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Yorkshire Cancer Research secures £1.74m funding from China

17 December 12


Yorkshire Cancer Research has secured £1.74m of funding from China to move early stage innovative cancer technologies from the region's laboratories to hospitals and doctors surgeries throughout the world.

The funding is the result of a ground breaking workshop organised in partnership with the University of Bradford's Open Innovation programme, a unique scheme which aims to combine home-grown, Yorkshire-based science and technology skills with China's expertise in science, investment and infrastructure.

Yorkshire-based academics, clinicians and companies travelled to Guangzhou, China, to take part in the workshop, which concentrated on the diagnosis and management of cancer. Following a week of discussions with potential Chinese collaborators, 11 projects were formally submitted to Guangzhou Development District (GDD), a regional economic development arm of the Chinese government that has a substantial budget for healthcare investment and development in the Guangzhou region.

Six of the applications, involving scientists and clinicians based at the Universities of Leeds, Sheffield, Bradford and Hull, have now been approved and will receive a total of £870,000 from GDD. The funding has been matched by the Chinese companies, which will collaborate on the projects, delivering a further £870,000. The projects will concentrate on cancer imaging, cancer diagnostics and cancer stem cell therapy, and work will be undertaken in both Yorkshire and China.

Morgan Williams, Head of Commercialisation at Yorkshire Cancer Research, said: "In recent years, we have found it increasingly difficult to move both the ideas that emerge from our research portfolio and other opportunities which come onto our radar into a commercial setting. This is partly due to the difficult economic climate. These projects are inherently risky and financial backing for them is particularly difficult to secure when times are hard.

"Rather than be deflected from our task of moving cancer technologies towards the patient, we decided to help foster a regime which allows early stage Yorkshire projects to find the initial financial and other support they need to get moving.

"For every £1 we invested in the workshop process, we have leveraged £14 from our Chinese partners and we have now managed to start six commercial proof of concept projects that otherwise might not have seen the light of day. We have also given these projects a collaboration partner that will by 2020 overtake the USA as the world's largest healthcare market; a country that any commercial development project in the cancer field will have to understand and exploit as China comes to the forefront of the global economic and healthcare landscape."

The projects are due to start in April 2013. The charity hopes to fund a second workshop in 2013, which will focus on cancer therapeutics and drug delivery.

Charles Rowett, CEO of Yorkshire Cancer Research, added: "This is a radical new approach to securing funding for cancer research. It is a ground breaking moment for Yorkshire Cancer Research and we are really proud to be associated with the team in Bradford. We now have funding for projects at four of the region's universities and this would not have happened without our involvement."

For more information on Yorkshire Cancer Research visit www.yorkshirecancerresearch.org.uk

17 December 12

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