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UK life sciences gets some Brexit relief with £1.3bn sector deal

Highlights commitments from Roche, IQVIA, Celgene and Autolus

Biopharma company UCB is making the lion’s share of investment in the UK’s second life sciences sector deal, pledging to spend £1bn over the next five years, with sizeable support from Roche, IQVIA, Celgene and Autolus.

The government's sector deals are part of its industrial strategy aimed at boosting UK productivity, and this latest one is a welcome endorsement for the UK life sciences sector in the face of growing uncertainty about its status after Brexit.

It’s also a fillip for Prime Minister Theresa May as she tries to win support for her agreement on withdrawing from the EU, which is heading for a parliamentary vote next week.

“The sector deal is an important step towards fully implementing the life sciences industrial strategy and a commitment from government to help secure the UK’s leading status as an R&D hub as we leave the EU,” commented Mike Thompson, chief executive of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI).

Mike Thompson

Mike Thompson, CEO, ABPI

At the centre of UCB’s £1bn commitment is a new R&D facility – including manufacturing and commercial units – that will cost around £150m-£200m to set up and support around 650 high-value jobs over the next five years.

Another £200m is coming from other pharma companies. That includes £46m package from IQVIA that will go towards the creation of the organisation’s fourth ‘Prime Site’ for clinical research – a £24m project in the North of England that should create 50 high-skilled jobs – and a five-year, £20m collaboration with Genomics England focusing on developing services that allow researchers to run studies enabling faster and more efficient drug research.

Roche says it will invest a further £30m in the UK, including the creation of 100 highly-skilled jobs by 2020, cell therapy firm Autolus is planning to invest a further £50m to expand its UK presence, including a new global headquarters, and Celgene has set aside £22m for a five-year drug discovery collaboration with Cancer Research UK.

CRUK is also pitching in with a £14m investment in a London unit for cancer biotherapeutics research and treatment, and other investments include a £20m pledge by GW Pharma and a £19m commitment from Oxford BioMedica to expand manufacturing facilities.

BioIndustry Association CEO Steve Bates said: “the UK life sciences sector continues to go from strength to strength [and] it is great to see the sustained importance that the UK government places on the UK life sciences sector as an engine for the country’s future growth.”

Steve Bates

Steve Bates, CEO, BIA

The first sector deal announced last year committed nearly £500m of government investment into UK life sciences, backed by more than £1bn of private sector investment.

This year’s deal will see the government allocate £79m for a project aimed at applying artificial intelligence to the detection and diagnosis of disease, make an additional £50m available for digital pathology services, and provide £37.5m in funding for the creation of a network of regional Digital Innovation Hubs to assist clinical research programmes.

Article by
Phil Taylor

6th December 2018

From: Healthcare

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