£1.9 million to combat infectious disease and antimicrobial resistance

The Bloomsbury SET, a knowledge exchange programme led by The Royal Veterinary College (RVC), has been awarded £1.9 million from Research England. Beginning in July 2021, the year-long project aims to commercialise research into infectious disease and antimicrobial resistance.

Building on the current work of The Bloomsbury SET, this new programme, entitled “The Bloomsbury SET: A London-Liverpool alliance to accelerate solutions to infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance”, retains three of the four original collaborating institutions.

Joining the RVC, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), and SOAS University of London, is a new partner, the Infection Innovation Consortium (iiCON), led by the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. The programme also works closely with the London International Development Centre (LIDC), a consortium of seven colleges of the University of London.

The iiCON consortium builds on the UK’s North West’s capability in infectious diseases R&D. It has been established with the aim of fast-tracking the discovery and development of new antimicrobial products and treatments to reduce the global burden of disease caused by infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

With infectious diseases and AMR now a high priority for global public health, there is need for both academic and commercial sectors to work together more effectively to prepare and respond to existing and emerging challenges. In response to these critical threats, The Bloomsbury SET’s new Impact Connector programme will work with businesses to deliver products including vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics that will benefit both animals and humans.

Impact Connector will target colleagues across the consortium which are at an early stage in their commercialisation journey, aiming to develop a pipeline of skilled innovators and support the most competitive ideas to progress to higher Technology Readiness Levels. Throughout the 12-month period, the programme of activities will accelerate partnerships, skills training and product development, including: A programme with workshops, peer-to-peer learning, and business mentoring to support product development; a skills programme for academics and other university staff to develop their understanding of the concepts required to commercialise academic research and work with strategic partners; and a series of events and activities to support connections between academics and appropriate commercial partners.

Professor Richard Bomphrey, Interim Vice-Principal for Research at the RVC, said: “There has never been a better time to bring together an outstanding interdisciplinary and inter-sectorial consortium to take on the globally important and pressing issues of infectious disease and antimicrobial resistance. The Bloomsbury SET Impact Connector programme will support innovators as they take promising therapeutics from the laboratory to communities worldwide.”

Image credit: Billion Photos

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