£18.6m of funding awarded to LSTM-led consortium

A consortium led by the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) has received £18.6m of funding from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Strength in Places Fund (SIPF). The funding is for the organisations to deliver an innovative project, delivering integrated therapeutic solutions for human infections over the next five years. 

What does the project entail?

The project will act as a catalyst for economic and regional productivity by creating eight specialist, commercially sustainable research platforms for infectious diseases therapeutics in North West England. These research platforms will go on to transform the efficiency of new product discovery, development, evaluation and impact assessment. 

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “The need to develop new treatments for infectious diseases has never been clearer, so this funding is fantastic news. This new approach to public R&D investment aims to boost local economic growth by building on world-class research and innovation capacity. This grant recognises the region’s existing strengths in this area and has already generated guarantees of around £90m for pilot projects eager to use the new platforms. There is great potential for high-quality jobs and economic value for Liverpool City Region and beyond.”

Learn more about the Strength in Places Fund by watching the clip below:

Who will be involved?

LSTM will be joined by the following core partners to deliver the project:

The project lead, LSTM’s Professor Janet Hemingway, had this to say: “LSTM devised this programme together with our industrial, NHS and academic partners aiming to be the first choice globally for infection research and development initiatives. This grant secures the international reputation of the region in infection innovation and will attract substantive follow-on international investment.”

Unilever’s Chief Research & Development Officer, Richard Slater, said: “This year has highlighted the importance of working together to prevent infectious diseases in a way that many of us couldn’t previously imagine. We are delighted at the support awarded to our collaborative effort to develop new products that can directly reduce the burden of infectious diseases in the UK and around the world.”

Why was this consortium selected?

With the Liverpool City Region, Cheshire and Warrington having the largest concentration of infectious diseases research in the UK, it’s no surprise that this consortium of organisations was chosen for the SIPF funding. The region has shown an impressive, meticulous response to the COVID-19 outbreak, working on active research programmes in vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics. 

LTSM in particular, with industry funding, is carrying out two trials – one focusing on immunology in bloods, nasal mucosa and bacterial colonisation associated with clinical outcomes and one which takes samples from healthcare workers and COVID-19 patients to assess changes in biomarkers during exposure to/development of infection. They are also coordinating the Liverpool node of the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine human trial stage.

LSTM Director, Professor David Lalloo, said: “Throughout its history, LSTM has always been at the forefront in innovative approaches in finding solutions for human infections. The current global COVID-19 outbreak shows again how essential and relevant our global expertise in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of these diseases is.”

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