LSTM Receives £250,000 in First Awards Made Through the Biomedical Catalyst

Press release 2 Aug 2012

Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) in First Awards Made Through the Biomedical Catalyst

The Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Technology Strategy Board have made one of their first funding awards under the joint £180 million Biomedical Catalyst to LSTM. The awards were announced today by Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts at the British Business Embassy’s life sciences summit at Lancaster House.

These initial awards, which will inject nearly £10m into 14 universities and 18 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), will support UK academics and businesses on the vital first step in exploring the market potential of their early-stage scientific ideas.

The MRC ‘Confidence in Concept’ awards, totalling £7.4m, will give universities grants of between £360,000 and £750,000 to help them progress more promising research ideas towards clinical testing.

The grants will fund about 150 pilot projects, allowing academic researchers to begin the process of turning a bright idea into a viable proposition. For example, a university research group may use the funds to validate therapeutic targets and undertake the earliest stages of development of new treatments.

Universities receiving an award have control over allocating the funding internally, allowing them to respond rapidly to new opportunities and have the flexibility to pursue the most promising translational research opportunities.

Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts said:

“The UK’s world leading life sciences industry is changing fast and we need to stay ahead of the game. The Biomedical Catalyst will help bridge the so-called ‘valley of death’ that exists between when a bright new idea is developed in the laboratory and the point when a new drug or technology can be invested in by the market. This will support our most innovative life sciences SMEs and academics, drive growth and benefit patients.”

Professor Janet Hemingway, Director of LTSM, added:

“The Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine is delighted to be one of the first recipients of a MRC/TSB award, which recognises the leading role the School plays in translating innovative ideas into new treatments for infectious diseases.  This coupled with the recent announcement of staff expansion emphasises the importance of LSTM as a driver in the UK life sciences sector.”

Professor Steve Ward, Deputy Director of LSTM, went on to say:

“LSTM will use the award to strategically fund specific early discovery research. This will pump-prime research to develop drugs that are active against multi-drug resistant tuberculosis, identification of new chemical starting points for new anti-malarial drugs or resistance breaking insecticides which will all play a role in the war against disease in developing countries.”

The Biomedical Catalyst, announced by Prime Minister David Cameron in December 2011, is a programme of public funding designed to deliver growth to the UK life sciences sector. Delivered jointly by the MRC and the Technology Strategy Board, the Catalyst is a key feature of the UK Government’s Life Sciences Strategy.

The first applications for larger translational projects through the Biomedical Catalyst, including those seeking to demonstrate clinical utility, are currently under consideration. Funding for successful applications will be announced before the end of October this year. 


Notes to Editors: 

About LSTM

The Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine is a world leading institution developing new treatments for malaria, TB, HIV and other neglected tropical diseases.

For More information about LSTM, contact Jayne Moore - Director Moore Media; 0151 244 5496 or 0777 384 6962 


Confidence in Concept award recipients:

University of Cambridge: £600,000

University of Dundee: £750,000

University of Edinburgh: £700,000

Imperial College London: £700,000

King’s College London: £500,000

Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine: £250,000

University of Nottingham: £400,000

University of Oxford: £750,000

Queens University Belfast: £300,000

University College London: £700,000

University of Birmingham: £600,000

University of Manchester: £500,000

University of Sheffield: £360,000

University of Strathclyde: £300,000


For more information on the MRC Confidence in Concept awards, please contact:
Hannah Isom, Senior Press Officer
Medical Research Council
T: 0207 395 2345 (out of hours: 07818 428 297)


Feasibility Award recipients (of up to £150,000 each):

Absynth Biologics Ltd

BioMoti Ltd

BluTest Laboratories Ltd

Domainex Ltd

Endomagnetics Ltd

GeneFirst Ltd

Haemaflow Ltd

iMonSys Ltd

Intelligent Fingerprinting Ltd

MapMyHealth Ltd

Opal Oncology Ltd

Pharmidex Pharmaceutical Services Ltd

PhotoBiotics Ltd

Roslin Cells Ltd

Sentinel Oncology Ltd

Summit Corporation plc

Union Life Sciences Ltd

Xiros Ltd 

For more information on the Technology Strategy Board Feasibility awards, please contact:

Nick Sheppard, Media Relations Consultant
Technology Strategy Board
M: 07824 599644

  1. For almost 100 years the Medical Research Council has improved the health of people in the UK and around the world by supporting the highest quality science. The MRC invests in world-class scientists. It has produced 29 Nobel Prize winners and sustains a flourishing environment for internationally recognised research. The MRC focuses on making an impact and provides the financial muscle and scientific expertise behind medical breakthroughs, including one of the first antibiotics penicillin, the structure of DNA and the lethal link between smoking and cancer. Today MRC funded scientists tackle research into the major health challenges of the 21st century.

  2. The Technology Strategy Board is the UK’s innovation agency.  Its goal is to accelerate economic growth by stimulating and supporting business-led innovation.  Sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Technology Strategy Board brings together business, research and the public sector, supporting and accelerating the development of innovative products and services to meet market needs, tackle major societal challenges and help build the future economy. For more information please