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LifeArc, previously MRC Technology, set to transform the medical research landscape

15 June 2017

15 June 2017: LifeArc, the UK medical research charity previously known as MRC Technology1, today announced ambitious plans to improve the lives of patients suffering from diseases that present the greatest challenges to medical research. By investing up to £500 million2 over the next five years, LifeArc will seek to generate, fund and champion innovations in antimicrobials, neuroscience, personalised oncology and respiratory medicine.

The charity will build on its successful model of collaboration by setting up ‘Communities for Impact3’. These networks will bring together the best partners to drive medical innovation in specific therapeutic and diagnostic areas. LifeArc’s work has already helped to develop treatments for patients suffering from cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and Crohn’s disease, as well as an improved test for antibiotic resistance. 

“Today is an important landmark in our history. LifeArc is a new name for an organisation that already has an impressive track record of pioneering new ways to turn the best science into patient treatments. The name LifeArc better reflects what we achieve in being the arc or bridge between great science and its application to help patients,” said Dr Dave Tapolczay, Chief Executive Officer, LifeArc. 

LifeArc has also established two new funds4 for the progression of medical science and these are worth a combined £30 million over four years. The Philanthropic Fund will provide grants to support academic research funded by other medical research charities and organisations, while the Seed Fund will invest in early stage therapeutics and biological research.

“The funds build on our history of identifying and supporting early stage scientific discoveries and will form part of the overall life science funding ecosystem to ensure a continuous pipeline of new treatments and diagnostics become available to patients,” Dr John Stageman, Chairman of LifeArc, added.

To accommodate the increase in new projects it progresses through its labs, LifeArc recently moved into state-of-the-art facilities in Stevenage and Edinburgh. The Stevenage site hosts around 80 scientists working on antibody and small molecule research, while £10 million is being invested to create a centre of excellence for diagnostic development in Edinburgh. 


ENDS
Notes to editors


Media enquiries:
Katie Odgaard
Zyme Communications
T: +44 (0)7787 502 947
E: katie.odgaard@zymecommunications.com


Liezel Tipper
PR & Communications Manager
LifeArc
T: +44 (0)207 391 2772
E: Liezel.Tipper@tech.mrc.ac.uk / Liezel.Tipper@lifearc.org


Further information:

1.     MRC Technology evolved from the Medical Research Council. It was known as the MRC Collaborative Centre and established as a charity in 1992. The charity became MRC Technology in 1999 and on 15 June 2017 it changed its name to LifeArc. 


2.     Investment of up to £500 million is based on LifeArc’s financial model to 2022, which includes analysts’ forecasts for Keytruda® revenue. In 2016 LifeArc received £115 million from the partial monetisation of royalties from Keytruda. 


3.     LifeArc will create networks called ‘Communities for Impact’ to drive medical innovation in specific focus areas, including antimicrobials, neuroscience, personalised oncology and respiratory. They are however not limiting their work to these areas, as insight from scientists and charities in other areas will help to inform future research focus. Therapeutic focus areas will change over time, driven by patient needs and scientific opportunity. The network of partners will bring skills and knowledge to complement LifeArc’s own, so research can progress to patients quicker.


4.     The Philanthropic and Seed Funds will be launched in January 2018 and will be managed by LifeArc. The funds will be available to life science researchers globally. For further information, please email funds@lifearc.org 


About LifeArc:
LifeArc is the new name for MRC Technology, a medical research charity with a 25 year legacy of helping scientists and organisations turn their research into treatments and diagnostics for patients. 

The new name reflects the charity’s purpose: to be the arc or bridge between research and improving patients’ lives.

LifeArc is pioneering new ways to turn great science into greater patient impact. It brings together a network of partners to tackle specific diseases and directly funds academic and early stage research. The current five-year focus is on antimicrobials, neuroscience, personalised oncology and respiratory projects. Work with other medical research charities and foundations outside of these therapy areas will continue, as these partners play a crucial role in helping LifeArc understand potential new areas to research in the future. 

The charity has dedicated laboratories in Stevenage where around 80 scientists work on antibody and small molecule projects, while the Edinburgh lab progresses diagnostics development. 

So far, LifeArc’s work has helped to develop four drugs (Keytruda®, Actemra®, Tysabri® and Entyvio®) and a test for antimicrobial resistance. 
 
www.lifearc.org   Twitter @lifearc1