UK government invests in R&D for personalised medicine

The Technology Strategy Board (TSB) and the Medical Research Council (MRC) are to invest more than £3.7m in research projects designed to place the UK at the forefront of developments in personalised medicine.

According to a statement, the investment is the first to be made through the TSB-managed Stratified Medicine Innovation Platform (SMIP), an initiative that will oversee an investment of more than £50m of government funding over five years in R&D, in areas such as tumour profiling, to improve cancer care, and developing biomarkers for more effective drugs.

The seven projects will be lead by AstraZeneca UK, GlaxoSmithKline, Ig Innovations, Janssen UK and Randox Laboratories.

Including contributions from the project partners, the total value of the research and development will be more than £7m.

Iain Gray, TSB chief executive, said: ‘Here in the UK we have many of the strengths needed to accelerate the innovation of stratified — or personalised — medicines and to become a world leader in developing medicines aimed at smaller sub-groups of patients.

‘These investments are the first in a programme that is bringing scientific research, businesses and policy makers together to develop the personalised, targeted drugs and treatments of the future.’

Arthritis Research UK is the latest organisation to become a partner in the SMIP, joining the Department of Health (England), the Scottish Government Health Directorates, the Medical Research Council (MRC), the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and Cancer Research UK. Arthritis Research UK’s involvement will help advance the programme, particularly in the area of inflammatory disease.