Overview

Innovate UK has partnered with The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) for this funding opportunity aimed at UK SMEs.

This competition aims to identify UK partners who will bring innovative solutions to support and collaborate with the NRC Challenge Program in Health and Disruptive Technologies for Cell and Gene Therapy.

Scope

The aim of this competition is to support improvements in biomanufacturing for cost effective gene and cell-based therapies.

Your project must include teams from the UK and Canada’s National Research Council to develop solutions to address one of these two areas:

  1. Process improvement for adeno-associated virus (AAV) based gene therapy.
  2. Deploy process analytical technologies to perfusion-enabled lentiviral vector manufacturing.

Process improvement for adeno-associated virus (AAV) based gene therapy

Your proposal must:

  • demonstrate economical viability by coupling your proposal to more cost-effective downstream processing options than what is currently available
  • be based on transient transfection, developing improvement of serum free media or processes to increase AAV upstream yields
  • develop faster in-line, online, at-line or off-line process analytical assays to support process development
  • develop more cost effective, robust and scalable AAV particle separation methods (preferably chromatography based).

Deploy process analytical technologies to perfusion-enabled lentiviral vector (LV) manufacturing

You will have access to the perfusion-enabled high yield LV production process developed at NRC.

Your proposal must show how you will develop and deploy complementary in-line monitoring technologies for real time process characterisation using:

  • capacitance frequency scanning (Aber Instruments)
  • multi-wavelength fluorometry (NRC technology)
  • Raman spectroscopy including analysis algorithms

Your project must focus one or more of the following:

  1. Upstream process intensification for AAV production based on transient transfection using HEK293 cells (must be with NRC’s HEK293 cells) in suspension culture and serum free medium
  2. Development of faster analytic assays for AAV to support process improvement
  3. New cost-effective technology for AAV downstream processing
  4. Robust and scalable (preferentially chromatography based) empty/full AAV particle separation methods
  5. Semi-fully continuous downstream processing, promising higher throughput and reduced costs for AAV.
  6. Process analytical technologies for lentiviral vector manufacturing amenable to production in perfusion

Interested in applying for this competition?

Book a 30-minute consultation

Our team are available to discuss your innovative business, your project ideas and how we can help you to write a successful application for this Grant Funding opportunity.

Use the calendar to select and book a consultation with one of our experts, at a time that’s convenient for you.


Eligibility

To lead a project your organisation must be either a:

  • UK registered micro, small or medium sized enterprise (SME)
  • catapult
  • charity
  • not for profit organisation

Your project must:

  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK and Canada
  • carry out most of its project work in the UK

Academic institutions cannot lead.

To collaborate with the lead organisation your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered SME, academic institution, catapult, charity, public sector organisation or research and technology organisation (RTO)
  • carry out most of its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK and in Canada

If your application is a collaboration the lead and at least one other organisation must claim funding by entering their costs during the application.

Before starting an application or being invited to join a project in the Innovation Funding Service, you must have established a partnership with an appropriate research team at NRC Canada.

If you do not name an NRC research partner, you will not be eligible for funding through this competition.

Funding Costs

A total of up to £290,000 is allocated to fund 3 innovation projects in this competition. Your total grant funding must not exceed £96,000 This is regardless of the individual partners’ grant claims.

Your project must:

  • have total eligible costs of up to £128,000
  • start by 1 May 2021
  • be up to 24 months in duration

If your organisation’s work on the project is mostly commercial or economic, your funding request must not exceed the limits below. These limits apply even if your organisation normally acts non-economically.

For feasibility studies and industrial research projects, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 70% if you are a micro or small organisation
  • up to 60% if you are a medium-sized organisation
  • up to 50% if you are a large organisation

For experimental development projects which are nearer to market, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 45% if you are a micro or small organisation
  • up to 35% if you are a medium-sized organisation
  • up to 25% if you are a large organisation

Exclusions

This competition will not fund projects that:

  • are fundamental research
  • do not include at least one area covered under specific themes
  • are new cell line development
  • are isolation or engineering of new serotypes of AAV
  • are gene therapy projects aiming at developing treatments for specific disease
  • are proof of concepts in animal models
  • are clinical trials

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