Through its Philanthropic Fund, LifeArc will award £5M in grants to support medical research projects focused on translation of rare diseases research.

In June 2017 LifeArc pledged to generate, fund and champion innovations to improve the lives of patients suffering from diseases that present the greatest challenges to medical research. As part of this, the Philanthropic Fund will support translational rare disease research with a £5M investment.

Rare diseases affect approximately one in twenty people worldwide. Treatment options are often limited, and many patients remain undiagnosed. In the UK around 3.5M people are affected and of the 7000 recognised rare diseases, only 400 have licenced treatments. These diseases are often chronic, life threatening and isolating for the sufferers and their families.

Funds for research on rare diseases are scarce, particularly for therapeutic development, as industry is reluctant to invest without a likely financial return on investment. By incubating and de-risking projects for longer in academia, investment in therapeutics for rare disease can become a more attractive opportunity. Some ultra rare diseases however may never yield any commercial return as patient numbers are too small.

With our fund we are aiming to accelerate scientific breakthroughs to deliver new medicines for patients with these conditions. We have a history of supporting the delivery of transformational therapeutics, and are always looking for new ways to progress promising science into therapeutics and diagnostics

The LifeArc Philanthropic Fund will support translational rare disease research projects through grants. Grants will either be awarded directly to academics or will be partnered with similar funds being awarded by our rare disease charity partners. Projects will be focused on developing an intervention (therapeutic, device or diagnostic) that will address a significant, unaddressed need for rare disease patients and on research which has a credible translational and development path to reaching those patients.

Criteria for Funding – successful projects will:

  • address a rare disease medical need
  • have a strong scientific rationale
  • be target driven (projects will have milestones with a credible delivery plan)
  • have a route to the patient
  • IP to secure route to the patient (LifeArc does not wish a share of IP or revenue return but the IP situation must allow a product to be delivered to the patient so there must be freedom to operate and commercialise if required)

If you are interested in applying for a grant please register your interest using the form below:

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