Apply for funding for early stage research and innovation to address current limitations to the manufacture of nucleic acid therapeutics (NAT).
This 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. Solid-phase chemical synthesis of oligonucleotides is out of scope.
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 brand-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.
Shortlisted applicants will be required to attend a workshop prior to the submission of their full application.
Up to £6 million of UKRI funding will be available over five years to eligible academic organisations and small and medium enterprises. Leveraged funding and expertise from industry partners is welcomed to increase impact and reach.