The government is to invest £260 million to support healthcare research and development, as well as the manufacturing of new drugs, devices and diagnostics.
Of the funding announced today, up to £200 million will be invested to enable research to better access NHS data through Trusted Research Environments and digital clinical trial services. This will make crucial data more securely and quickly available for research, while offering the highest levels of privacy.
A further £60 million will support commercial-scale manufacturing investments by companies at the leading-edge of innovation, from cell and gene therapies and earlier and better diagnostic technologies, to medical devices.
The funding for manufacturing investments will be distributed through the new Life Sciences Innovative Manufacturing Fund (LSIMF), following the success of the earlier Medicines and Diagnostics Manufacturing Transformation Fund.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “This funding will ensure the UK can continue to help researchers access NHS data securely so patients can benefit from more innovative treatments faster.”
The UK’s strong medical and life sciences sector turns over more than £88.9 billion, supporting 268,000 jobs across the country.
Science Minister George Freeman said: “UK leadership in the discovery of new diagnostics, devices and drugs – from gene therapy to digital stents – is now driving our work in new and advanced manufacturing of medical technologies.
“Our new Life Sciences Innovative Manufacturing Fund will not only help further develop domestic medical manufacturing capabilities and enhance Britain’s ability to respond to future pandemics, but will also help create well-paying, high-skilled jobs across the whole UK – a vital part of our plans for levelling up.”
Dr Ben Goldacre, Director of the DataLab, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford, said: “This funding will drive forward the longstanding ambition to broaden access to NHS data while preserving patient privacy, by building secure Trusted Research Environments that support modern, transparent, efficient approaches to data analysis.”
The Life Sciences Innovative Manufacturing Fund is the successor to the Medicines and Diagnostics Manufacturing Transformation Fund (MDMTF). It was also established to help grow and strengthen the UK’s medicines and diagnostics manufacturing industry by encouraging companies to use new technologies, and to build or expand facilities throughout the country.