[Pound]4m to Help Sow the Seeds of Success in Medical Research [Pound]4m to Help Sow the Seeds of Success in Medical Research

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Byline: MALCOLM WITHERS

LONDON-based bioscience boffins will have a new source of funding from today with the launch of a [pound]4 million investment fund that is designed to provide applicants with up to [pound]250,000 in research cash.

The Bloomsbury Bioseed Fund (BBSF) is supported by the Government's innovative University Challenge Fund Scheme, under the stewardship of Trade and Industry Secretary Stephen Byers.

BBSF has received [pound]3 million from the fund, which has allocated [pound]45 million to 15 universities and is designed to provide early-stage finance to help scientists exploit the commercial potential of their discoveries.

Six of the world's leading centres of biomedical research are also contributing cash and expertise to the project. They include University College London, the Cancer Research Campaign, Imperial Cancer Research Fund, Institute of Cancer Research, the School of Pharmacy and the Royal Veterinary College. Currently, most bioscience research involves finding a treatment for the various forms of cancer.

Britain has established a worldwide reputation in this field, with London setting the pace for the rest of the country thanks to the research conducted in its universities, institutes and medical schools.

Scores of such research teams could benefit from the sponsorship and cash offered by the BBSF.

It has already invested [pound]200,000 in a new company, Xcellsyz, whose chief executive, Dr Peter Shepherd, said that had enabled him to develop "new tools to find novel drugs against diabetes and other metabolic diseases". …