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UK life sciences sector sets out its post-Brexit growth proposals

Review helmed by Sir John Bell outlines a wide-ranging strategy


The UK life sciences industry has set out a strategy for making the country a ‘world leader’ in the sector.

It aims to attract new scientists from around the globe, recruit the ‘best’ international talent, increase clinical trials, attract small and large capital investments, increase data sharing and make the NHS more cost-effective.

Released as the UK prepares to depart from the EU in 2019, the Life Sciences Industry Strategy also focuses on ensuring the country can take advantage of emerging health technology trends.

It’s helmed by geneticist Sir John Bell, who was tasked by the government to bring industry together to set out the sector’s own vision for increasing the pace of its economic growth.

Bell said: “This strategy will attract global investment into the UK that will benefit not only the economy but will also directly support NHS activity, improving the quality of patient care.

“At [the sector’s] heart lies the NHS, which holds the key to a unique offer to industry that can help secure the UK’s position as a leading life sciences cluster.”

His work, carried out in collaboration with industry partners from the likes of GSK, AZ and MSD, builds on the government’s January green paper, which pledged a key role for life sciences in the UK’s post-Brexit strategy.

Louise Houson, managing director of MSD UK and Ireland, said: “The publication of the strategy is an important step forward in realising the UK’s vision as a world-leading environment for life sciences.”

“As a member of the strategy’s task board we were pleased to be a part of this collaboration focused towards delivering a stable and holistic approach to life sciences that ensure the UK remains at the forefront of innovation in healthcare.”

Among the measures proposed by the report is the Health Advanced Research Programme (HARP) - a high-risk ‘moonshot’ project aiming to create two to three new industries over the next ten years.

Alongside the publication of the strategy, the government also announced a £146m boost for the industry that will be spread over four years and cover five projects:

* £13m towards a new public-private partnership for a Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre to accelerate the adoption of emerging and novel manufacturing technologies

* £66m for a Vaccines Development and Manufacturing Centre to develop and manufacture vaccines for clinical trials and prepare for emergency epidemic threats

* £30m for three new sites for the Advanced Therapies Treatment Centre, tasking them with establishing a network of hospital-based centres for developing and delivering cell and gene therapies

* £12m to expand the Cell and Gene Therapy Manufacturing Centre by doubling the Stevenage centre’s capacity

* A £25m funding boost for research and development carried out by SMEs.

Steve Bates, chief executive officer of the BioIndustry Association (BIA), said: “These new investments and funding competitions bring to life the calls the BIA has made to grow our industry’s future.”

The government is expected to issue a formal response to the Life Sciences Industry Strategy later this year.

* Read the UK’s Life Sciences Industrial Strategy

Article by
Gemma Jones

31st August 2017

From: Regulatory



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