28 Aug 2018

Biomedical Catalyst: Primer Award

Bethan Roullier
Head of BD Grants

What is the Biomedical Catalyst 2018 round 2: primer award competition

This is an opportunity for your company to receive 70% grant funding towards proposals that support the development of innovative healthcare products, technologies and processes. Your project can cost anywhere between £200,000 and £1.5 million, and be up to 24 months long.

Primer stage projects can include:

  • experimental evaluation (at laboratory scale)
  • initial demonstration using in vitro and in vivo models (but not human clinical trials such as safety or efficacy)
  • exploring potential production mechanisms
  • early-stage prototyping
  • product development planning
  • intellectual property protection

What are Innovate UK looking for?

This competition is looking to fund projects where the technology outputs offer:

  • disease prevention and proactive management of health and chronic conditions
  • earlier or better detection and diagnosis of disease, leading to better patient outcomes
  • tailored treatments that either change the underlying disease or offer potential cures

Innovate UK will support projects from any discipline, including stratified healthcare (both therapeutic and diagnostic components), advanced therapies (cell and gene therapy), precision medicine (both therapy and diagnostic components), diagnostics, digital health, medical technologies and devices.

Here’s some real-world examples of projects that have been successful in recent rounds of this competition:

  • Development of a synthetic alternative to autograft bone
  • Technical evaluation of innovative, wearable Vision Enhancement device
  • Development of an Innovative Arthroscopic Approach for Regenerative Treatment of the Hip
  • Optimisation of Antibody Recruiting Molecules as Immunotherapeutics
  • Development of a drug to activate gene expression as a treatment for non-alcoholic steatohepatitis
  • Preclinical development of novel DNA-based antimicrobial agents
  • Development of a non-invasive glucose sensor

How can you improve your chances of  being awarded grant funding?

Having a robust scientific evidence base is an absolute must for this competition – your application will undergo a rigorous technical appraisal by the assessors. Be sure to include high-quality, peer reviewed background research where you can. You may wish to consider an academic collaborator on the project, to add external validation and expertise.

Don’t be afraid of sharing your proprietary technical data with the assessors – everything you disclose is classed as ‘commercial in confidence’ – as such, this means it is not classed as public disclosure, and will not affect any future intellectual property filings.

Explain carefully what your innovation is using plain English where you can – do not assume the assessor has in-depth knowledge and use acronyms or jargon that wold not be understandable to others outside your field. The more easily you can explain your innovation, the better chance you have of the assessors fully understanding your solution and seeing why it is ground-breaking as you think it is!

Consider a clinical collaborator – your product will either be used by clinicians in a medical environment or given to patients for use in their home. Having a solid understanding of how and where your product could fit into clinical care pathways is important.

How can TBAT help you?

TBAT has a team of grant writing experts with over 40 years’ combined experience of writing proposals for scientific R&D projects in a variety of fields, including MedTech, Biotechnology and Medicines Development (you can see more about our team here).

We offer a grant-review service for clients who prepare their own proposals, and will offer structured advice on how to turn a document into a high-quality proposal. We will give honest feedback to ensure the proposal stands the best chance of success.

However, our most common mode of working is to take on full writing of the application; this is often where clients simply haven’t the internal time/resource needed to dedicate to producing a competitive application.

What if I’ve already done research in this area?

If you have already invested time and money into developing innovative healthcare technology, then you could well be able to claim money back from HMRC in the form of an R&D Tax Credit. Our specialist R&D Tax Credits team can assess your spending for up to two full previous business years to calculate the refund due – this can be taken as a tax credit off your next tax bill, or as a direct cash injection into the business now.

What should I do next?

Please call us on 01332 819740 to discuss applying for Grant Funding or claiming R&D Tax Credits with our specialists, or drop us a line using our contact form, and we’ll get straight back to you.

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