Thirteen projects from UK-based SMEs will receive a share of £16 million in funding to fuel advances in precision medicine.

Nearly £7m in Government investment, through UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), has attracted a further £10 million from the private sector to help health-tech companies commercialise their products, which could eventually help treat and prevent cancer, heart disease and other chronic conditions.

The funding has been made available as part of the UK’s Industrial Strategy Challenge.

Former business secretary, Greg Clark, said the country had “a rich history of driving crucial medical breakthroughs.”

Clark added: “UK firms are on the precipice of ground-breaking advances using precision medicine technologies – meaning early diagnosis and better treatment for devastating diseases including cancer and heart disease.

“Through our modern Industrial Strategy, we are delivering the biggest ever boost to R&D funding in UK history. This new £16m investment in the UK’s brightest medical game-changers will propel crucial research from laboratory to market, ensuring the population can reap the rewards of these life-saving advances, sooner rather than later.”

Precision medicine technology uses a combination of information about a patient’s genes, proteins and medical images to prevent and treat chronic conditions, as well as help with earlier diagnoses.

Alongside the fresh funding, a competition has been opened that offers medical companies chance to win a slice of £22m to develop digital pathology technologies that could assist early disease diagnosis.

UKRI said it had invested over £2.2 billion in innovation over the past 12 years spanning some 11,000 projects that had generated up to £16 billion for the UK economy, as well as some 70,000 jobs.

Dr Kath Mackay, director of ageing society, health and nutrition at Innovate UK, said: “Precision medicine is the future of healthcare, so by working with equity investors in this way we increase the likelihood of game-changing medical innovations coming to market as soon as possible.

“Our shared national challenge is to gain a deeper understanding of human physiology using genetic insights and advances in technology. This will treat more diseases more effectively, reduce suffering arising from unintended side effects of a one-size-fits-all approach, and also reduce costs of treatments for many people.”