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Last updated: Fri May 14 10:44:01 BST 2010

Wellcome Trust extends Seeding Drug Discovery initiative

The Wellcome Trust announces an injection of £110 million to extend its Seeding Drug Discovery initiative for a further five years. The decision follows an extensive internal review of the programme, whose successes include the completion of a phase I clinical trial of a drug to treat multidrug-resistant bacterial infections.

Since its launch in 2005, Seeding Drug Discovery (SDD) has committed over £80 million to fund the early stages of drug discovery, a point at which work is often considered too high-risk to attract funding from venture capitalist or other sources for commercial development.

 

The programme was set up to facilitate the development of drug-like small molecules that address unmet medical needs. The aim is to progress projects to a stage where there is sufficient evidence to make the intellectual property and outcomes attractive to follow-on investors.

 

"When Seeding Drug Discovery was launched as a new concept in translational funding, we took a calculated risk that there were the people and ideas within the research community to make the initiative fly," explains Ted Bianco, Director of Technology Transfer at the Wellcome Trust. "Now we know that there are, based on the four-year review of the scheme, which shows that we have tapped into a rich vein of exciting drug discovery possibilities."

 

"The additional resources the Wellcome Trust is putting behind the initiative exemplifies our resolve to make a difference through the discovery of novel medicines that might never have made it off the drawing board for lack of the necessary funds."

  

Seeding Drug Discovery is open to researchers at public or private institutions, including commercial companies. The next deadline for applications is 21 May 2010.