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Biosciences scoop over £5M from Government commercialisation fund

24 January 2006

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) has welcomed the success of the UK bioscience research community in scooping over £5M from a Government fund designed to turn the best research ideas into commercial reality.

The money has come from the £25M Public Sector Research Exploitation Fund and has been awarded to the Rainbow Seed Fund, Plant Bioscience Ltd (PBL) and Genecom.

Dr Doug Yarrow, BBSRC Director of Corporate Science, said, “BBSRC is extremely pleased to see its community perform so strongly in competing for commercialisation funds. The UK bioscience community is second only to the US in the world but to create benefits for the country we need to support the development of commercial ideas. The three successful bids will each help the bioscience community to develop its best ideas to market, through initial funding, development and marketing.”

The Rainbow Seed Fund secured £2.5M to increase the value of the fund to over £8M. The Fund provides seed financing to help the development of ideas originating in partner organisations to be commercial concepts. The Fund will now be able to accept proposals from more organisations, improving the prospects for developing commercialisation from a larger section of the UK science base. Ideas backed by the fund over the last year by the fund have included new and cheaper techniques to diagnose breast cancer and a platform for drug development.

The Norwich-based IP management and technology transfer company, PBL – in which BBSRC is a major shareholder – has been awarded £1.9M to fund market research costs, marketing costs, support a technology development fund and promote innovation activities across four BBSRC-sponsored institutes.

Dr Jan Chojecki, Managing Director of PBL, commented, “PBL invests early in emerging technology and offers assistance and advice to all scientists on protecting and commercialising their innovations. We have unique experience and expertise in the areas of plant, microbial and food science. This award from the Public Sector Research Exploitation Fund will enable us to work with more scientists to transfer their research from the UK research base to commercialisation. Knowledge transfer is key to harnessing the first rate science we have in this country and to develop new products and services that benefit both the economy and the general quality of life in the UK.”

Genecom is led by the Roslin Institute, and also covers research at the Institute for Animal Health and the Moredun Institute. The three institutes are internationally renowned for their science in animal health, welfare and breeding and the award of almost £1M to Genecom will allow them to increase the commercialisation opportunities of their research.

ENDS

Notes to editors

The Public Sector Research Exploitation fund was set up four years ago, and the first round of funding of £10m was allocated in October 2001. The second round of funding of £15m was announced in January 2004. Bids for this third round with £25m in funding were invited from July to November 2005.

Bids were assessed by an advisory board that included independent experts. The board was chaired by the Director General of Research Councils, Sir Keith O’Nions.

BBSRC is involved in a wide range of activities to promote, encourage and assist knowledge transfer from the research it funds.

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

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