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Bold new life sciences vision sets path for UK to build on pandemic response and deliver life-changing innovations to patients

12:20 13 July in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Europe, Life Sciences & Healthcare, News, Oxfordshire, Sectors, Talent and Innovation

The remarkable response of the UK’s world class life sciences sector to COVID-19 – in which organisations within the Thames Valley have played a crucial role – will be used as a blueprint to accelerate the delivery of life-changing innovations to patients, as part of the UK Government’s new Life Sciences Vision.

Co-developed by Government, business and the NHS, the Vision sets out to apply this approach and mindset to seven great healthcare challenges: Cancer, Dementia, Mental Health, Obesity, Ageing, Respiratory Disease and Vaccines – and use the drive and ingenuity of the private sector, skill and intellect of UK academia and scale and expertise of the NHS to make meaningful progress over the next decade.

Building on the success of the 2017 Life Sciences Industrial Strategy, this sector Vision follows the publication of the Plan for Growth in March 2021, which set out how the government would drive economic growth through a focus on innovation, infrastructure and skills.

The focus of the proposed policies and programmes contained in the Vision will be 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.

To support this ambition, the Government has 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.

The Life Sciences Investment Programme will have access to a scientific advisory panel composed of leading industry figures, chaired by Life Sciences Champion, the University of Oxford’s Regius Professor of Medicine, Sir John Bell. The panel will share insight on key scientific trends.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

We are indebted to the ingenuity of UK life sciences and its pioneers, with the discovery of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and the seamless collaboration between our scientists, industry, regulators and NHS saving millions of lives during the pandemic.

We must make sure this is the norm and use this new way of working to search for life-changing breakthroughs against diseases such as cancer, dementia and obesity, as we have done with COVID.

That’s why we are setting out our new Life Sciences Vision to bottle the formula we have developed to tackle COVID and improve health outcomes for patients across the board in the UK, and secure jobs and investment in the process as we build back better.

 

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.

 

Professor Sir John Bell, University of Oxford, Co-chair of the External Advisory Group said:

There is now a race to become one of the world leaders in the growth of Life Sciences as an industrial sector. We have demonstrated throughout the COVID pandemic how effective we can be when industry, academia, government, charities and the NHS all work together. If we continue to work as effectively together we are very likely to bring great benefits to patients and also to grow our economy at pace.

 

Paul Britton, CEO, Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce, TVCC

We welcome the publication of the Government’s new Life Sciences Vision, which recognises and aims to build on the incredible response by the life sciences sector to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are justifiably proud of the crucial role played by Thames Valley life sciences organisations in this response and applaud the Government’s plans to build on this approach and support the sector to grow, attracting investment and creating high skilled jobs. It is also evidence that the work we have been consistently championing, through our business-led life sciences roundtable series, is both effective and contributing.

 

Read the full press release HERE.

Read about the Life Sciences sector in the Thames Valley HERE.