Guest blog: Biomedical Catalyst: Helping to bridge the ‘Valley of Death’

By Dr Michael Kipping, Innovation Lead, Biomedical Catalyst, Innovate UK.

The Biomedical Catalyst (BMC), a unique partnership between Innovate UK and the MRC, was established in 2012 as part of a wider package of measures to support the life sciences sector.

In 2016, the Biomedical Catalyst was allocated with £100M of new Government funding to continue to target three related objectives:

  • Deliver growth to the UK life sciences sector
  • Deliver innovative life sciences products and services more quickly and more effectively into healthcare
  • Provide support to both academically and commercially led research and development in a seamless, effective and efficient manner

An overarching aim of the BMC is to de-risk innovative science and commercialise ideas arising out of academia and industry helping UK SMEs to develop into competitive and sustainable organisations.   This accelerates the progress of novel products to market, facilitates onward investment and bridges “the valley of death”.


What type of projects will the Biomedical Catalyst fund?

Companies can apply for funding in order to develop innovative technologies or processes that will help provide any of the following:

  • Disease prevention and proactive management of health and chronic conditions
  • Earlier and better detection and diagnosis of disease leading to better patient outcomes
  • Tailored treatments that either change the underlying disease or offer potential cures

The Biomedical Catalyst is ‘technology agnostic’ and solutions may include (but are not limited to) medical technologies and devices, advanced therapies (cell & gene therapies), precision medicine (both therapy and diagnostic components), diagnostics and digital health.

Types of funding opportunities

The Biomedical Catalyst scheme offers funding to life sciences projects at varying stages of technical and commercial development:


Currently there are two open competitions that close on Wednesday 7th February 2018 at 12:00pm:

Primer award


Late stage award

Further funding competitions for the Biomedical Catalyst will be announced later in 2018

Details of all Innovate UK competitions (including BMC) are available via the Innovation Funding Service:

What projects have been funded?

A full breakdown of all Innovate UK funded projects (including the Biomedical Catalyst) since 2004 is available online:

Innovate UK Competitions Helpdesk

Tel: 0300 321 4357 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5:30pm)


More within