Cancer Research UK’s commercial arm and the European Investment Fund (EIF) have partnered to create a £50m investment vehicle to bridge the funding gap between cancer drug discovery and early development in the British market.
The CRT Pioneer Fund will take potential cancer drugs from discovery through to entry to Phase II clinical trials. It is a bold step to fund the most innovative oncology research and to plug a large gap in the UK funding of drug discovery, it said.
CRT and the EIF will make equal contributions to the CRT Pioneer Fund. The fund has launched with a first close of £25m, which may be doubled by the founders to reach the total £50m.
“The gap has appeared because investment from industry has moved away from early stage discovery and there’s less funding for small biotechnology firms who previously helped bridge the gap between academia and pharmaceutical companies,” Dr Keith Blundy, CEO of Cancer Research Technology, said in a statement.
“This important investment means we can take forward the most innovative approaches using our in-house drug discovery and development capabilities, to progress promising treatments from the lab all the way to clinical trials, translating our world-class scientific research into new treatments more quickly.”
This month the EIF also launched an equity service for angel investors to help finance small and medium-sized enterprises through co-investments.
Its European Angels Fund will work with investors who have experience and a good track record in their investment area and are willing to invest at least €250,000 over ten years.
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