Medical Research Council and MS Society Launch Joint "Call for Targets"

Published: Mar 05, 2013

London, UK, 5 March 2013: MRC Technology, a technology transfer organisation with its own drug discovery laboratories, and the MS Society, a charity providing support and research funding for people affected by MS, today announced a joint ‘call for targets’ in order to fast-track the discovery and development of novel drugs to slow, stop or reverse progression in MS or treat MS symptoms. The call to academic researchers seeks to fund further validation of small molecule and antibody targets prior to initiating a full scale drug discovery project to produce ‘drug-like’ molecules or therapeutic antibodies that have the potential to become therapies.

The joint action will capitalise on synergies between MRC Technology’s expertise in translating novel, promising biology into lead stage therapeutics, and the management of associated intellectual property, with the experience the MS Society has in supporting academic research into MS for better understanding of the condition and development of new treatments.

The MS Society will provide early translational funds for selected projects, with expected awards of up to £150,000 over two years. Upon completion, projects will be evaluated for progression into small molecule or therapeutic antibody projects by MRC Technology. Interested researchers are asked to visit

Mike Johnson, Director of Corporate Partnerships at MRC Technology, said “This new partnership with the MS Society builds on our already strong working relationship. By accessing MS targets discovered by MS researchers, we hope to begin the journey towards new treatments for this condition”.

Dr Susan Kohlhaas, Head of Biomedical Research at the MS Society said: “With an estimated 100,000 people living with MS in the UK it is essential that we drive forward research aimed at improving the lives of people with the condition. We’re delighted to be working with MRC Technology and capitalising on their expertise in identifying targets that have the potential to become new therapies.”

Supporting technology transfer and PI management efforts, MRC Technology set up its drug discovery laboratories in order to bridge the gap between innovative, early stage academic research and the development of intellectual property suitable for licensing to industry for further development and commercialisation. De-risking novel targets by providing proof of concept and pharma-quality data packages fulfills a clear need in the drug discovery process. The collaboration opens the MRC Technology laboratories up to a new source of targets from the MS research field.

Press contact information:

Medical Research Council Technology (MRCT):

Suzy Hargreaves

Marketing & Communications Officer


Phone: +44 (0)20 7391 2798

Zyme Communications

Sarah Jeffery


Phone: +44 (0) 7771 730919

About MRC Technology

MRC Technology ( is a technology transfer organisation responsible for adding commercial value to cutting edge scientific discoveries through strategic patent protection, creative licensing of intellectual property (IP), partnered research or further scientific development.

As well as offering technology transfer services to the UK’s Medical Research Council the Company has recently broadened its activity to include helping other charitable and academic organisations (such as AICR) with IP management and commercial development of healthcare-related science, thus bringing valuable income back to the organisations to help fund further research.

MRC Technology also has small molecule drug discovery and therapeutic antibody facilities, providing lead-stage therapeutic assets to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

About MS Society

• The MS Society ( is the UK’s largest charity dedicated to supporting everyone whose life is touched by multiple sclerosis (MS), providing an award-winning freephone helpline (0808 800 8000), specialist MS nurses and funding around 70 vital MS research projects in the UK.

• MS is the most common disabling neurological condition affecting young adults and an estimated 100,000 people in the UK have MS.

• MS is the result of damage to myelin – the protective sheath surrounding nerve fibres of the central nervous system – which interferes with messages between the brain and the body.

• For some people, MS is characterised by periods of relapse and remission while for others it has a progressive pattern.

• Symptoms range from loss of sight and mobility, fatigue, depression and cognitive problems. There is no cure and few effective treatments.

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