Collaboration has always made the world go round – and it’s no different in rare disease research. Sometimes, the community affected by a certain rare disease is small, which makes it harder to study. Developing therapeutics can also come with challenges, whether you’re developing from scratch or repurposing an already-existing drug. But through collaborative efforts, doctors, researchers, patients, and more can encourage the research process and help advance this field. According to an article from Labiotech, LifeArc has recently launched a collaborative £40M (approximately $49.8M) initiative to fund 4-5 Translational Rare Disease Centers throughout the United Kingdom.
Why Develop Transitional Rare Disease Centers?
This initiative would invite stakeholders from academia to apply. Academic institutions would join together to form these research centers. As the name of the Centers suggests, they would be focused on translation. This means figuring out how to take scientific discoveries and translating them in a way that confers benefits for patients. Translation, and translational research, explores what insights can be used for further therapeutic development. LifeArc explains the need for translational assistance in this realm, sharing:
Translating science is a long, expensive and unpredictable process. This means many exceptional ideas don’t make it to the patient – they don’t even make it out of the lab.
LifeArc helps academic institutions, young start-ups, and other similar groups bring their ideas out of the lab by offering translational advice, science, and funding. This most recent initiative only adds to their commitment to rare disease research; over the past 6 years, LifeArc has granted £14.6M (approx. $18.2M) in funding to support projects centered around 33 different rare diseases. The company has also committed to funding £1.3B in the rare disease science and development sphere by 2030 (so within the next 7 years).
Through this most recent initiative, some of the goals include:
- Working to develop treatment options for the 90% of patients with rare diseases who, as of now, have no approved treatments
- Helping policymakers and industry to understand what people with rare diseases want and need
- Creating a stronger community for patients and caregivers to engage with
- Understanding the underlying mechanisms of various rare conditions and using this knowledge to build stronger diagnostic, treatment, and prevention tools