BIA welcomes fresh Biomedical Catalyst funding for UK biotech

The BIA has today welcomed the Government’s announcement that £18m will be invested in innovative UK life science companies through a relaunched Innovate UK Biomedical Catalyst competition.

The news follows a major campaign by the BIA to secure fresh funding for the programme, which provides grants to small companies (SMEs) to undertake early-stage R&D projects. In addition to the £18m competition that will open for applications on 7 June, the BIA understands a second round is planned for the Autumn focused on feasibility and proof of concept studies, bringing the 2021 Biomedical Catalyst total value to £30m.

A recent independent analysis from IPSOS Mori showed that the Biomedical Catalyst results in over £5 of private investment per £1 of public expenditure and enabled companies in receipt of grants to increase employment by 11-15% over 3-5 years. 

Steve Bates OBE, Chief Executive of the BIA said: “The Biomedical Catalyst is a key source of early-stage funding for UK bioscience companies to help them scale scientific ideas into products and therapies for patients. We are delighted that the Government, UKRI and Innovate UK have listened to the life sciences community and see the benefit of pump priming the translation of UK life science innovation into economic benefit for the nation in continuing to support this tried and tested programme.

“The Treasury has recognised the success of the Biomedical Catalyst in its Plan for Growth. But the scheme is massively oversubscribed, which means far too many firms that meet the success criteria don’t get funded, meaning our nation leaves significant economic and scientific innovation to wither unharvested on the vine. A long-term increased budget for this vital programme in the years to come is a proven way for the Treasury to crowd in private investment to UK life science, validate early-stage firms with an expert thumbs up, and increase employment in science-based jobs of the future.”   

Dr Olivia Cavlan, Head of Business & Operations at Alchemab Therapeutics, said: “Receiving the Biomedical Catalyst grant for our work to develop an antibody treatment for Huntington’s disease provided fantastic scientific validation of Alchemab’s unique approach to drug discovery. It was an important contributor to securing further venture capital investment and enables our extraordinary team of Cambridge-based scientists to work in collaboration with the Medicines Discovery Catapult near Manchester to drive this project forward.”

Notes to editors:

  1. For further information please contact Jack Fellows, Communications and Media Manager at the BioIndustry Association at [email protected]  
  2. For full details of the new competition see Innovate UK’s website here.
  3. For examples of companies that have benefitted from the Biomedical Catalyst, see here.  
  4. Read the Ipsos MORI report on the Biomedical Catalyst here.  
  5. Read more on the BIA’s work on the Biomedical Catalyst here.