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Public-private research partnership announces £10M new funding to promote drug development

24 March 2010

The search for new medicines will receive a £10M boost this week as the public and private sectors unite to fund bioprocessing research. The money is now available for scientists to apply for from the Bioprocessing Research Industry Club (BRIC) which aims to bring academics and industry together to find ways of delivering new medicines from biological materials more quickly and effectively.

BRIC is a BBSRC (Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council)-led partnership with EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) and the UK biopharmaceutical industry, with support from the HealthTech and Medicines Knowledge Transfer Network, and was established in 2005 to fund the very best UK academics to carry out research to underpin the rapidly growing field of biological medicines.

As well as allowing scientists to undertake long term studies, this phase of BRIC is providing short term 'enabling funds' to address particularly difficult bottlenecks in the manufacture of biological medicines. These funds will allow the bioprocessing industry to call on world-class scientific expertise to ensure that new biological medicines can be made available to the consumer, quickly and cheaply.

Dr Celia Caulcott, BBSRC Director for Innovation and Skills, said: "BRIC is a fantastic forum for experts from academia and industry to join forces to further bioprocessing research in the UK.

"The UK pharmaceutical industry is a world leader, but its competitiveness relies on being able to call on the best expertise from academia. BRIC ensures that new and existing biopharmaceutical treatments are underpinned by excellent science."

This, the second phase of BRIC (BRIC2), aims to continue the success of the initial 5 year phase which has already committed £13M of spending in bioprocessing research. BRIC2 will focus on 5 priority areas, namely:

  • Bioprocessing research challenges for protein products and their host cell producers
  • High-throughput bioprocess development
  • Effective modelling of whole bioprocesses
  • Robust and effective analytics for bioprocessing
  • Bioprocessing research for cellular products


About BRIC

The Bioprocessing Research Industry Club (BRIC) was established in 2005 by BBSRC and EPSRC to focus on the delivery of investment into academic research in bioprocessing. Alongside BBSRC and EPSRC in BRIC are 17 industrial organisations:

  • Avacta Ltd
  • Avecia Biologics
  • Centre of Excellence for Life Sciences
  • Cobra Biomanufacturing
  • Eden Biopharm
  • Glycoform
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • HPA
  • Ipsen Limited
  • Lonza Biologics plc
  • MedImmune
  • Novozymes
  • Pall Life Sciences
  • Pfizer
  • Stem Cell Sciences UK Ltd
  • UCB Celltech

These organisations contribute to a joint research council-industry fund to support research projects. BRIC is managed by BBSRC, EPSRC and the HealthTech and Medicines Knowledge Transfer Network.


BBSRC is the UK funding agency for research in the life sciences. Sponsored by Government, BBSRC annually invests around £450M in a wide range of research that makes a significant contribution to the quality of life in the UK and beyond and supports a number of important industrial stakeholders, including the agriculture, food, chemical, healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors.

BBSRC provides institute strategic research grants to the following:

  • The Babraham Institute
  • Institute for Animal Health
  • Institute for Biological, Environmental and Rural Studies (Aberystwyth University)
  • Institute of Food Research
  • John Innes Centre
  • The Genome Analysis Centre
  • The Roslin Institute (University of Edinburgh)
  • Rothamsted Research

The Institutes conduct long-term, mission-oriented research using specialist facilities. They have strong interactions with industry, Government departments and other end-users of their research.


EPSRC is the main UK government agency for funding research and training in engineering and the physical sciences, investing more than £850M a year in a broad range of subjects - from mathematics to materials science, and from information technology to structural engineering.


Matt Goode, Head of External Relations

tel: 01793 413299

Tracey Jewitt, Media Officer

tel: 01793 414694
fax: 01793 413382