Funding and support

As the level of risk, need for capital and costs of due diligence involved in an innovation project evolve over time, so do the sources of funding.

The basic science and early stage research and development are quite well covered in the UK by the Research Councils and bodies such as the Wellcome Trust. After that it can become trickier. Getting over the so-called “valley of death” is a major hurdle. This is the funding gap that occurs after initial R&D and prototyping has been carried out and before the next stages. Feasibility has to be demonstrated in sufficiently large trials prior to further development, testing and launch, but finding the funding for this can be hard.

 

Funding stages chart

The diagram shows the kind of funding sources that are available at various stages after the ‘valley of death’.

These range from seed capital provided by angel investors, friends and family through various forms of venture capital (VC) funding to initial public offerings (IPOs) and secondary offerings. VC funding tends to be concentrated in certain industry sectors, including biotech and some parts of medtech.

Crowdfunding and other peer-to-peer funding models are now emerging to link investors and innovators. They require innovators / entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas to a crowdfunding platform (with some initial screening of the idea) and then – supported by the platform – generate a funding campaign, with a deadline. There are different options for the money pledged by the public. Under one model, all the money raised is only given to the project if the target is reached on time; if not, the funding is returned. Under another the project keeps the money pledged by the deadline, even if the target isn’t reached.

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stages 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5

Wellcome Trust

The Wellcome Trust a an independent global charitable foundation dedicated to improving health. Iyts funding ranges from basic scientific research, including social science, to supporting proof-of-concept research and development for new healthcare products. Its innovation funding stream aims to help bridge the gap between fundamental research and commercial application by funding applied research and development projects to a stage where they are attractive to a follow-on funder, such as venture capital firms, industry and public-private partnerships. There are a number of funding schemes, including Health Innovation Challenge Fund and Pathfinder Pilots.

wellcome.ac.uk/index.htm
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stages 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5

South East Health Technologies Alliance (SEHTA)

"SEHTA is one of the largest healthcare technology networking organisations in the UK with 1,300 members. It offers three services: Consultancy Plus, Care Review and Cluster Development & EU Networks. SEHTA covers a range of health technology fields, including assisted living, diagnostics, and medtech and smartcare and digital companies, and assists with all stages of product / service development, from ideation to long-term business planning, from customer needs analysis to useablity trialling, and from competitor and political landscaping to partner and supply chain selection."

sehta.co.uk
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stages 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5

Knowledge Transfer Network Ltd

Knowledge Transfer Network Ltd (KTN Ltd) is funded by Innovate UK and is an interdisciplinary UK-wide network of knowledge intensive businesses and academics designed to stimulate innovation by promoting collaboration, best practice and knowledge sharing.There are 15 individual Knowledge Transfer Networks, including a Health Tech & Medicines KTN. KTN Ltd organises sector specific missions to different countries to help connect researchers and innovators in the UK with overseas opportunities. It can help UK organisations access overseas funding schemes and it works closely with Innovate UK on major international funding programmes,such as Horizon 2020.

Open the Knowledge Transfer Network
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stages 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5

NESTA

Nesta is an independent charity with a mission to help bring good ideas to life, Nesta is a leading innovation think tank, an investor in innovative ventures and an innovation lab testing out new approaches to supporting innovation. It has produced a useful innovation policy toolkit which describes the UK innovation ecosystem, available here: http://www.nesta.org.uk/innovation-policy-toolkit

Go to NESTA
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stages 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5

Intellectual Property Office

The Intellectual Property Office helps businesses understand how to manage IP. This includes IP online tools.

Go to IPO
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stages 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5

Digital Health London

DigitalHealth London is a collaboration between MedCity and London’s three Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs): Imperial College Health Partners, UCL Partners and the Health Innovation Network. It is supported by the Mayor of London and the Academic Health Science Centres (AHSCs). It aims to help London pioneer the development, commercialisation and adoption of digital health innovation to improve health outcomes. It helps to create and support networks to bring together London’s existing critical mass of digital health expertise, identify digital solutions to meet the needs of patients and clinicians, and build an evidence base of the health outcomes and economic benefits of digital health. DigitalHealth London also helps businesses by tackling issues such as procurement and commissioning.

Digital Health London
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stage 1

Innovate UK

Innovate UK is the UK's innovation agency. It is an executive non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills. Its responsibilities are to determine which science and technology developments will drive future economic growth, meet UK innovators in the fields it focuses on, fund the strongest opportunities, connect innovators with the right partners, and help innovators launch, build and grow successful businesses. It provides opportunities to help network and share ideas and find project partners, including international partners. Support is available for all UK based companies. You can also get help from some programmes if you are an individual or an organisation.

Innovate-uk website
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stages 1 & 2

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) provides substantial funding for research and training for the health sector, a large proportion of which is for healthcare technologies. The portfolio covers novel therapies, implants, surgical tools, prosthetics, sensing and imaging technologies, and data handling for diagnosis. A significant proportion of research is in partnership with other funders such as MRC, CRUK, Wellcome, Innovate UK. EPSRC does not fund translational research, but it does seek to accelerate the impacts of the research it funds through take-up by industry or translational research funded by another organisation. It aims to encourage researchers to think about how to make their research impacts ‘translation ready’ so that they can more readily be picked up by other funders. EPSRC’s Impact and Translation Toolkit highlights topics for researchers to consider, to ensure that their research maximises its impact. Funding to support these elements of a research programme may be available through its Pathways to Impact initiative

epsrc.ac.uk
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stages 1 & 2

National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)

The NIHR funds research to generate innovative new healthcare solutions, as well as supporting infrastructure by providing facilities and people to conduct first-class research in the NHS and the systems for managing ethical research and its outputs. Its portfolio includes programmes where industry can apply for NIHR funding as lead or joint applicants, and which support translational research. The Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation (EME) is funded in partnership by the NIHR and MRC to test interventions where proof of concept has already been demonstrated, helping to allow progress from early clinical studies to larger, later-phase trials. The Invention for Innovation (i4i) programme provides funding to advance healthcare technologies and interventions in areas of existing or emerging clinical need, where there is a clear pathway to adoption and commercialisation.

nihr.ac.uk
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stages 1 & 2

Health Innovation Challenge Fund and Pathfinder Pilots

This is a parallel funding partnership between the Wellcome Trust and the Department of Health to stimulate the creation of innovative healthcare products, technologies and interventions and to facilitate their development for the benefit of patients in the NHS and beyond.

Health Innovation Challenge Fund
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stages 1 & 2

Charities such as Cancer Research UK

Visit the Association of Medical Research Charities website

amrc.org.uk
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stages 1 & 2

Horizon 2020

Horizon 2020 is the EU’s programme for funding innovation in products, technologies and processes. It brings together and replaces all existing EU Framework Programmes and simplifies EU funding through a single set of rules. It combines all research and innovation funding currently provided through the Framework Programmes for Research and Technical Development, the innovation related activities of the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). The health programme includes actions on personalising health and care, effective health promotion, disease prevention, preparedness and screening, improving diagnosis, innovative treatments and technologies, advancing active and healthy ageing, integrated, sustainable, citizen-centred care (personalised medicine, advanced ICT for personalised care, etc.), and improving health information, data exploitation and providing an evidence base for health policies and regulation.

ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020/
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stages 1, 2, 3 & 4

The Medical Research Council (MRC)

The Medical Research Council (MRC) is a publicly funded government agency responsible for coordinating and funding medical research in the United Kingdom. The MRC focuses on high-impact research and has provided the financial support and scientific expertise behind a number of medical breakthroughs, including the development of penicillin and the discovery of the structure of DNA. The MRC's Biomedical Catalyst: Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme (DPFS) funds the pre-clinical development and early clinical testing of novel therapeutics, devices and diagnostics, including “repurposing” of existing therapies. DPFS is an ongoing scheme, with outline deadlines every 4 months. The next deadline is 4pm on 29 March 2017.

mrc.ac.uk/funding
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stages 1, 2, 3 & 4

Devices for Dignity Health Technology Cooperative (D4D)

Devices for Dignity (D4D) Healthcare Technology Co-operative is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to drive forward innovative new products, processes and services to help people living with long term conditions. It aims to make a difference to the well-being of patients, the effectiveness of the NHS, and the wealth of the nation. Working with inventors, clinical and healthcare staff, industry, academics, charities, the public and patients, it addresses areas of unmet clinical and patient need in renal technologies, assistive and rehabilitative technologies, urinary continence management, and paediatric technologies.

devicesfordignity.org.uk
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stages 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5

Association of British Healthcare Industries (ABHI)

ABHI is the industry association for the medical technology sector in the UK. Its mission is to champion the benefits and use of safe and effective medical technologies to deliver high quality patient outcomes. ABHI engages with the NHS, government, regulators and other key stakeholders in the UK and abroad, in order to represent the industry. Its work focuses on UK market, economic growth, regulatory and ethics and compliance issues.

abhi.org.uk
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stages 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5

Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI)

The ABPI represents large, medium and small research-based biopharmaceutical companies in the UK. It is recognised by government as the industry body negotiating on behalf of the branded pharmaceutical industry for statutory consultation requirements including the pricing scheme for medicines in the UK.

abpi.org.uk
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stages 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5

British Healthcare Trade Association (BHTA)

The BHTA represents almost 500 companies making or selling healthcare and assistive technology products that help people live more independently.

bhta.net
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stages 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5

MedilinkUK

MedilinkUK is a national health technology business suppport service. It helps companies from concept to commercialisation and nurtures collaborations between academics, clinicians and industry. Medilink UK can provide bespoke market research for companies diversifying into the sector, or investing in research and development. Internationally platform, Medilink UK supports companies investing in the UK market as well as promoting the export of products and services to the US, Middle East and Asia.

medilinkuk.com
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stages 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5

British In Vitro Diagnostics Association (BIVDA)

BIVDA is the UK industry association for companies involved in the in vitro diagnostics industry. It represents both manufacturers and distributors. As well as providing a range of support services for its members, BIVDA aims to raisies awareness of the clinical and cost utility of diagnostics in the provision of effective healthcare.

bivda.co.uk
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stages 2, 3 & 4

Catapult

Catapults' have been set up by Innovate UK to drive future UK industry sectors by tackling the translational gap and bridge research and commercialisation, catalyse industry development, and focus on start-ups, incubators, and scaling-up SMEs. Amongst other fields, a 'Precision Medicine Catapult' has been established. Precision medicine combines accurate diagnosis with rules-based therapies and effective service delivery. The PMC is tackling the bottlenecks to product delivery, working with the precision medicine community and seeking to build a thriving industry.

Catapult
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stage 3

NHS England (SBRI)

The Small Business Research Initiative for Healthcare (SBRI Healthcare) is an NHS England initiative, championed by the Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs). It aims to promote economic growth, while addressing unmet health needs and enhancing the take up of known best practice. SBRI contracts are 100% funded, unlike many other research grants, and the inventor retains the intellectual property. The programme is challenge-driven through a series of competitions targeting specific health problems

sbrihealthcare.co.uk
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stages 3 & 4

Health Technology Assessment (HTA) programme

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stages 3 & 4

Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation (EME) programme

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stages 3 & 4

MedCity

MedCity supports entrepreneurs, SMEs, major industry and investors involved in the life sciences and med tech sectors working in London and the South East by: • Providing a single front door and concierge service for industry and investors looking for partners, infrastructure and expertise • Facilitating and supporting collaboration across all parts of the sector to turn innovations into commercial products and services • Fostering an environment that supports and encourages entrepreneurialism • Raising awareness globally of the region’s rich life sciences ecosystem It provides useful advice on accessing the market here: http://www.medcityhq.com/access-the-market/

MedCity
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stages 3 & 4

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)

The role of NICE is to improve outcomes for people using the NHS and other public health and social care services. NICE evaluates new technologies using health technology assessment (HTA) techniques, producing evidence-based guidance for purchasers in the NHS. NICE Scientific Advice provides advice to technology developers on the generation of relevant evidence for an HTA or discussions with commissioners/payers. NICE Scientific Advice also provides 'light advice' exclusively for small and medium enterprises developing pharmaceuticals, medical devices or diagnostics to help them understand the process of a NICE evaluation and ensure trial designs produce evidence relevant to a future evaluation.

nice.org.uk
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stages 3 & 4

Imperial Innovations

Imperial Innovations is a technology commercialisation company, combining the activities of technology transfer, intellectual property licensing and protection, company incubation and investment. It is focused on the commercialisation of the most promising opportunities from a broad range of technology sectors, with particular expertise in therapeutics, medtech, engineering & materials and ICT. Imperial Innovations has a technology pipeline agreement with Imperial College London until 2020, under the terms of which it has exclusive commercialisation rights and continues to act as the College’s technology transfer office. It also acts as the technology transfer office for selected NHS Trusts linked to Imperial College London, including Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and London North West Healthcare NHS Trust. It runs an incubator in London that is the initial home for many of its technology spin-outs. Following a fundraising in January 2011, Imperial Innovations broadened its market beyond Imperial College by making investments in opportunities arising from intellectual property developed at, or associated with, the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford and University College London.

imperial Innovations
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stages 3 & 4

Wellcome Trust Translation Fund

The aim of Translation Awards is to develop innovative and ground breaking new technologies in the biomedical area. Projects must have already demonstrated proof of principle, supported by experimental data. Applications should bridge the funding gap in commercialisation of new technologies in the biomedical area and must plan to take the product, technology or intervention to a stage at which it is sufficiently developed to be attractive to another party. To encourage more applications in underserved and challenging areas, the fund will have strategic highlight areas. However, projects covering any aspect of technology development from a range of disciplines - including physical, computational and life sciences - will be considered at any time. Projects must address an unmet need in healthcare or in applied medical research, offer a potential new solution, and have a realistic expectation that the innovation will be developed further by the market.

Wellcome Trust Translation Fund
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stages 3, 4 & 5

Academic Health Science Networks

Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) aim to improve patient and population health outcomes by translating research into practice, and developing and implementing integrated healthcare services. They will support knowledge exchange networks to build alliances across internal and external networks and actively share best practice, and provide for rapid evaluation and early adoption of new innovations. A core objectives is to speed up adoption into practice by supporting the identification and faster spread of research and innovation at pace and scale. They are also concerned with wealth creation through co-development, testing, evaluation and early adoption and spread of new products and services

england.nhs.uk/ourwork/part-rel/ahsn/
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stages 3, 4 & 5

Department of Health Rapid Review Panel

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stages 4 & 5

NHS Innovation Challenge Prizes

The NHS Innovation Challenge Prizes exist to encourage, recognise and reward these frontline ideas, and support innovators in getting them embedded across the NHS. The programme includes tailored training and mentoring for innovators than cash funding.

NHS Innovation Challenge Prizes
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stage 5

Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CHANGE TO GREEN)

There are thirteen Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRCs) in the UK, established to carry out world-class applied health research focused on the needs of patients and to translate research evidence into practice in the NHS.

nihr.ac.uk/about/collaborations-for-leadership-in-applied-health-research-and-care.htm
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stage 5

NIHR Clinical Research Networks (CHANGE TO GREEN)

Aim to ensure patients and healthcare professionals from all parts of the UK are able to participate in and benefit from clinical research. They also increase collaboration with industry partners. A number of networks co-ordinate clinical trials for specific conditions, including cancer, stroke and mental health.

crn.nihr.ac.uk
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stage 5