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Image Source: Michael Maher
The deal outlines UK commitments and investments from 25 international businesses
Richard Bell

Industrial Strategy: Government to boost life sciences in latest sector deal

The Government has today (December 6) announced a deal with the UK life sciences sector as part of its Industrial Strategy white paper.

It is hoped the agreement, by drawing investment into the sector from all over the world, will create skilled jobs and help to deliver the next wave of breakthrough treatments, research and technologies.

The deal outlines UK commitments and investments from 25 international businesses, including:

MSD – a commitment from the US pharma company to establish a state-of-the-art life sciences discovery research centre and HQ in London, focussing on early bioscience discovery and entrepreneurial innovation. The move is calculated to support 950 jobs, including 150 skilled research roles.

Johnson & Johnson – the manufacturer’s Janssen Pharmaceutica NV business will collaborate with the University of Oxford on clinical trials focusing on mental health disorders, such as depression.

Medicines Company – the biopharmaceutical firm is initiating two projects as part of the sector deal; one with the University of Oxford, performing a large multinational cardiovascular disease clinical trial, and another with The Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership to improve the UK’s understanding and management of cardiovascular disease.

Other commitments include investment from GSK and AstraZeneca into initiatives that will boost the development of medicine by harnessing advances in genetic research.

The Government has outlined four key themes in its life sciences sector deal. The first, research, will seek to build on the UK’s position as a world leader in biomedical discovery through inward investment.

The second, technologies of the future, will grow the UK’s global reputation for pioneering early diagnostics and genomics programmes with an investment of up to £210m from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

The third key theme is the evolution of UK clinical trials capabilities, which will see innovative new trial platforms and investments in the UK’s digital evidence collection abilities, supported with a progressive regulatory system.

The fourth is business environment, which covers the Government’s £162m commitment through the first wave of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund to develop the UK’s medicine manufacturing infrastructure and support the sector’s SMEs.

Yesterday evening (December 5), representatives of the businesses involved in the deal assembled at 10 Downing Street, where they celebrated the success of the sector in an event attended by Business Secretary Greg Clark and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said: “[The UK is] home to many of the most successful global life sciences businesses and we are also a hotbed of new businesses – springing up to bring new discoveries and techniques to a wider market.

“Our National Health Service is a prized national asset – the nation’s biggest employer and a deep source of learning and of translating discoveries into care.”

He added: “That is what our Industrial Strategy sets out to support and achieve. So it is appropriate that the first Sector Deal of our Industrial Strategy should be with the Life Sciences sector.”

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt commented: “The UK has a huge amount to offer the life sciences sector, combining globally renowned scientific research bases with our world leading NHS which allows innovators to test and refine products at scale.

“Today proves that life science organisations of all sizes will continue to grow and thrive in the coming years, which means NHS patients will continue to be at the front of the queue for new treatments.”

Dr Liam Fox, Secretary of State for International Trade, said of the announcement: “Today’s deal is a clear signal to life science investors around the world that the UK is open for business and a world leader in scientific innovation.

“The Department of International Trade has provided dedicated support to make this investment possible, and that offer is available to all investors through our global network.”

He continued: “As an international economic department our role is to promote the UK as a premier destination to invest, and we are ready to work with potential investors to secure our capital requirements for infrastructure, regeneration and innovative projects in every part of the country.”

The agreement follows last week’s Construction Sector Deal.

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