The University of Manchester (UoM) bid for phase 5 of MRC Confidence in Concept (CiC) funding

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester


Abstracts are not currently available in GtR for all funded research. This is normally because the abstract was not required at the time of proposal submission, but may be because it included sensitive information such as personal details.

Technical Summary

The Confidence in Concept scheme is a key part of MRC’s translational research strategy and provides annual awards to institutions, to be used flexibly to support the earliest stages of multiple translational research projects. The award can be used by the institution to support a number of preliminary-stage translational projects. The projects supported should aim to provide sufficient preliminary data to establish the viability of an approach –– before seeking more substantive funding.  It is intended to accelerate the transition from discovery research to translational development projects by supporting preliminary work or feasibility studies to establish the viability of an approach.


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Bahri R (2018) Mast cell activation test in the diagnosis of allergic disease and anaphylaxis. in The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology

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Conroy P (2018) Report on a novel treatment approach to aphasia: time for a quick word? in British Journal of Neuroscience Nursing

Description Complement Therapeutics is a company focused on developing novel solutions to modulate Complement System disorders that give rise to both common and rare disease. The company is committed to pursuing clinical success through innovative thinking and research and the translation of these into effective treatments. We had invented a soluble inhibitor of the complement system, that we wanted to develop as a biologic therapeutic for use in diseases where an over active complement system was a major driver. The inhibitor (termed Chialexin) was glycosylated which prevented its passage through basement membranes, something we wanted to overcome. Removal of the glycosylation allowed membrane transport to take place, but non-glycosylated Chialexin would not express in a mammalian cell, making it impossible to manufacture. We aimed to develop 'molecular tugs', glycosylated secretion signal peptides, that promoted the cellular secretion of non-glycosylated proteins. One year after funding, Chialexin was superseded by a second-generation product, Coalexin, which could both secrete from a mammalian cell and cross basement membranes. However, the IP generated around Chialexin, and the knowledge gained through the project, remain valuable assets and have been subsequently incorporated into a UoM spin-out company Complement Therapeutics (incorporated 2021, secured €5million seed fund 2022, actively raising series A funding). The technology and know-how generated through this CiC funding round were instrumental in paving the spinning out of Complement Therapeutics, which plans to deliver its leading asset into phase I/IIa trials in 2024. The lead asset, CTx001 (based on Coalexin), aims to treat patients suffering from the dry form of age-related macular degeneration, the third leading cause of blindness in the world. 
Year Established 2020 
Impact Our lead product, CTx001, is in pre-clinical development for the localised treatment of Geographic Atrophy ('dry' age-related macular degeneration). In addition, we are developing therapeutics that are aimed at systemic modulation of the complement system. We anticipate that these assets will meet the needs of a wide range of patients with complement-mediated disease. Identified and corrected: flaws in other previous Complement-related approaches to treating Geographic Atrophy The flaws we have identified have prevented these other therapies from delivering their intended effects. In developing our own approaches, we have carefully analysed all aspects of the Complement System, investigated where therapies to date have fallen down and explored how we should avoid the flaws we have identified. Given the strategic importance of Chialexin (now known as CTx002) and Coalexin (CTx001), we never actually published any of our PoC data. We have, however, filled seven patents around the technology either directly or as a result of their use. All of the assets and IP are assigned from the UoM to Complement Therapeutics (see The outcome of the funding is quite unusual as it was the first step (of many) that led to the founding of a UoM spin-out company Complement Therapeutics (see, which recently raised €5million in seed funding. While the product at the centre of the CiC funding itself was not a raging success, the knowledge and data gained med to a second generation product that led to the formation of the company. However, the 'ghost' of this project lives on and the IP generated is incorporated into the company and is currently being revived as one of the company's alternative assets.
Description Gene Expression Data and Diagnosis of GHD - Presentations at British Society for Paediatric Endocrinology 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentations at British Society for Paediatric Endocrinology - won best clinical abstract award. Data presented at NovoNordisk meeting on GH in Copenhagan and we will be including an element of our transcriptomic research into two upcoming industry studies on long acting growth hormone (REAL4 and REAL5).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018