LSTM to head £2.7m infectious diseases project

Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine teams up with medical research charity LifeArc in £2.7m push to tackle infectious diseases across the world. Tony McDonough reports

Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
From left, Dr Dave Powell, LifeArc, Prof Janet Hemingway, iiCON, and Prof David Lalloo, LSTM


Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) is entering a new partnership to tackle infectious diseases killing millions of people across the world.

Self-funded charitable medical research organisation, LifeArc, is partnering with LSTM and is investing £2.7m into a new transnational development fund. It aims to address the urgent need for new approaches to infectious diseases.

Numbers of people dying of infectious diseases each year is growing due to factors including climate change. This fund will support the progression of new technologies and treatments for emerging viral threats and neglected tropical diseases.

LifeArc will also join the LSTM-led Infection Innovation Consortium: iiCON, making its platform to progress antibody-based treatments available to partners.

This research fund is being set up in response to a growing need for new and innovative treatments and diagnostic technologies. They are needed to tackle growing threats to health across the globe, including neglected tropical diseases and emerging viral threats.

The COVID pandemic highlighted the impact new viruses can have on our society and this new fund will support the progression of potential interventions, including diagnostics, treatments and devices.

Money from the fund will be available to LSTM and iiCON partners and their collaborators, including research organisations in low- and middle- income countries (LMICs).

It will have a focus supporting interventions that are appropriately aligned with deployment and treatment of patients in LMICs.

As well as the fund investment, LifeArc will make its antibody humanisation platform available to iiCON and its collaborators, to support the development of new potential treatments.

Antibodies can trigger the immune system to help treat disease, and this platform enables promising antibodies from lab research to be modified, so that they can be used in people.

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LSTM director, Professor David Lalloo, said: “This fund will not only help us to tackle the true diseases of poverty that impact the lives of some of the world’s poorest communities, but also allow us to prepare for the emerging threats of the future.

“This partnership between LSTM, LifeArc and iiCON will provide a number of significant opportunities for businesses, researchers and clinicians working in the antibody humanisation space and beyond.

“Facilitating access to advanced capabilities and new collaborations in this way will be a real boost to getting new therapies to market by helping overcome development obstacles and unlocking the potential of new innovations.”

Dr Mike Strange, head of global health at LifeArc, added: ‘LifeArc is committed to investing more than £100m in global health, with a focus on infectious diseases, over the coming years. 

“Our work in antibodies has had real impact for patients in other areas and we are pleased that we will also be able offer this platform and expertise to iiCON partners. We look forward to seeing what we can achieve together over the coming years.”

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