REVOLVING FUNDING FOR EARLY-STAGE PATIENT-FOCUSED MEDICINE DISCOVERY STARTUPS

Working on an R&D project for infections in cystic fibrosis, hearing loss and tinnitus, or psychiatric disorders? We’re eager to support your growth!

VISIT THE WE SHARE x MDC FUNDING PROGRAMME WEBSITE

ABOUT THIS PROJECT

For too long, accessing catalytic funding has been a challenge for medicines discovery startups focused on areas of clinical unmet needs.

To combat this, we’re bringing together We Share’s innovative impact-driven revolving funding model with Medicines Discovery Catapult (MDC) Syndicate’s programme, enabling promising startups in the medicine discovery space access to long-term capital in the early phases of their growth.

Are you ready to scale your impact solution? 

WHAT WE’RE LOOKING FOR 

Projects must:

 

  • Be focused on early-stage drug discovery (preclinical) with a maximum budget of €300,000. We
    Share is happy to explore co-funding projects with other philanthropic funders;
  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate that funding for the total cost of the project has been
    secured;
  • Have a maximum duration of 2 years from the date the grant is awarded;
  • Clearly define the patient need that will be addressed and the impact they expect to achieve;
  • Ideally have a lead asset, with proof-of-concept in animal models and/or disease linkage, solid IP
    protection and comprehensive data packages, enabling the best chance of success to translate to
    the clinic;
  • Be focused on advancing the preclinical development (prior to phase 1) of novel therapeutics that
    have the potential to transform health outcomes for people with Cystic Fibrosis (CF), hearing
    disorders or psychiatric disorders

FOCUS AREAS

MDC Syndicates are patient-focused partnerships that connect patient insights with industry know-how to progress promising ideas, positioning them for further development and investment. The Syndicate portfolio includes the CF AMR Syndicate, the Hearing Medicines Discovery Syndicate and the Psychiatry Consortium. We are looking for project proposals that will advance the development of small molecule, biologic, gene or cell-based therapeutics for the treatment of:

CYSTIC FIBROSIS INFECTIONS

HEARING LOSS & TINNITUS

PSYCHIATRIC DISORDERS

We’re looking for :

  • early-stage medicines discovery startups across Europe that are hoping to create patient impact in any of our three focus areas
  • projects at the preclinical stage that need funding to catalyse your R&D and get your company to the next stage in its lifecycle
  • founders that want to be part of We Share’s pay-it-forward community, and pay forward their success to support future entrepreneurs

For more information, read our Grant Terms & Conditions, Application Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy

Cystic Fibrosis Infections
 

CF is a life-limiting disease affecting over 70,000 people globally. People with CF experience a build-up of thick sticky mucus in their lungs and other organs, which leads to the development of frequent and persistent infections. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is frequently seen in people with CF, who die from antibiotic failures. The discovery and development of new antimicrobials to treat infections associated with CF is, therefore, an urgent unmet need. The economic cost of infections in CF is $7.5 billion globally per year.

Luke’s Story:

Luke, 49, is often asked what is it like having CF? He describes it as “spending every day of your life with a heavy head and chest cold, being constantly tired and as if someone is holding a damp flannel over your mouth and nose the entire time.” 

Some people with CF spend huge swathes of their days (and sometimes nights too) following strict drug regimens and treatment patterns that prevent them from following a ‘normal’ life; unable to continue with their education, preventing them from following their desired career paths or preventing them live a rewarding and ultimately fulfilling life. The hope for every CF patient is that as treatments improve and new medications are developed, an element of stability can be brought into their lives.”

Hearing Loss and Tinnitus
 

Hearing loss and tinnitus have a big societal impact – One in six people in Europe have some form of hearing loss. Unaddressed hearing loss impedes communication, leads to social isolation, has negative impacts on employment prospects, mental health and wellbeing and is also a major risk factor for other conditions such as dementia. Tinnitus is another related condition that is often, although not always associated with the development of hearing loss and is estimated to affect 10% of adults. Tinnitus can lead to further social isolation, increased stress, anxiety and, in extreme cases, suicide. The economic cost of hearing loss is estimated to be over US $980 billion globally per year.

Now is the time to invest in medicines for hearing. Many scientific advances, for example in stem cell research, in the discovery of genes linked to hearing loss and in gene therapy, are being made and this coupled with increasing interest from the pharmaceutical sector means that with investment, it is possible that we could see the first treatments to prevent or restore hearing loss or silence tinnitus for some people with some conditions within the next 5-10 years.

Hugh’s Story:

Hugh has a form of hereditary deafness that is progressive over time and affects both ears. 

“If you aren’t deaf it’s hard to understand how much of communication is non-verbal. I also suffer from tinnitus, it’s a constant noise and in order to communicate I have to concentrate so hard that social interactions are exhausting for me.”

“I could have a cochlear implant in my left ear but I’m reluctant to do that until I absolutely have to because new medicines round the corner might just be able to regain enough hearing for me to be able to use a hearing aid again – that would be a major benefit for me”.

 

Psychiatric Disorders
 

The scale and impact of mental illness across society is huge. One in ten children and one in four adults (approx. 15 million people) experience mental illness each year, affecting their wellbeing, relationships, and potential ability to work. The economic and social cost has been estimated as £105bn a year in England alone. 

 

There have been no new effective types of treatment for psychiatric disorders for over 30 years and current treatments are ineffective with detrimental side effects, and finding the right treatment is typically a process of trial and error. New treatments are needed urgently.

 

Deepanshi’s Story

Deepanshi has been living with OCD, anxiety and ADHD for 11 years. She is an MQ Ambassador, and has created an online voluntary support group ‘Rain on Me’, to give people space to be heard.

My panic attacks started around the age of 14. Even the slightest bit of tension triggered me. I would scream and cry uncontrollably if my parents tried to comfort me. And by 15, I was sleeping with loud music every night. That was the only way I knew how to fall asleep. I was terrified of the silence.’

‘It took me a decade to open up to someone about what I was going through, and I felt completely unheard. I was put in a box. If there was more mental health research, the psychiatrist might’ve been able to put me on a spectrum, not a box.’

Want to read Deepanshi’s story? Dive deeper here.

HOW YOU BENEFIT

STARTUPS

  • Access non-dilutive funding for early-stage patient-focused drug discovery
  • Access patient and disease insights to support your project from MDC and its Syndicate programme
  • Help us test an innovative funding model and tap into a new kind of philanthropic funding for medicines discovery
  • Join the We Share community and pay your success forward to help future medicines discovery startups

FUNDING PARTNERS

  • Bring more value to your philanthropic giving and fund solutions for unmet patient needs
  • Revolve your grants and donations for health and contribute to SDG3 in a clear and financially sustainable way
  • Help us test an innovative funding model and tap into a new kind of philanthropic funding for medicines discovery
  • Be part of the development of a pioneering approach to fund medicine R&D

HOW IT WORKS

“Despite its many successes, the traditional model of utilizing venture capital to fund projects into medicines discovery cannot cater for every area of research, especially in the early stages of their development. Some areas require a different model to provide them with the funding they need to produce ground-breaking research that can ultimately add great societal and economic benefits”.

Edward de Jager, Founder – We Share Forward

“Impact investment is an ideal source of funding for medicines discovery. It is long-term, people-centered, scalable and accessible to all. This fits and fuels the patient-centered R&D engine that the Syndicates have pioneered, and is an exciting innovation in drug discovery. The MDC-We Share approach allows medicine discovery start-ups to devote their energies to doing what they do best: R&D”.

Professor Chris Molloy, CEO – Medicines Discovery Catapult

SDG FOCUS

QUESTIONS & QUERIES? CONTACT US

JESSICA LEE

Head of Patient-Focused Partnerships
Medicines Discovery Catapult

ELENI THEODOROU

Investor Relations & Strategy
We Share Forward