Healthcare and medtech startups can apply for grant funding from a £10 million ($12.9 million) pot created by Innovate UK, the government's funding arm for digital innovation.
This has been made available thanks to the Biomedical Catalyst, a partnership between Innovate UK and the Medical Research Group.
The fund has been split into two groups: there is £3 million available for "Feasibility and primer projects," which are projects exploring commercial and technical feasibility, and an additional £7 million for "Early and late-stage projects," which are in development already but need funding to progress further. In the former, startups can receive between £50,000 and £1 million for their project. In the latter, between £250,000 and £4 million can be granted to a successful project.
Specifically, Innovate UK is looking for projects that operate in these areas of healthcare:
- medical technologies and devices
- stratified healthcare, which involves grouping patients based on risk of disease or response to therapy
- advanced therapies, such as gene and cell therapies
- digital health
- drug discovery
Medical technology has come a long way in a very short space of time. (Image: Jair Lazaro, Unsplash)
Since the Biomedical Catalyst's founding in 2012, it has provided over £250 million to 300 projects and small businesses. One of the most intriguing projects is Calon Cardio, which developed a miniature heart pump, MiniVAD, and received £1.66 million in 2013 to advance the project. It has since gone on to run human trials with 50 patients at Swansea University, where the company is based.
The competition opens on January 21 and runs until April 3 at midday. In the second group -- the early/late-stage projects -- successful written applicants will be invited to pitch to a panel on May 10. Interested applicants can read more on the Innovate UK website.
TechX365 asked Dr. James Somauroo, the co-founder of HS., a medtech accelerator based in London, about the fund.
"The Biomedical Catalyst is a great opportunity for startups to make use of a significant amount of equity-free funding for vital work in R&D. Impact comes from scale and for the sector to benefit most, I would like to see grants given to ambitious, commercially viable ideas and businesses, founded by technically-gifted entrepreneurs," he told us.
The particularly important bit is that Somauroo believes that the funding is equity-free -- meaning that, unlike in a venture capital round, the startups would not have to "give away" shares in their startup to access the money. (See HS. Partners With Orthopaedic Research UK for Ronald Furlong Fund.)
Phil Oakley, Site Editor, TechX365