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Johnson pledges £200m cash injection into UK’s life sciences sector

UK-based entrepreneurs “share his ambition”, says industry leader

tower bridge

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a cash injection into the health and life sciences industry, pledging a £200m ($246m) Government investment into the sector. 

According to the announcement, this injection will “mobilise £400m of private investment to allow science companies to scale in the UK". The investment aims to help companies within the sector to raise capital – to run clinical trials, employ more industrial scientists and develop manufacturing capabilities.

The overarching aim of the investment is to help these companies to remain and grow in the UK. The announcement pointed to the scale and productivity of the life sciences industry in the UK, saying that it contributes 250,000 of the highest value jobs across the country.

In addition, the British Business Bank is set to launch a new dedicated fund to support the development of UK-based health and life sciences companies.

“Over 60 years ago, we saw the discovery of DNA in Cambridge by a team of international researchers and today we are going even further. However this research was largely commercialised in California in a $40bn company based on UK research. This must change,” said Jonhson (pictured below).

BoJo

Boris Johnson

“This is part of my vision to have a vibrant post-Brexit economy fuelled by science and technology. The life sciences is a key component of this and we must continue to implement the life sciences industrial strategy,” he added.

Another initiative announced was the launch of a new talent scheme for UK fund managers to attract the best scientist from around the world. This follows on from Johnson's promise earlier this year to develop a new fast-track visa route to attract top scientists to work in the UK.

The government will also provide new support to investors to aid them in navigating the UK health system, by helping them to identify high priority areas for investment.

Responding to the announcement, Steve Bates (pictured below), chief executive of the UK BioIndustry Association said “it’s great to see the Prime Minister has reaffirmed the government’s commitment to the UK life science industrial strategy to grow companies to scale in the UK.”

Steve Bates

Steve Bates

“The BIA is meeting with the British Business Bank in October and will press to ensure the “new dedicated fund to support the growth of more UK-based cutting-edge health and life sciences companies” can get money into companies as soon as possible.”

He added “this is particularly important in the coming weeks as UK-based life science venture capital funds look set to lose access to European Investment Bank money, which has been a cornerstone investor in funds supporting our sector, as a result of Brexit.”

The announcement comes amid the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, where Health Secretary Matt Hancock also announced plans to make childhood vaccinations compulsory.

In addition, the Conservatives announced a new heath policy statement promising £13bn (16bn) in capital investment to be spent on hospitals over the next decade. NHS leaders have welcomed the investment, but have remained cautious.

Responding to the new investment for hospitals in the UK, BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: “In times of such political uncertainty and with Brexit looming, it is important that any investment promised is delivered with a view not just of the immediate short-term but the long-term sustainability of the NHS that places patients at the core of its motivation.”

Article by
Lucy Parsons

30th September 2019

From: Research

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