News & Views
Pilot Funding Scheme holds Promise for Medicines Discovery
Aug 12 2021
Start-ups focused in areas of unmet patient need, could find a welcome injection of funding from a joint venture aiming to help promising start-ups access long-term capital in the early phases of their growth.
The pilot scheme brings together We Share Ventures impact-driven revolving funding model, the first of its kind in the sector, with the UK’s Medicine Discover Catapult’s (MDC) Syndicate’s programme of partnerships that connect patient insights with industry know-how to progress promising ideas for further development and investment. They are currently focused in three areas: infections associated with infection in cystic fibrosis, hearing loss and tinnitus, and psychiatric disorders.
Based in The Hague, the non-profit organisation We Share’s philanthropic approach is underpinned by a share-it-forward principle, where grants are raised via philanthropic donations and awarded to relevant start-ups with favourable conditions - a long-term repayment, based on success milestones. This, in turn, creates a revolving funding pool to support a new generation of impact-driven start-ups.
Professor Chris Molloy, CEO, Medicines Discovery Catapult, said: “Impact investment is an ideal source of funding for medicines discovery. It is long-term, people-centred, scalable and accessible to all. This fits and fuels the patient-centred R&D engine that the Syndicates have pioneered and is an exciting innovation in drug discovery.”
“The MDC-We Share approach allows medicine discovery start-ups to devote their energies to doing what they do best: R&D. The potential for this new model is huge – across every therapeutic area - and we are delighted to be partnering with We Share for what could be a game-changing moment in UK medicines R&D.”
Edward de Jager, Founder of We Share Ventures and Chairman of the Board, Unknown Group, said: “Despite its many successes, the traditional model of utilising venture capital to fund projects into medicines discovery cannot cater for every area of research, especially in the early stages of their development.”
“Some areas require a different model to provide them with the funding they need to produce ground-breaking research that can ultimately add great societal and economic benefits.”
“Our collaboration with MDC does just that and we are excited to partner with such a reputable organisation, drive innovation in medicine discovery and support early-stage medicines developers for the unmet needs of the patients.”
Launching in Autumn 2021, MDC and We Share will hold a call for applications for start-ups across Europe with preclinical-stage medicines discovery projects aiming to address patient need in cystic fibrosis-related infections, hearing loss and tinnitus and psychiatric disorders.
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