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Industrial Seed Corn Funding to develop a ‘Translational Roadmap’ with the Medicines Discovery Catapult

‌ Industrial Seed corn application form.

 The aim of this award is to accelerate the translation of promising medicines discovery research underway at the University of Exeter.

This call is being proposed for working jointly with the Medicines Discovery Catapult (MDC), an orgranisation dedicated to accelerating drug discovery in the UK, as part of a new strategic partnership between the two institutions.

Any UoE researchers and/or UoE associated spin-out companies with projects related to drug discovery are encouraged to apply.

In this Call, it is envisaged that two projects will be funded to develop a “Translational Roadmap” with the MDC Virtual R&D team.   The MDC’s VR&D team has substantial drug discovery expertise, and its members have held external innovation roles in large pharmaceutical organisations.

In brief, a translational roadmap could broadly consist of (but is not limited to) the following elements:

-           Application of industrial rigour to review all data associated with the project

-           Planning of the most efficient/effective line of site to clinic, plausibly with costs & routes to delivery

-           Understanding of regulatory considerations

-           Understanding of the market and therapeutics currently in development

-           Understanding the suitability of the therapeutic to the patient population in question


The configuration of the Roadmap may change based upon the project in question, but essentially answers the following questions: i) Should we develop this molecule/target? ii) What scientific and technical questions do we need to address to build confidence in the data or effect? iii) How/where do we develop the therapeutic onwards?

This builds confidence for onward grant submissions and investor raises, for which the MDC would be happy to discuss previous successes with academic partners and onwards strategies on an individual basis.

Further, as a potential alternative to a Roadmap, the panel may also consider funding projects with exceptional translational promise that need to access the MDC’s experimental expertise to achieve a critical translational goal. Such awards would only be considered after detailed discussions between the academic and the MDC, to judge whether the proposed experimental data gathering would benefit the commercial/translational pathway sufficiently to justify funding via this Call. 

Applicants interested in this Call must contact us via to discuss the scheme in advance of an application.  Applications that have not been discussed in advance will not be considered. Successful applicants will be required to attend an incubator meeting with members of the MDC team and IIB, which may be in person or via video conferencing. Alongside lead researchers, we also encourage ECRs/postdocs/PhD students who are leading translational projects in their labs to apply jointly with their PI.  Projects will run for between 3 to 6 months in duration.

Please note that discussions with the MDC are protected by a blanket confidentiality agreement (applicable to members of the CLES, CEMPS and CMH Colleges), allowing a full discussion of findings.

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis till such time as the awards have been made. Please return the completed application form to Yujin Du at the Translational Research Exchange@Exeter (