The remarkable response of the UK’s world class life sciences sector to COVID-19 will be used as a blueprint to accelerate the delivery of life-changing innovations to patients, as part of the government’s new UK Life Sciences Vision published today (Wednesday 7 July).
Today’s new UK Life Sciences Vision, co-developed with businesses and experts in the field, sets out a mission-led approach with bold ambition for the next decade to ensure scientific excellence, partnered with the dynamism of industry, is replicated to assist the NHS in solving the most pressing health challenges of our generation now and in the future.
The Vision outlines 7 critical healthcare missions that government, industry, the NHS, academia and medical research charities will work together on at speed to solve – from cancer treatment to tackling dementia.
These missions will focus on preventing, diagnosing, monitoring and treating disease early, using innovative clinical trials to develop breakthrough products and treatments quickly to help save lives, and accelerating the development and adoption of new drugs, diagnostics, medical technology and digital tools.
The missions are:
- Accelerating the pace of studies into novel dementia treatment
- Enabling early diagnosis and treatments, including immune therapies such as cancer vaccines
- Sustaining the UK’s position in vaccine discovery, development and manufacturing
- Treatment and prevention of cardiovascular diseases and its major risk factors, including obesity
- Reducing mortality and morbidity from respiratory disease in the UK and globally
- Addressing the underlying biology of ageing
- Increasing the understanding of mental health conditions, including work to redefine diseases and develop tools to address them
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said:
The UK’s life sciences sector has been at the centre of the country’s efforts to combat COVID-19 – from the development of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to the world leading RECOVERY trial identifying safe and effective therapeutics.
The Vision looks to emulate the successes of the UK Vaccines Taskforce – harnessing private sector expertise and removing unnecessary bureaucracy so that the UK’s most knowledgeable industry leaders can tackle future healthcare challenges at speed and at risk – with the aim of changing people’s lives for the better.
It will ensure that the UK benefits from new regulatory freedoms and opportunities now that we have left the European Union. The Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) will be able to act as an independent, sovereign regulator with great agility and with a focus on getting vaccines, drugs, and technologies to patients as safely and quickly as possible.
Addressing the most pressing healthcare challenges of our generation now and in the future will be an important part of the government’s levelling up agenda, helping to reduce health inequalities and improving out comes for patients in every corner of the UK.
Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid, said:
Life Sciences Minister Nadhim Zahawi said:
The Life Sciences Vision is the first sectoral publication to build on the Plan for Growth, which sets out plans for the UK to stand as a world-leading centre for the development of brilliant ideas, innovation in industry, and jobs for the future.
Sir John Bell, Professor at Oxford University and Sir Jonathan Symonds, Chair, GSK chaired the Vision’s External Advisory Board to ensure the breadth and depth of the sector were represented in the Vision’s development. The board included representatives such as Dame Kate Bingham to help translate the success of the Vaccines Taskforce to other disease challenges.
Professor Sir John Bell, University of Oxford, Co-chair of the External Advisory Group said:
Sir Jonathan Symonds, Chairman, GSK, Co-chair of the External Advisory Group said:
Central to the Life Sciences Vision is a focus on cultivating a business environment in which UK life sciences firms can access finance to innovate and grow, are regulated in an agile and efficient way, and are incentivised to onshore manufacture and commercialise their products in the UK.
To support this ambition, the government has today also launched its Life Sciences Investment Programme, a £200 million government investment that will unlock the potential of innovative UK life sciences companies so that they can grow their operations and create high-skilled jobs in the UK.
The programme will leverage further private sector investment and support the development of a world leading UK life sciences venture capital ecosystem. The investment will be delivered through British Patient Capital, part of the government-owned British Business Bank, which will allocate the £200 million to specialist funds.
In a further boost to the sector, British Patient Capital has recently agreed a collaboration with Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Company, one of the world’s leading sovereign investors. Under this partnership, facilitated by the Office for Investment, Mubadala has committed to invest £800 million in the UK life sciences industry and will work with British Patient Capital to identify sector trends and investment opportunities.
In total, this means £1 billion of new funding is available for the UK’s most promising life sciences companies, with the potential to crowd in further funding from other investors.
The Life Sciences Investment Programme will have access to a scientific advisory panel composed of leading industry figures, chaired by Life Sciences Champion Professor Sir John Bell. The panel will share insight on key scientific trends.
The life sciences sector is critical to the UK’s health, wealth and resilience, employing more than 250,000 people and generating an £80 billion turnover each year in the UK. A key theme of the Vision is to support the sector to grow, attracting investment and creating high skilled jobs across the UK.
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