Innovate UK’s New Cancer Therapeutics programme has awarded a £1.6m ($2m) grant to the Imperial College (UK) spinout NK:IO to support the preclinical development of natural killer (NK) cell therapies to target solid tumours.
The global drug development process has been disrupted by a decline in clinical trial activity due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Russia’s war in Ukraine, and inflationary pressures. In response, the UK Government has introduced a life sciences package to boost and fact-track clinical activity in the country.
Innovate UK is part of the UK Research and Innovation, a public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK Government. The grant will cover the manufacturing development of therapies by NK:IO in collaboration with the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult, an independent organisation set up by Innovate UK.
In a press release announcing the funding, NK:IO’s interim CEO Mike Ramos said: “We are very excited by the potential of NK:IO’s platform to address unmet needs in cancer therapy and delighted to receive grant funding from this highly competitive new Innovate UK programme.
“The funding will directly support our collaboration with the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult in a programme of development work to scale our products and make them clinic-ready for our first clinical application in ovarian cancer.”
Oncology trials have been a major part of clinical trial activity in the UK, with cancer trials accounting for about a quarter of all trials conducted in the UK for the past five years, as per GlobalData Clinical Trials Database.
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Innovate UK has announced several similar grants in recent months. Last month, VaxEquity and the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) received grants worth £700m ($868) for the expansion of RNA manufacturing capability for related therapies and vaccines.
Cell & Gene Therapy coverage on Pharmaceutical Technology is supported by Cytiva.
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