Funding to establish a research consortium for early stage research and innovation addressing challenges in the manufacture of nucleic acid therapeutics (NAT).
This call from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the Medical Research Council (MRC), Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and Innovate UK will set up a research consortium for early stage research and innovation addressing challenges in the manufacture of nucleic acid therapeutics (NAT).
The funding opportunity is part of the wider £30 million NATA programme, funded by the Strategic Priorities Fund to support multidisciplinary approaches to the development of new genetic medicines.
Manufacture of NATs is currently complex, expensive and resource intensive, limiting large-scale production of these medicines. Despite improvements in product separation and reductions in stereoisomer by-products during chemical synthesis, purity remains a challenge.
New developments in solution-phase synthesis offer exciting opportunities to scale up, improve efficiency and reduce organic solvent use. Improved platforms for conjugation of targeting ligands hold promise for precision delivery and improvements in analytical characterisation remain crucial to regulatory confidence. This opportunity will provide funding for a consortium to tackle these limitations.
While the main focus of this opportunity will be to innovate NAT manufacture with regards to chemical synthesis and modification, enzymatic methodologies will also be considered. Proposals should demonstrate a step-change in approach, with consortium outputs having downstream translatability and industrial utility.
Applicants are encouraged to explore opportunities to collaborate with NATA Hub, a new UK research centre offering end-to-end platform technology across the pre-clinical pathway, from oligo design, synthesis and characterisation, through to targeted delivery, in vitro screening and in vivo assessment.
Academic and industry investigators will have the opportunity to share their expertise, research interests and collaboration needs online, offering the opportunity to connect prospective applicants from across the community when forming a consortium. Further information may be found on the funding section of the NATA website.