London, UK, 02 September 2013: MRC Technology, a technology transfer organisation, and Arthritis Research UK, a medical research charity, today announced a joint ‘call for targets’. The call aims to identify and fund projects focused on validation of potential small molecule or antibody targets in pathways important in the development or progression of musculoskeletal conditions. The call to UK-based academic researchers seeks to fund target validation and proof of concept studies prior to initiating a full scale drug discovery project.
The joint action draws on MRC Technology’s expertise in translating novel, promising biology into lead stage therapeutics, and the management of associated intellectual property, combined with the experience Arthritis Research UK has in supporting academic research into all types of arthritis for better understanding of this and related conditions, and the development of new treatments.
Grants of up to £100,000 will be awarded by Arthritis Research UK to fund selected projects that demonstrate clear linkage between a target and an impact on disease. Upon completion, projects will be evaluated for progression into MRC Technology’s Centre for Therapeutic Discovery (CTD) to generate small molecules or therapeutic antibodies against the targets. Interested researchers are asked to visit www.callfortargets.org/arthritisresearch.
Mike Johnson, Director of Corporate Partnerships at MRC Technology, said “We are very pleased to be working with Arthritis Research UK to help overcome the challenges of translating research and maximise opportunities for those affected by musculoskeletal conditions. The joint call will enable us to access novel targets as a critical step toward finding new treatments and in bringing MRC Technology scientists and academia together we hope to come a step closer to discovering new drugs for these debilitating conditions.”
Stephen Simpson, Director of Research Delivery and Health Promotion at Arthritis Research UK, said: “Our goal is to be at the forefront of international efforts to develop new treatments for arthritis and as such it is essential that we drive forward research aimed at improving the lives of people with these conditions. We’re delighted to be working with MRC Technology and capitalising on their expertise in identifying targets that have the potential to become new therapies.”
Supporting technology transfer and IP management efforts, MRC Technology set up its drug discovery laboratories in order to bridge the gap between innovative, early stage academic research and the development of intellectual property suitable for licensing to industry for further development and commercialisation. De-risking novel targets by providing proof of concept and pharma-quality data packages fulfills a clear need in the drug discovery process. The collaboration opens the MRC Technology laboratories up to a new source of targets from the arthritis research field.