£17 million of new funding has been announced for the UK’s Life Sciences sector. The Government says the money, as part of its ambitious industrial strategy , will help new drug discovery and support mental health treatment, translating the UK’s scientific expertise into real life treatments.
The life sciences industry provides medical treatments which the NHS and its 60 million patients rely on every year. The industry is also critical to the UK economy - with over 5,000 companies employing nearly 235,000 workers and generating £63.5 billion turnover.
Read our full report on the Life Sciences sector across the region in our November issue of Business & Innovation Magazine, out on 3rd November , including an interview with Dr Gordon Sanghera, CEO of the £1 billion-valued Oxford Nanopore.
Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond said: “My focus now, and going into the Budget, is on boosting productivity so that we can deliver higher-wage jobs and a better standard of living for people across the country.”
Science minister, Jo Johnson said: “The UK is home to world-leading expertise in life sciences and the government is committed to continuing to help this sector go from strength to strength.
He added: “Through the recently-published Life Sciences Industrial Strategy and our progress towards a Life Sciences Sector Deal, we are determined to cement the UK’s position as a global leader and capitalise on its strengths to encourage both economic growth and improve health outcomes for patients.”
The Chancellor announced funding for three new areas:
1. Cryo-electron microscope – £5 million for a state of the art microscope to build 3D models of biological components. This can help drug discovery become faster and cheaper
2. Innovation hub – £7 million to set up a new lab with state of the art equipment and research scientists. This lab will establish the UK Centre for Engineering Biology, Metrology and Standards
3. Business catalyst – £5 million to expand the ‘Confidence in Concept’ business catalyst scheme and boost treatment for mental health. This scheme has already produced 26 business spin-outs, 70 patents and £277 million of follow-on funding from the private sector
The UK is a world-leader in the life sciences. The UK represents just 0.9% of the global population but produces 15.2% of the world’s most highly-cited articles. Research productivity in this sector is twice as great as the United States and almost three times greater than in Germany. We have an internationally-recognised life sciences cluster in the South East of England, comprising Oxford, Cambridge and London and the area between them. It houses four of the world’s top twenty universities (three in the top ten), four of the top ten medical sciences faculties in the world and some of the world’s largest research institutes – the Sanger Institute, the Francis Crick Institute and Harwell. The government is supporting the sector by increasing investment in R&D by an extra £2 billion a year by the end of this Parliament.
The Life Sciences Industrial Strategy was published in August. It is an industry led project bringing together businesses, from across the medical technology, biopharmaceutical, and digital sectors, as well as charities, academia and the NHS.