Public funding sources in the EU and Australia are establishing programs to assist biotechnology projects that are trying to negotiate the so-called “valley of death”—the funding gap that lies between academic grants and industrial licensing or venture capital backing. The European Investment Fund entered into a €8 million ($10.6 million) partnership with Belgium’s University of Leuven for a drug design and discovery center. The division of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) responsible for technology transfer has a fund for screening hits to EMBL targets and supporting their preclinical development. The Medical Research Council in the UK spends £4 million ($7.7 million) yearly to fund its drug discovery group. In January, the Wellcome Trust announced a £91 million ($175.6 million) Seeding Drug Discovery program, which will assist 30 projects in the UK between 2007 and 2012. Australia’s Cooperative Research Center for Cancer Therapeutics (CRC-CT) was formed in January; it brings together eight Australian cancer research institutes and two services companies with Cancer Research Technology (CRT), the technology transfer division of Cancer Research UK. CRT will contribute 76 million AUD ($59.4 million) over the next seven years to CRC-CT. Source: Nature Biotechnology

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