Funding competition Investment opportunity: Precision Medicine Accelerator

UK investors can apply to partner with Innovate UK to combine grant funding with investment in UK companies developing solutions for precision medicine.

This competition is now closed.

Register and apply online

Competition sections


Innovate UK is inviting UK-based investors to partner with us. Together we will provide simultaneous grant and investment to UK small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) working in precision medicine.

We are looking for patient investors who, as well as providing capital, will speed up growth by providing wider business skills, experience, market access and influence.

The Precision Medicine Accelerator is supported by 2 competitions:

  1. This competition, which offers the opportunity to become an investor partner.
  2. A second competition opening summer 2018, for SMEs to apply for 100% of their project costs, split between grant funding and private investment.

Companies looking for grant and investment through the second competition can apply to have 100% of their project costs funded. The total project costs (including grant and investment) should be between £500,000 and £1.5 million, with up to 50% of the costs funded by Innovate UK.

Innovate UK’s Investment Advisory Board will assess applications to become an investor partner. If you are successful we will email you by 11 June 2018.

Funding type


Project size

Total project costs submitted through the second competition should be between £500,000 and £1.5 million. We expect projects to last up to 2 years.

Who can apply

In this competition we are looking for investor partners. To join as an investor partner you must be an equity provider with a UK office. This can include charities and trusts.

The Innovate UK Investment Advisory Board will create a pool of investor partners. We want to ensure that we have good and appropriate geographic coverage across the whole of the UK, focusing on areas with particular strengths in the scope of this competition.

Against this background we are particularly interested in investors who:

  • can and do invest in companies beyond London and the South East
  • are prepared to deploy capital with a patient and long-term view
  • can add value to companies beyond finance, including leadership, market access, skills, resources and so on
  • have the ability to follow their investment and syndicate to provide further capital when required
  • can commit to helping the company grow and scale up
  • can invest in early-stage companies, including university spin-outs and pre-seed investment
  • have sector and technology-specific expertise relevant to the scope of this competition

The second competition

The second competition will be open to projects from UK small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) offering innovative solutions within the scope of the competition. SMEs already in your portfolio can also apply. This will open 23 July 2018.

100% of successful applicants’ costs will be covered by matching grant funding with direct equity investment or convertible loans from an investor partner.

The second competition will close on 26 September 2018.

The SME applicant must choose either to have their application sent to a single preferred investor partner in the programme, or to have it sent to all the investor partners in the programme. Investor partners must provide a lead contact name or email address. This will give SME applicants the chance to correspond and discuss the applicant’s project and company with a view to reaching Heads of Terms for investment. Independently from any investor partners’ discussions with applicants, Innovate UK will assess all the eligible applications through expert and independent assessors and rank the applications as fundable and non-fundable.

There will be a meeting on 25 October after which we will inform investor partners which SMEs have been assessed as grant fundable.

Investor partners will need to inform Innovate UK by 23 November 2018 if they want to pursue the investment opportunity with any of the relevant SMEs.

The investor partner should agree Heads of Terms with each SME applicant by 11 January for a project that Innovate UK has deemed to be fundable. Innovate UK will then agree to issue the grant to the SME contingent on final investment contracts being signed by 11 April 2019.


We have allocated up to £6 million to match fund private investment from investor partners in the second competition.

For industrial research projects, Innovate UK will fund 50% of project costs and the investor partner must provide the remaining 50%. This funding will support the development and de-risking of new product ideas, as well as business model development, laboratory prototypes and human clinical trials.

For experimental development projects Innovate UK will fund 45% of project costs for small companies and 35% of costs for medium companies. The investor partner provides the remaining funding. The funding will support commercially usable prototypes, validation trials, experimental production processes and supply chain development.

This competition is not offering any funding at this stage.

Your proposal

The aim of this competition is to support the commercial development of innovation in precision medicine.

We define precision medicine as technology that:

  • enables early and accurate diagnosis to inform patient treatment
  • improves the availability of targeted therapies

This includes combining clinical biomarker knowledge with advances in diagnostic technologies, data analysis and tailor-made therapeutics. Precision medicine is also referred to as stratified medicine or personalised medicine.

Projects funded through this programme must look to progress precision medicine by addressing one of the following themes.

  1. Next generation diagnostics that enable early and accurate diagnosis to inform patient management or therapy selection, including novel molecular and cellular diagnostics, advanced med-tech devices, imaging or clinical pathology technologies.
  2. Breakthrough point-of-care, wearable or implantable devices such as bionsensor tattoos, that enable accurate or early diagnosis to immediately inform treatment options for the patient outside of the hospital.
  3. Tailor-made therapies or medicines designed for each patient’s molecular diagnosis, such as gene therapy, regenerative cell therapy, next generation immunotherapy, synthetic biology or combination therapies. Can include projects up to first-in-human clinical trials, including proof of concept and observational studies as long as they have clearly defined de-risking objectives.

Bioinformatic or artificial intelligence (AI) applications to extract digital data from med-tech devices, imaging systems or clinical pathology platforms, to inform clinical decisions quickly.

Specific themes

We are particularly looking for applications in:

  • disruptive approaches such as liquid biopsies, extracellular vesicles and proteins, or single-cell analysis as a clinical diagnostic
  • multi-omic diagnostics to enable personalised treatment decisions, for example genomics, transcriptomics, epigenomics, metabolomics and microbiomics
  • smart (closed loop) medical devices that intelligently dose the patient in response to personalised biomarker monitoring
  • bioinformatic platforms or AI-powered applications that make it possible to process longitudinal data to inform early and accurate diagnosis

Projects we won't fund

We will not fund:

  • projects that do not meet the definition of precision medicine, given in the scope of this competition
  • projects that are not clearly disruptive innovative ideas that will lead to novel solutions
  • biomarker discovery, although clinical biomarker validation is in scope
  • diagnostic tests for treatments that are not available or still in development, unless as a companion diagnostic
  • digital health and wellness apps
  • drug discovery that is not a tailor-made or personalised therapy
  • clinical trials for tailor-made therapies beyond proof of concept studies
30 April 2018
Competition opens
18 May 2018 12:00pm
Registration closes
23 May 2018 12:00pm
Competition closes
11 June 2018
Applicants notified
31 July 2018
London briefing event.

Before you start

To apply:

  1. Register online using the green button.
  2. You will receive an email acknowledgement of your registration followed by a second email up to 48 hours later. The second email will contain a username and password to register for our secure upload facility along with a unique application number and form.
  3. The non-disclosure agreement and memorandum of understanding for this competition will be available on the secure upload facility once you register.
  4. You need to download, read, sign and upload the non-disclosure agreement and memorandum of understanding. These will need to be uploaded online along with your application form.

We will not accept late submissions. Your application is confidential.

Please use Microsoft Word for the application form. If you use Google Docs or any other open source software your application will be ineligible.

You will be asked to provide brief descriptions for the benefit of SMEs applying for the second competition. These should not include any commercially sensitive information but should include:

  • the type of investor you are (venture capital, angel, third sector, corporate and so on)
  • your investment scope
  • the added value of your investment beyond the capital itself

What we will ask you

Application questions

This section explains the structure of the application form and offers guidance on what to answer in each question. All sections are mandatory.

Innovate UK’s Investment Advisory Board will score your answers to these questions. After assessment you will receive feedback.

Investor partner details

Please describe what type of investor you are, such as venture capital, angel, third sector, corporate and so on. Give your time horizon expectations for investment in early stage, innovative SMEs.


Describe how you fit within the eligibility of this competition as described in the eligibility criteria section and the stage of company development you are most interested in, such as proof-of-concept, pre-seed, seed, series A and so on.

Investor description for public use

Please provide a description that you are happy to see published of your investment interests and what benefits you can bring to an SME. Do not include any commercially sensitive information. We will use this description to brief potential SME applicants looking for investment. We may also use this description for promoting the Investor Partnerships programme if you become an Investor Partner on this competition.

Application questions

Question 1: Investment constraints

Innovate UK wants to give equal opportunity to companies seeking funding and investment across the whole of the UK. Do you have any constraints in terms of investments?

Tell us:

  • about any geographic constraints in terms of where you can invest, or any UK regions where you are more likely to invest
  • whether geographic overlap with your existing portfolio influences your decision to invest
  • about anything that restricts when you can invest or for how long
  • if you need to syndicate before investing
  • if you are looking for a new deal flow or for a grant and further investment for companies in your existing portfolio, both of which are eligible for the Precision Medicine Investment Accelerator

Question 2: Capital

What approach will you take to investing capital into the Precision Medicine Investment Accelerator?


  • how much capital you potentially have available to invest into the Precision Medicine Investment Accelerator competition
  • how much further capital may be available to follow your investment
  • the total length of time you can hold an investment
  • how much capital you can typically put into your investments each round and over the lifetime of each company
  • the typical investment size or any boundary levels of capital at each stage of investment, be it pre-seed, seed, series A or something else

Question 3: Investment timing and rounds

Innovate UK typically issues grants to young companies developing highly innovative products which can be a high risk for investment.

Tell us:

  • the stage of company development when you typically invest, be it pre-seed, seed, series A or something else
  • if you invest in innovations and companies as early as proof-of-concept stage
  • if you invest in university spin-out companies, and any constraints on the universities you work with
  • the number of companies in your current portfolio that took first investment from you in the range of £200,000 to £750,000
  • if you typically fund over several rounds of investment

Question 4: Investment scope

The Precision Medicine Investment Accelerator will increase funding and investment in opportunities that improve the way we diagnose, monitor and treat disease to provide the right treatment, at the right time, to the right patient.

We will use your answer to publicise your offer to companies applying for funding and investment. If you are successful it will be available to applicants through the Innovate UK website. We may also use it at briefing events and in other Innovate UK documents linked to the Precision Medicine Investment Accelerator.

Describe or explain:

  • your interest in the field of precision medicine and why you believe it is an exciting area for investment
  • the stage of company development where you may potentially invest through the Precision Medicine Investment Accelerator, such as proof-of-concept, pre-seed, seed or series A
  • how many investments you typically make a year, both into new companies and companies already within your portfolio
  • the investment opportunities in precision medicine you are interested in: therapeutics, diagnostics, med-tech, AI, machine learning and informatics, or others
  • any investments you currently have that could be classed as precision medicine

Question 5: Added value of your investment

Innovate UK has established the Investor Partnership Programme because we recognise the added value an investor can bring to companies beyond the investment capital itself.

Please note: we will use your answer for publicity in the same way as question 4.

Describe or explain:

  • what expertise you can bring to actively build value in a business, including the development of business skills, recruitment, supply chain development, market access and so on
  • what expertise you can bring to a company specifically operating in the field of precision medicine
  • how your investment can use Innovate UK grant funding to help scale and grow innovative UK companies operating in the broad field of precision medicine
  • what relevant sector and technology specific expertise you have

Question 6: Impact on the investor partnership programme

The Investor Partnerships Programme at Innovate UK has been established to bring private investment into early-stage and innovative UK companies earlier, wider and for longer.

Describe the impact co-investing with Innovate UK would have on this programme and your involvement in it.

Describe or explain:

  • the likely impact on your fund of being an investor partner on the Precision Medicine Investment Accelerator and any wider impact on your business
  • the difference being an investor partner would make to your fund, such as giving you a faster route to market, reducing risk and so on
  • how being an investor partner would change the nature of your investment activity
  • what would, or would not, happen if your application to become an investor partner is unsuccessful

Background and further information

The Precision Medicine Investment Accelerator builds on a successful pilot programme delivered by Innovate UK and investor partners in 2017. Its aim is to provide simultaneous grant funding and venture capital investment in early-stage projects led by UK companies.

We are now in a position to offer equity providers (including charities or trusts) with a UK office, the opportunity to join Innovate UK and become investor partners on the Precision Medicine Investment Accelerator.

The process for becoming an investor partner is competitive and applications will be assessed by Innovate UK’s Investment Advisory Board. By submitting an application to become an investor, each applicant agrees to be bound by the terms and conditions of the competition including the Memorandum of Understanding and the Non-Disclosure Agreement which are both available on the secure website once you register to apply. The competition to become an investor partner is referred to in this brief as the first competition.

Please note the competition encourages new deal flow for investor partners but is also open to SMEs already in investor partners’ portfolios who are looking for further investment and grant funding for a specific project.

If you need more information, contact the competition helpline on 0300 321 4357 or email us at

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