Over the last decade, the Medical Research Council (MRC) has provided more than £530 million in funding for translational research, according to its latest report.
The MRC Translational Research 2008-2018 report states that translational research funding since 2008 has led to MRC-linked spin-outs securing £1.1 billion in private sector investment, in addition to developing new therapies and medical devices.
The MRC introduced funding schemes specifically for translational research in 2008, in response to recommendations arising from the UK government's 2006 Cooksey review of UK health research funding, which highlighted that not enough research was progressing from the bench to the bedside.
The new report says 134 spin-outs are attributed to MRC-funded projects, equivalent to 3-6 per cent of new UK life science companies formed since 2008. Of these, 78 resulted from funding schemes for translational research. These included 31 spin-outs which secured a total of £1.1 billion in investment between 2008-2018 and were valued at £2.7 billion (as of August 2019).
In 2018, these companies attracted 41 per cent of all investment in UK life sciences start-ups established since 2008. Over 200 investors were involved across 425 funding rounds and a third of these investors were from overseas.
Despite these successes, the MRC says there are still opportunities for improvement. In the report, the council says expanding the scale and scope of translational funding is essential and also sees a need for streamlined opportunities to reverse translate outputs from clinical work.
"There is more work to be done and the MRC, through UKRI, will continue to drive the innovation of translation creating the conditions for the UK to continue to grow and prosper,” said Professor Dame Anna Dominiczak, the MRC's Health Innovation Champion.