£40 million fund to drive therapeutic innovation

£40 million fund to drive therapeutic innovation

AZ-SoR-IntroApollo Therapeutics Fund aims to improve the speed and potential of university research being translated into novel medicines.

AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline and Johnson & Johnson have partnered with the technology transfer offices (TTO) of Imperial College London, the University of Cambridge and UCL to create the Apollo Therapeutics Fund. This pioneering consortium aims to convert outstanding academic science from the three universities into innovative medicines for a broad range of diseases. All therapy areas and modalities, including small molecules, peptides, proteins, antibodies, cell and gene therapies will be considered.

Apollo aims to advance academic preclinical research to the point where it can either be added to the portfolio of one of the industry partners, following an internal bidding process, or be out-licensed to another party.

This is the first time that three global pharmaceutical companies and the TTOs of three world-class universities have come together to form a joint enterprise of this nature.

Dr. Ian Tomlinson, Chairman of the Apollo Therapeutics Investment Committee said:

Apollo Therapeutics Fund key facts:
  • Each industry member will contribute £10 million over 6 years.
  • The Tech Transfer Office for each university (Imperial Innovations plc, Cambridge Enterprise and UCL Business) will each contribute a further £3.3 million.
  • A dedicated Drug Discovery Team (DDT), led by Apollo’s CEO, will review potential projects and make recommendations to the Investment Committee for projects to be considered for funding.
  • The Apollo Therapeutics Investment Committee, comprising representatives from the six partners, will make investment decisions in consultation with a Scientific Advisory Board.
  • Once funded, the DDT will be responsible for overseeing projects. This team will be drawn from industry, be independent of the universities and pharmaceutical partners, and run projects to established industry standards.

“Apollo provides an additional source of early stage funding that will allow more therapeutics projects within the three universities to realise their full potential. The active participation of the industry partners will also mean that projects will be shaped at an early stage to optimise their suitability for further development.”

Drug development is extremely complex, costly and lengthy; currently only around 10 per cent of therapies entering clinical trials reach patients as medicines. By combining funding for promising early-stage therapeutics from leading UK universities with a breadth of industry expertise, Apollo aims to share the risk and accelerate the development of important new treatments, while also reducing the cost.

“The Apollo Therapeutics Fund brings together the complementary skills of academia and business. This partnership is a highly innovative approach to sharing both the risks and the rewards of applied research. I am confident that by working with scientists from world leading universities in the UK, we will help convert ground breaking science into important new treatments for patients,” said Mene Pangalos, Executive Vice President of the Innovative Medicines and Early Development biotech unit at AstraZeneca.


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