Global charity the Wellcome Trust has injected £110m to extend its seeding drug discovery (SDD) programme for an additional five years.

The decision has been made following an internal review of the programme, aimed at developing small molecules that address unmet medical needs.

The programme also focuses on developing projects to a stage where there is sufficient evidence to make the intellectual property attractive to follow-on investors or venture capitalists.

SDD, which was launched in 2005, had committed £80m to fund the early stages of drug discovery.

Milestones achieved by the programme include the completion of a phase I clinical trial of lead drug candidate ACHN-490 to treat multidrug-resistant bacterial infections with pharmaceutical company Achaogen