A new initiative to revitalise drug discovery in psychiatric disease: the Psychiatry Consortium launches first call for proposals

Medicines Discovery Catapult

Today (3rd October 2019) the Psychiatry Consortium announces its first call for projects that focus on the identification of novel drug targets to address the unmet therapeutic needs of people with mental health conditions. Applicants can submit project proposals to the consortium from the 7th of October 2019.

The Psychiatry Consortium is a pioneering collaboration between leading medical Charities, Pharma and Healthcare companies focussed on the drug discovery challenge of identifying and validating novel drug targets.  The consortium aims to provide approximately £3 million in research funding over three years to support high-value drug discovery projects.

Despite the increasing need for better medicines to treat psychiatry conditions, funding for mental health research has remained flat over the 10-year period from 2008 – 2017. With recent scientific advances and a better understanding of the biology underlying psychiatric disorders, there is now a renewed opportunity to advance R&D in psychiatry.

In its first ‘challenge’ call, the Psychiatry Consortium encourages applicants from academic and other research organisations worldwide to apply for funding. Researchers will have seven weeks to submit their proposals. All entries must be submitted before the closing date on 22nd November 2019, 23:59 (GMT).

The Psychiatry Consortium is seeking innovative research projects that:

  • Focus on novel molecular targets for mental health conditions including psychotic disorders, bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, stress-related disorders, PTSD, OCD, autism spectrum disorders, as well as psychiatric symptoms associated with dementia and other cognitive disorders.
  • Generate evidence that links molecular targets to human disease and evidence of target modulation having a therapeutic effect.
  • Enable tools for target validation e.g. tool compounds, biomarkers, assays, and models.

The Psychiatry Consortium will provide successful applicants with access to drug discovery expertise and capabilities, specialised partner CROs, commercial know-how, project management resources, and project funding.

The Psychiatry Consortium will welcome proposals from early career researchers who may have had limited prior experience working with industry and will offer opportunities for substantive feedback and exchange of knowledge and skills through dedicated workshops and throughout the application review process.

Managed by Medicines Discovery Catapult, the Psychiatry Consortium includes the following member organisations: Alzheimer’s Research UK, Biogen, Boehringer Ingelheim, Johnson & Johnson Innovation Limited, H. Lundbeck A/S, MSD (trade name of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, NJ, USA), MQ: Transforming mental health, and Takeda. It is supported by Wellcome Trust.

Alessandra Gaeta, Syndicate Programme Director at Medicines Discovery Catapult, says:

“We are delighted to be issuing the first call for project proposals to address the challenge of identifying and validating new drug targets for psychiatric diseases. The ambition of the Psychiatry Consortium for the next three years is to revitalise drug discovery in psychiatry disease by strengthening academic-industry collaboration. This is a key milestone on the journey to achieving that and enabling the much-needed drug pipeline of the future.”

For further information, including Terms and Conditions, please visit the Psychiatry Consortium Website or contact Alessandra.Gaeta@md.catapult.org.uk.