Advanced Therapies, defined as gene and cell based treatments, are a fast growing area of research and innovation in life sciences, with the potential to provide a step-change in the treatment of many diseases.

London Advanced Therapies has launched a second call of the Collaborate to Innovate fund, which offers a focused and intensive end-to-end solution for SMEs working in advanced therapies with specific R&D needs.

Funded by the Research England Connecting Capabilities Fund and match-funded by European Regional Development Fund (ERDF),  the scheme helps define those needs, then matches them to expertise in Higher Education Institutes and delivers research collaborations with the aim of leading to innovative advanced therapies products.

Each of the participating SMEs in the scheme will receive support to help them tap into academic expertise and key capabilities from the university delivery partners up to a value of £150,000 which is paid for by the programme. Collaborate to Innovate round 2 is managed centrally by MedCity and delivered through the following academic delivery partners of London Advanced Therapies:

  • King’s College London
  • University College London
  • Imperial College London.

Target SMEs include advanced therapies biotech companies working in the area of gene or cell therapy products, gene engineering, regenerative medicine and vector manufacturing.


Key Points

SMEs should have a challenge/problem that could potentially be addressed by a collaboration with an academic partner. Collaborate to Innovate matches the SMEs to academic research groups with complementary expertise. SMEs may also nominate academic partners they wish to work with. However, the programme emphasises new collaborations. Projects:

  • Are SME-driven
  • Receive up to £150,000 support available in eligible costs
  • Are typically 12 months in duration

All funds will be awarded to the academic partner to work with the SME.

Application Process and timelines:

Stage 1:

Initial Expression of SME Interest form submission to determine their eligibility, type of academic expertise that they want to engage and whether matchmaking with academic partners is needed. A hard copy of the form is available to work on drafts but all final submissions must be done online.

Invitation to stage 2 and matchmaking

Stage 2:

Shortlisted SMEs and matched academic partners are invited to submit an online collaborative research project proposal

Stage 2 Review Panel and Outcome Letters


Stage 1 opened: 9 August 2019

Stage 1 closed: 23 September 2019

Matchmaking closed and stage 2 opened: 14 October 2019

Stage 2 closed and final deadline for project submissions: 7 November 2019

Collaborative Research project due to finish: December 2020

Important Notes

Interested SMEs with a proposed academic collaboration in mind are advised to submit their Stage 1 application as soon as possible. If they are shortlisted, applicants will then be sent a Stage 2 application which will allow sufficient time for completion.

SMEs who are interested in the scheme and need to be matched with an academic research group are also advised to submit their Stage 1 application as soon as possible to allow sufficient time for matchmaking and the formation of collaborative teams.

The scheme emphasises new collaborations. Applications will be scored based on innovation impact and the value added by the proposed academic/industrial collaboration. Both parties of the collaborative team need to demonstrate how their individual expertise complements each other and adds value to overcoming the innovation challenge that will be addressed by the project.