Southampton cancer research UK centre glass bottles

Cancer Research UK, the world’s largest independent funder of cancer research, today announced a strategic partnership with SV Health Investors (SV), a leading life sciences venture capital and growth equity firm, focused on accelerating the translation of Cancer Research UK’s research and the development of new cancer medicines for patients. In conjunction with the collaboration, Cancer Research UK is investing at least US$25 million alongside SV.

“The strength of our science portfolio is unrivalled but only through working in collaboration can we achieve the greatest impact. This collaboration is a huge opportunity to accelerate our research and support the successful development of the much-needed treatments for people with cancer.” Michelle Mitchell, Cancer Research UK

Cancer Research UK invests more than £400 million every year in cancer research, including through its UK network of 18 core-funded research centres, to accelerate the transition of lab-based discovery research into the clinic for the benefit of people affected by cancer. A key focus for Cancer Research UK is turning the charity’s promising science into successful cancer therapeutics, vaccines, diagnostics and enabling technologies. More than 30 partnered potential medicines are in pre-clinical and clinical development, and eight treatments are already available on the market and benefiting patients.

SV has been investing in biotech companies since the early 1990s and brings a proven track record of identifying early-stage cancer research opportunities and supporting their development into novel medicines. In 1998, SV worked closely with Cancer Research UK to establish Kudos Pharmaceuticals – inventor of olaparib, the first-in-class approved DNA damage response (DDR) inhibitor for cancer patients with BRCA mutations. In 2016, SV founded Artios, focused on developing next generation DDR inhibitors, also based on Cancer Research UK assets and sector expertise. In 2017, SV’s sixth diversified healthcare fund raised US$400 million, of which 45% was focussed on early stage Biotech investments, of which 66% were allocated to cancer-related research opportunities. SV7 will be solely focussed on Biotech investments.

Accelerating Cancer Research UK’s innovation through this collaboration will complement the charity’s existing paths to commercialisation, which include research alliances with other scientific institutions, building spin-outs and licensing agreements with pharmaceutical companies. Cancer Research UK will collaborate closely with SV to identify promising, novel research from within the charity’s network that could be rapidly developed and scaled by securing external investment.

Michelle Mitchell, Cancer Research UK’s chief executive, said: “The strength of our science portfolio is unrivalled but only through working in collaboration can we achieve the greatest impact. This collaboration is a huge opportunity to accelerate our research and support the successful development of the much-needed treatments for people with cancer.”

Iain Foulkes, Cancer Research UK’s executive director, research & innovation and CEO of Cancer Research Technology, said: “We need to encourage more entrepreneurialism if we want to get more medicines to patients to beat cancer. This was recognised in the UK Life Sciences Strategy and this new collaboration with SV will be a huge boost to advancing cancer research here in the UK. The UK has some of the very best research in the world and working together with a world leading venture group such as SV will accelerate progress and generate new biotech to be established here.”

Kate Bingham, SV Health Investors’ Managing Partner, said: “Cancer Research UK is, undoubtedly, a world-leader in this field with the brightest scientists exploring the latest technologies and innovations. Working in close collaboration gives us an opportunity to identify promising research within Cancer Research UK’s labs and give that science the investment, resources and expertise it needs to progress.”


About Cancer Research UK’s Commercial Partnerships Team

Our specialist Commercial Partnerships Team works with leading international cancer scientists and their institutes to protect intellectual property arising from their research and to establish links with commercial partners. The team develop promising ideas into successful cancer therapeutics, software, devices, diagnostics and enabling technologies. This helps to accelerate progress in exciting new discoveries in cancer research and bring new treatments to patients sooner.


About SV Health Investors

SV Health Investors, formerly named SV Life Sciences, is a healthcare and life sciences venture capital and growth equity firm. SV targets early-stage opportunities in biotechnology, of which approximately 2/3 are in new companies created in-house; early-stage and revenue-stage opportunities in medical devices; and growth equity investments for later-stage businesses in healthcare services and digital health. Over the past 25 years, SV has invested in more than 175 companies. The firm currently has over $2.9 billion in capital commitments raised across seven private venture capital funds and one publicly listed fund.

SV Health manages the Dementia Discovery Fund, a specialist venture capital fund focused entirely on funding the discovery and development of novel, disease-modifying therapies for dementia patients, including those with Alzheimer’s disease. Established in 2015, the fund has raised £250 million from an influential group of strategic and financial investors committed to developing urgently needed new treatments that can alter the course of disease and help to combat the growing global health crisis from dementia.

SV Health Investors has offices in Boston and London. For more information, please visit




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