The UK government has announced £13.7m of funding for four ‘stratified medicine’ collaborations with the Medical Research Council (MRC).
The awards mean that the government has now funded 13 stratified medicine consortia, with investment totalling over £52m, as part of the UK Life Sciences Strategy launched in 2011.
Stratified medicine research aims to subdivide patients with the same disease according to genetics or other characteristics, with the goal of targeting treatments to patients who are most likely to benefit. Another goal is to accelerate the development of new therapies.
The consortia funded in this round cover four diseases: systemic lupus erythematosus, hypertension, colorectal cancer and asthma. They are funded by the MRC alone or in partnership with charities such as Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation.
The consortia also include 32 academic partners, including universities in Britain and the United States, and are expected to attract pharmaceutical and biotechnology partners from around the globe.
The latest round of funding was announced by George Freeman, minister for life sciences, at a Future of Healthcare Investor Form at the London Stock Exchange. “The life sciences sector is central to economic growth,” he said. “Since the launch of our UK Strategy for Life Sciences in 2011 the industry has agreed over £3.5bn of investment in the UK, which is expected to create over 11,000 jobs.”
Earlier MRC stratified medicine projects have focused on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, hepatitis C, Gaucher’s disease, primary biliary cirrhosis, schizophrenia and psoriasis.