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BBSRC Follow-on-Funding moves Warwick research projects towards commercialisation

BBSRC LogoTwo projects that Warwick Ventures Business Development Managers are working to commercialise have received translational grants to pursue practical applications for the research.

The projects, both based in the University of Warwick’s School of Life Sciences, have been awarded Follow-on-Funding by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)

A multi-disciplinary group lead by Professor Andrew Easton, working in the School’s Pneumovirus Research Laboratory, has received £198,000 to investigate a compound for reducing bovine RSV, a virus which is a major cause of respiratory disease in cattle.

The funding will be used by Professor Easton’s team to produce pre-clinical data showing how far compounds identified by Dr Andrew Marsh of the Department of Chemistry can reduce the amounts of virus in blood by interfering with a key host protein which is used by the virus in its reproduction cycle. This data will highlight which compound leads have the greatest effects leading to their further development as therapeutics for both the bovine and human versions of the disease.

A second project, also in the School of Life Sciences, has been awarded £196,000, to pursue research into Deformed Wing Virus, a major viral pathogen of bees which is believed to be responsible for the devastating colony collapse disorder among bees.

The researchers, led by Professor David Evans, have isolated a strain of the virus, spread by a parasite called the varroa mite, which has been shown to be present in 100% of all bees with symptomatic DWV and as such is a promising target for the development of therapeutics. The Follow-on Funding grant will be used to further investigate the target and to develop therapeutics which can be used in early field trials.

Andrew Lee, Business Development Manager at Warwick Ventures, says: “These two projects have enormous potential in terms of economic and societal impact. The BBSRC grants will go a long way towards enabling the researchers and Warwick Ventures to achieve those impacts.”

Warwick Ventures has already seen commercial interest in both technologies which they plan to out-licence at the conclusion of these “Follow-on” projects.