Funding will be targeted at antimicrobials, oncology and other unmet needs

The charity LifeArc – formerly a branch of the Medical Research Council known as MRC Technology – has pledged to invest £500 million over the next five years to support key areas of biomedical research including antimicrobials, neuroscience, personalised oncology and respiratory medicine.

As part of this, LifeArc has already committed £30 million over the next four years to provide research grants through two funds. The philanthropic fund will provide grants to support research that is funded by other medical research organisations, and the seed fund will focus on early stage therapeutics. Both funds will be launched in January 2018 and made available to researchers worldwide. LifeArc will also invest £10 million to create a new centre of excellence for diagnostic development at its base in Edinburgh, UK.

The £500 million target is based on financial forecasts to the year 2022 which take into account the £115 million of revenue LifeArc received in 2016 from monetising the cancer immunotherapy drug Keytruda (pembrolizumab).