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Outcomes of Applied Genomics

23 March 2005

Applied Genomics LINK Programme Media Briefing
20 April 2005, 11am
The Royal Society, Carlton House Terrace, London

Ways of identifying novel antibiotics, new approaches to repair spinal injuries and new targets for drugs to fight cancer and Alzheimer’s disease are a few of the outcomes of a £30M Applied Genomics LINK Programme being presented at the Royal Society on 20 April 2005.

This LINK programme was launched in July 2000, following the publication of the first draft of the human genome sequence and multiple bacterial genomes, to drive forward industry and academic collaboration to accelerate the application of genomics in the areas of medicine and healthcare. It is sponsored by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the Department for Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Medical Research Council (MRC).

The sponsors will be holding a briefing for the media that will include presentations by two of the project leaders who will be speaking at the programme dissemination meeting as well as a further project leader and the chairman of the funding committee. There will be the opportunity to speak to representatives from all the 21 projects funded through the programme, and a full media pack will be available.

The media briefing will cover new technologies generated by science supported by the programme and the success in attracting investment and commercialising intellectual property.

Speakers at the briefing will include:

Dr Melanie Lee – Executive Vice President, R&D, UCB – Chairman, Applied Genomics LINK Programme Management Committee
Overview of the programme

Dr Lloyd Czaplewski – Director of Research, Prolysis
New ways of discovering antibiotics

Professor Mike Curtis – Queen Mary, University of London Identification and validation of new targets for antimicrobials

Dr Sue Kingsman – Executive Director and Senior Vice President, Research, Oxford Biomedica
Neuroregeneration of damaged nerves

The speakers will give short presentations on the outcomes of their projects within the LINK programme and then take questions. All speakers will be available for interview after the briefing. Members of other project teams, with displays, will also be on hand to talk about their work.

To pre-register interest in attending the media briefing please contact the BBSRC Media Office.

ENDS

Notes to editors

The overall objective of the Applied Genomics LINK programme was to encourage the use of genome sequence and genetic data to identify new functionalities in biological systems that are capable of exploitation in the healthcare industries. Research into project areas that will increase the understanding of the information encoded in the human genome and those of other organisms and how this relates to the actions of proteins in the context of whole cells, tissues, organisms and diseases has been included in the programme. The programme was closed to new applications in June 2004, after four years.

The Applied Genomics LINK Programme involved researchers from 17 universities and research institutions collaborating with 23 industrial partners, 21 of which were SMEs who had not been involved in such a programme before. The programme has attracted over £14M of industrial funding in addition to the matched funding from the sponsors and has lead to significant industrial developments including novel targets, tools and equipment for drug discovery, as well as valuable intellectual property.

About LINK

LINK Collaborative Research is a Government-wide mechanism for promoting partnership in pre-competitive research between UK industry and universities and other research base organisations. It aims to stimulate innovation, wealth creation and improve the quality of life. The main goal of the LINK programme in Applied Genomics is to support the development of platform technologies that will enable UK healthcare companies to harness and exploit the output of genome sequencing projects and developments in genomics. The programme responds to one of the major challenges identified by the Foresight Healthcare Panel - the need to accelerate the takeup of genomic knowledge by industry to boost UK competitiveness and enhance health care delivery. This programme has encouraged the exchange of knowledge into industry from the research base and given the research base access to the latest techniques developed by industry to optimise the exploitation of genomics.

Genomics is expected to have a revolutionary impact on the delivery of healthcare in the 21st century and developments in genomics based technologies will be one of the key aspects of the knowledge-driven economy over the next decades.

About BBSRC

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is the UK funding agency for research in the life sciences. Sponsored by Government, BBSRC annually invests around £380 million in a wide range of research that makes a significant contribution to the quality of life for UK citizens and supports a number of important industrial stakeholders including the agriculture, food, chemical, healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors. http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk

About DTI

The DTI drives our ambition of 'prosperity for all' by working to create the best environment for business success in the UK . We help people and companies become more productive by promoting enterprise, innovation and creativity.

We champion UK business at home and abroad. We invest heavily in world-class science and technology. We protect the rights of working people and consumers. And we stand up for fair and open markets in the UK , Europe and the world.

About MRC

The Medical Research Council (MRC) is a national organisation funded by the UK tax-payer. Its business is medical research aimed at improving human health; everyone stands to benefit from the outputs. The research it supports and the scientists it trains meet the needs of the health services, the pharmaceutical and other health-related industries and the academic world. MRC has funded work which has led to some of the most significant discoveries and achievements in medicine in the UK . About half of the MRC’s expenditure of £450 million is invested in its 40 Institutes, Units and Centres. The remaining half goes in the form of grant support and training awards to individuals and teams in universities and medical schools. http://www.mrc.ac.uk

External contact

Dr Celia Caulcott, LINK Applied Genomics Programme Co-ordinator

tel: 01883 624159

Contact

Matt Goode, Head of External Relations

tel: 01793 413299

Tracey Jewitt, Media Officer

tel: 01793 414694
fax: 01793 413382