£3.6m EU award for research


A Midlothian biotechnology firm has been awarded £3.6 million by a European Union fund to develop next-generation cancer therapies.

TC BioPharm (TCB), which is based at Pentlands Science Park, near Penicuik, aim to use patients’ own cells cell therapy to treat tumours such as malignant melanoma, kidney and lung cancer.

The company hopes the therapy will be used in the first cancer patients in 2019.

The project was one of only 57 selected out of more than 1500 applications for the EU’s Horizon 2020 (H2020) programme.

TCB said the award was the largest EU grant of its kind for the development of a healthcare therapeutic product.

The cash would allow it to develop a next-generation “allogeneic” approach, which means treatments can be made using existing cells from donors, stored in a bio-bank.

The company is already working with clinical centres of excellence to treat cancer patients in various cities including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Oxford, Southampton, London and Cardiff.

TCB has raised more than £22.4 million in funding since starting operations in February 2014.

It has more than 50 staff and also has premises in Glasgow and London.

Angela Scott, chief operating officer, said: “We are thrilled that H2020 funding has been awarded, allowing us to treat large numbers of cancer patients.”