Second Life Sciences Sector Deal Published

In August 2017, a coalition of industry and charity partners, led by Professor Sir John Bell, published a report into the life sciences industry – Life Sciences: Industrial Strategy – setting out recommendations for the UK life sciences industry. The report outlined the significant competitive advantages the UK possesses, as well as areas where key developments could fix issues which have slowed down growth. In response to this report, the government published the first Life Sciences Sector Deal, a key component of the Industrial Strategy.

Following on from the first Sector Deal, on 5 December 2018, the UK Government published the second Life Sciences Sector Deal, with significant additional measures and innovative programmes.

The Sector Deal sets out a number of key commitments:

Ideas: To be the world’s most innovative economy.

Business environment: To be the best place to start and grow a business.

Infrastructure: A major upgrade to the UK’s infrastructure.

Places: To have prosperous communities throughout the United Kingdom.

People: To generate good jobs and greater earning power for all.

Building on the first Sector Deal, the second Sector Deal will deliver significant additional measures:

  • A major new commitment, backed by up to £79 million of funding, to develop a first-of-its-kind, world-leading cohort of healthy participants that will attract significant global investment from industry and charities. The project will enable research into the hidden signs of disease and the development of tools to detect and diagnose diseases earlier. This will lead to a type of ‘predictive prevention’ which is crucial to ensure the NHS has a sustainable future.
  • A world-first commitment to sequence 1 million whole genomes in the UK within the next 5 years including 500,000 through the NHS in addition to the 500,000 in the UK Biobank project. Our broader aspiration is to reach 5 million genomic analyses in the same time-frame, truly making the UK the home of genomic healthcare.
  • An additional £50 million investment in our digital pathology programme as a first step towards making this a truly national asset to support early and improved diagnosis across the UK and deliver more efficient NHS services.
  • £37.5 million funding and a plan for a network of regional Digital Innovation Hubs, providing expert clinical research data services, data analysis and sharing capabilities. This is part of a wider programme delivering on the government’s tech vision to reform the architecture of technology in the NHS and make it work better for patients, clinicians and researchers.
  • A wide-ranging new policy package to support uptake and adoption of innovation in the NHS and ensure the UK continues to be a world leader in health tech. Through its long-term plan and the recent branded medicines pricing deal, the NHS will set out how it will be a crucial national partner, acting as both a real-world test-bed and a beneficiary of many of the innovations flowing from the life sciences industry.

Supported both by wider policy measures:

  • A suite of measures to make our clinical research environment faster, more efficient, streamlined and innovative, including the use of digital platforms.
  • A commitment to innovative regulation that ensures the UK framework keeps pace with emerging technology developments, such as artificial intelligence, and supports their entry into the NHS.
  • A new package of skills commitments between the government and industry partners to help deliver the priority skills the sector needs now and to make the most of future opportunities.
  • Ongoing work to deliver on our commitment to increase public and private R&D spend, reaching 2.4% of GDP by 2027
  • Measures to support the supply of capital for innovative firms, helping them to grow, through the government’s Patient Capital Review.

And by significant investment from industrial partners:

  • UCB, a global pharmaceutical company, is investing in 1 of their 2 major global R&D hubs in the UK. This will involve a purpose-built, state-of-the-art facility to enable cutting-edge R&D, early manufacturing and commercial operations, with planned investment of £150 million to 200 million in the facility and around £1 billion total investment over 5 years. The transition to the new facility will support around 650 high-value jobs across R&D, enabling further collaborations with UK universities, biotechs and medical research charities.
  • Over £200 million of new investment from a wide range of companies, including GW Pharmaceuticals, Roche, Celgene, IQVIA Ltd. and Oxford Biomedica.

Useful links:

Downloads – Sector Deal

UK Government press release

BIA response

Biochemical Society response

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