Expertise and funding on offer to help tackle COVID-19

New ideas to help tackle Covid-19 or prepare for future pandemics are set to get a major boost from the medical research charity, LifeArc.

LifeArc has over 25 years’ expertise in translating science into new healthcare treatments or diagnostics for patients. Through the charity’s new service, ‘Advise & Connect’, this expertise will be made available for free to any researcher with an eligible project: early-stage research into new drugs, diagnostics, medical devices or digital/AI applications to overcome the long-term challenges created by COVID-19 and to prepare for future viral outbreaks.

Researchers may also be able to access support from LifeArc’s wider network and apply for an Innovation Award of up to £20k.

LifeArc provides technology transfer support to the Medical Research Council and works with a number of other partners – universities and charities – to help move their research forward towards the clinic. The charity has an impressive track record, having helped to bring a diagnostic test and four antibody drugs to market. These include tocilizumab, originally licensed for rheumatoid arthritis and in use in 90 countries, but which has also more recently been approved to treat severely ill COVID-19 patients. The charity has already dedicated £27m funding towards new treatments and diagnostics to tackle COVID-19.

Applying to receive advice through the Advise & Connect webpages is straightforward. Researchers with eligible projects will then be invited to a meeting with two LifeArc advisors whose expertise matches the project’s needs. LifeArc might also draw on the expertise of external partners. Following the advice session, researchers may be offered further support from LifeArc, its partners and wider network of collaborators or be invited to apply for grants of up to £20k. These can be used to help validate or de-risk a technology, to establish market need or feasibility and to develop or test prototypes.

Applications to Advise & Connect: COVID-19 will open on 12 May 2021 and will be assessed on a rolling basis.