We are committed to expanding our strategic partnerships, finding and supporting opportunities, expertise and technology that help us deliver new treatments to improve people’s lives. Our overall aim is to work with other organisations to develop and progress great science to the point where it would be of interest to commercial partners who would progress it further towards the patient.

Some of our current partnerships are listed below. If you would like to learn more about how to partner with us, please get in touch.

Our partnerships


Through our partnership with Biocartis we are developing highly innovative new diagnostic tests that can help to improve the treatment of patients with cancer, infections or immune-related diseases.

The partnership, which launched in June 2017, aims to develop selected molecular diagnostics assays for use on the fully automated IdyllaTM platform. The technology offers hope for the delivery of rapid new tests that can help doctors to personalise treatment, improving the chance of success and reducing the risk of side effects for each patient.

The initial agreement focussed on the development and commercialisation of the IdyllaTM ABC (Advanced Breast Cancer) assay that targets a multi-gene panel of predictive and resistance-inducing mutations.

In September 2020, the relationship expanded to include the development of novel tests for infectious and immune-related diseases with high clinical need. We are now working to create novel assays that can help stratify or monitor the treatment of patients with, amongst others, bacterial, fungal and/or viral infections.

C4X Discovery

We are working with C4X Discovery (C4XD) on a novel medicinal chemistry programme to develop effective new drugs for patients with cancer or inflammatory conditions.

The partnership, which launched in November 2018, aims to develop novel small molecule drug candidates against an undisclosed target that originated from our extensive partnerships in early-stage academic research.

The project combines leading drug discovery expertise from both organisations, including application of C4XD’s unique and proprietary ligand-focussed conformational analysis platform, Confometrix, with LifeArc’s extensive background and experience in the programme to date.

The goal is to develop oral, potent and selective drug candidates that are suitable for pre-clinical out-licencing to a clinical development partner, and ultimately, to deliver a novel treatment for patients in an area of high unmet clinical need.

Cancer Research UK and Ono

Our multimillion-pound drug discovery alliance with Cancer Research UK and Ono Pharma will help accelerate the development of new cancer immunotherapies to bring them to patients faster.

The multi-year partnership, which launched in March 2019, aims to identify novel immuno-oncology drug candidates and rapidly develop them into effective new treatments that can help to meet unmet needs for cancer patients around the world.

The alliance brings together our renowned therapeutic antibody development capabilities with Cancer Research UK’s network of world-leading scientists and drug discovery expertise, along with Ono’s considerable track record in developing cancer immunotherapies – which harness the power of the body’s immune system to prevent, control or eliminate the disease.

Drug discovery experts can pursue promising targets for the development of antibody and small molecule therapeutics from within Cancer Research UK’s extensive immuno-oncology research portfolio. Ono brings funding and expertise that is helping to identify new drug targets, accelerate target validation within the partnership, and support validated targets through the drug discovery phase.

The partnership expands on our existing alliance with Cancer Research UK that started in 2017.

Cleveland Clinic Foundation

Our new strategic partnership with the Cleveland Clinic Foundation aims to accelerate the translation of promising scientific discoveries into new tests and treatments that can benefit patients.

The long-term relationship, which launched in November 2020, kicked off with our new funding to foster early-stage research at the Cleveland Clinic Center for Therapeutics Discovery (C3TD) that has a high potential to benefit patients but requires further validation before it can move into larger research programmes.

We are sponsoring two new postdoctoral fellowships who will carry out investigative research over two years on early-stage innovative projects in key therapeutic areas including infectious disease; cancer, with a focus on early detection and precision medicine; and neurological disorders, including epilepsy and neuropathic pain. Other key shared areas of interest include diagnostics and biomarker development.

The hope is our funding will help these projects to reach a key tipping point, generating exciting new opportunities to work together on future research programmes where we can contribute our expertise in medicinal chemistry, antibody engineering or diagnostics within our laboratories.

The Francis Crick Institute

We are working in partnership with The Francis Crick Institute, a world-leading biomedical discovery institute in central London, to maximise the potential for promising laboratory research discoveries to be transformed into benefits for patients.

The LifeArc-Crick Translation Fund, which launched in 2019, is making £5m available over five years to support Crick scientists to progress encouraging innovations to the point where the project can attract follow-on, larger-scale investment and development to benefit human health. We are working with Crick Group Leaders and the Crick’s translation team to identify projects in areas aligned with our strategy and with the Crick’s discovery science strengths.

We are also funding the fourth cohort of projects for KQ Labs, the Crick’s accelerator programme for start-ups with the potential to make an impact on global health outcomes. The programme represents a unique opportunity to foster a vibrant ecosystem for data-driven health. In 2020, the cohort included start-ups using data to tackle diverse problems in areas including Parkinson’s Disease, cancer and drug discovery.

Innovation Hubs for Gene Therapies

In March 2021, LifeArc and the Medical Research Council (MRC), with support from the Biotechnology Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), announced an £18m investment to establish a national network of Gene Therapy Innovation Hubs.

The three dedicated facilities at Kings College London, NHS Blood and Transplant in Bristol and the University of Sheffield, will operate as a coordinated network to support UK academics in translating promising gene therapy research.

These Innovation Hubs will enable academic-led clinical trials of novel gene therapies to take place, helping the most innovative research to reach patients. Gene therapies offer huge potential as treatments for a wide range of conditions and the UK has a world-class genetics research base – however, to date, academics have found it difficult to get access to the clinical materials, facilities and expertise required to progress gene therapy research into clinical trials.

The network will offer access to GMP (good manufacturing practice) facilities for clinical trials materials, alongside essential translational support and regulatory advice – helping the most innovative research to reach patients faster.

Find out more from Sven Kili, Chair of the Innovation Hubs Coordinating Committee about how the network will advance promising research into new treatments for patients.

Medical Research Council (MRC)

MRC logoWe provide technology transfer services to the Medical Research Council (MRC) – part of United Kingdom Research and Innovation (UKRI) – supporting their scientists to make the most of their innovative research.

Our work helps to translate promising ideas into novel treatments and diagnostics that could improve the lives of patients – as well as generate new income to fund more research for public benefit.

We oversee the MRC’s intellectual property (IP) portfolio, helping their researchers to identify, protect and commercialise their inventions. Our role includes assessing the potential of scientific discoveries, helping to secure funding and partnerships to advance their technologies. We also work with industry and investors to complete licensing or collaboration agreements or establish spin-out companies – including negotiating the contracts underpinning these transactions on behalf of the MRC.

Find out more about our services for MRC researchers.

Medicines Discovery Catapult

Our partnership with Medicines Discovery Catapult (MDC) aims to accelerate the translation of promising research into new health interventions that can benefit patients.

The strategic R&D partnership, which launched in May 2019, aims to identify and develop novel biomarkers that can help detect the safety and effectiveness of new drug candidates in clinical trials.

Biomarkers – which are measurable biological changes – play a fundamental role in improving our understanding of the effects of drugs on the body. They are key to moving drugs from testing in the laboratory into clinical trials, where they help define the best dosage, patient selection and treatment decisions.

The partnership brings together the expertise of both organisations to progress candidate drug molecules towards evaluation in clinical trials with an optimised biomarker strategy. It combines our growing portfolio of innovative therapeutic candidates across priority disease areas where there is a high patient need with MDC’s state-of-the-art biomarker discovery platform.

We are also funding a two-year industrial post-doctoral fellowship to establish the development of innovative proteomics approaches that can also benefit the wider drug discovery community.

Metrion Biosciences

We are working in partnership with Metrion Biosciences (Metrion) to advance the development of effective new medicines for patients with neurological conditions.

The partnership capitalises on our combined expertise and capabilities to advance a promising neuroscience drug discovery programme.

Metrion is providing in-depth ion channel target class knowledge and our scientists are using medicinal chemistry to identify new small molecule drugs with activity against an undisclosed CNS ion channel target. The company is also contributing their translational research expertise to evaluate the activity of our candidate drug compounds in human neuronal networks.

This project extends our existing relationship with Metrion to advance programmes addressing human health.

Milner Therapeutics Institute

We are working with Milner Therapeutics Institute at the University of Cambridge to identify and validate new drug targets in immuno-oncology and respiratory diseases.

The project, which launched at the beginning of 2018, aims to develop and apply machine learning approaches to drug discovery processes and projects to identify novel therapeutic targets, stratify patient populations and predict the efficacy of new and existing drugs.

Combining the drug discovery expertise of LifeArc with the machine-learning and bioinformatics expertise of the Milner Therapeutics Institute, the partnership facilitates the identification and selection of novel targets for drug discovery.

Data generated are being used to enhance the design of key experiments and to validate and prioritise targets. The overall goal is to develop and progress great science, enabling it to be of interest to commercial partners who would progress it to the marketplace for patient benefit.

Scientists involved in this project are co-located at LifeArc and at the Milner Therapeutics Institute to take full advantage of both environments.

Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology

Through our partnership with the Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology (SIBCB), we are helping to fast-track innovative druggable targets to create effective new targeted treatments for patients.

The partnership, which launched in 2014, combines SIBCB’s expertise in generating potential new drug targets with our experience in advancing early-stage research for clinical application and commercialisation.

Our technology transfer service plays a key role in maximising the potential to translate promising discoveries made by researchers at the institute into life-changing treatments for different diseases.

The arrangement was renewed in 2018 and we continue to work together on potential new drug targets.


We are working with TetraGenetics to advance the development of effective new antibody treatments for patients with autoimmune diseases – including Type 1 diabetes – or chronic pain.

The partnership, which launched in December 2017, brings together the unique recombinant protein expression expertise of TetraGenetics with our antibody humanisation and development capabilities.

Our scientists are humanising up to five new drug leads discovered by TetraGenetics – and we may also support pre-IND (Investigational New Drug) studies for selected programmes. The company will manage the regulatory applications and the subsequent clinical trials for successful candidates.

The first joint programme focuses on developing anti-Kv1.3 antibodies for patients with Type 1 Diabetes, with the aiming of curing the disease or stopping it from worsening.

University of Kent

Our partnership with the University of Kent aims to develop an effective new class of medicines for patients with chronic pain.

The new drug discovery programme, which launched in April 2019, builds on initial work by scientists at the University of Kent who characterised a potential target for drugs intended to reduce the sensation of pain. It aims to identify and develop new small molecules that can modulate the activtity of the TREK-2 potassium ion channel.

Our role involves the validation of TREK-2 as drug target, followed by high throughput screening to identify drug-like small molecules, and then fine-tuning their properties using medicinal chemistry. The goal of the partnership is to identify drug candidates that can then enter clinical development, advancing potentially effective new pain medicines closer to patients.

University of St Andrews

By working with the University of St Andrews, we are helping to advance a new diagnostic test that could improve the treatment for millions of people around the world infected with tuberculosis (TB) bacteria.

The tool could allow doctors and healthcare workers to diagnose TB, or monitor a person’s response to treatment, faster and easier than current tests – with the potential to transform the management of illness in the future.

The partnership, which launched in 2018, builds on initial academic work by researchers at the University of St Andrews that underpins the new molecular assay (TB-MBLA), which can accurately measure the amount of live TB bacteria in the body.

Our scientists have since evaluated, standardised, and refined the test to make it fit for purpose as a clinical diagnostic tool in its intended setting. A key part of this work has involved validating the results generated using the new assay against those from conventional testing methods.

Although the TB-MBLA will initially be delivered as a research-only tool, the goal is to move it into clinical evaluation in 2021 – collecting evidence of its suitability to monitor disease treatment in diagnostics laboratories with limited resources.