise, and support to market, PACE will make it much easier to progress novel solutions. PACE has also launched its first funding call, focused on early phase antimicrobials for bacterial infections with a high unmet need.
Read more about the PACE partnership.