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POSTED ON: 26 January 2022
Graphic with scientists and text "BIG South London Innovation Support Fund  #BIGSouthLondon"

A new package of support for businesses working in the life sciences hosted by The London Cancer Hub is set to launch, funded by The Institute of Cancer Research, London.

The Life Sciences Innovation Support Programme will offer training, mentoring and advice to companies, supporting them in becoming more innovative.

The programme will be delivered through a new partnership between The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) – one of the lead partners in The London Cancer Hub – and a five-council initiative called BIG South London. Members include the London Borough of Sutton, the other lead partner in The London Cancer Hub.

Innovation health check

Companies will receive an innovation health check from business experts and one-on-one mentoring support. They will also be able to attend innovation and growth workshops on topics from business strategy to raising finance.

The programme will offer advice on issues from working with academic partners like scientists at the ICR, to accessing funding, launching products and protecting intellectual property effectively.

It will launch with a free online taster event on Tuesday 8 February. Companies can learn more about the programme here, or register for the programme here.

The scheme is open to life-science and healthcare-related businesses and organisations. Preference will be given to applications from companies working in areas relevant to cancer and those based in Sutton and other London Boroughs, although the scheme is open to companies from anywhere in the UK.

Programme delivery

South Bank Innovation – part of London South Bank University – will deliver the programme with the support of BIG South London.

BIG South London is a partnership between higher education institutions and local Borough Councils across Sutton, Croydon, Kingston upon Thames, Merton and Richmond upon Thames.

Further support in the delivery of the scheme will come from Kingston University, St Mary’s University, and the Chambers of Commerce for Merton, Kingston, Richmond and South East London.

Cancer research

The ICR is one of the world’s leading academic institutions in industry collaboration. It has current partnership agreements with more than 100 companies, from small biotech and medtech firms to major pharmaceutical companies.

The London Cancer Hub – a partnership led by the ICR and the London Borough of Sutton – is set to further enhance the ICR’s work in collaboration with industry, including in the discovery and development of new cancer treatments.

A new incubator space called the Innovation Gateway is currently recruiting companies to work on site at The London Cancer Hub, offering opportunities to collaborate directly with ICR scientists including at the adjacent state-of-the-art Centre for Cancer Drug Discovery.

Andy Carr, Business Development Manager at the ICR, said:

“We’re delighted to launch this new scheme of business support hosted by The London Cancer Hub, which will offer companies working in the life sciences and related fields support to develop their ideas – and potentially to collaborate directly with our scientists in the development of new treatments and technologies in oncology. The programme is one of a range of new opportunities to work with us over the coming year as we further develop our culture of engagement and collaboration with industry, including by launching a new hub for companies at the Innovation Gateway.”

Councillor Ruth Dombey, Leader of Sutton Council, said:

“This business support programme is a fantastic opportunity for local organisations to boost their growth, whether they are a small start up, established business or charity looking to take the next step. By working with local universities, The London Cancer Hub, The Institute for Cancer Research and BIG South London, we can arm companies with the tools, knowledge and networks that will help their ideas take root. Wider collaboration with partners like these can lead to acceleration of drug discovery and progress against cancer."

Euan Kerr, Project Manager for the BIG South London Innovation Support Programme, said:

“We’re looking forward to working with the ICR at The London Cancer Hub to help businesses working in life sciences. The future of health relies on preventative measures, better insights, better technology and better accessibility. Empowering small businesses to innovate will help bring about this change. Programmes like the Life Sciences Innovation Support Programme are widening access to innovation by removing the barriers to R&D, which will ultimately have a positive effect on health and wellbeing. We can’t wait to get started.”

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