On 26 May the Government announced a package of measures totalling over £650 million to drive growth and innovation in the life sciences sector.
The UK is rightly recognised as a world leader in life sciences; it is home to two of the top five universities in the world for life sciences and nearly a third of European life sciences start-ups. The sector is a key pillar of the economy, attracting the most foreign direct investment in Europe. It employs over 280,000 people across the UK, with 66% of these in high productivity, high wage jobs based outside London and the south east.
The Government are committed to making the UK the most attractive destination for life sciences companies and have developed a comprehensive package of policies spanning regulation, research and development (R&D), infrastructure, skills and planning which is aimed at driving investment, growth and innovation. To that end, we have announced:
The Government response to the Independent Review of Clinical Trials led by Lord O’Shaughnessy. The response announces five headline commitments where the Government are taking immediate action backed by £121 million of funding, including developing a clinical trial directory and establishing clinical trial acceleration networks. This will be followed by a more detailed implementation report in the autumn. These policies apply to England only.
The Government response to the Pro-innovation Regulation of Technologies Review on Life Sciences. The response accepts all the recommendations in the report and commits to delivering accelerated regulatory pathways for innovative products and technologies and establishing Centres of Excellence in Regulatory Science and Innovation (CERSIs) to provide regulators with access to additional skills and expertise. The review and response cover a range of policies, with varying territorial extents.
The development of an end-to-end Medtech pathway, including the innovative devices access pathway, to support innovators generating the evidence they need to support regulatory approval and National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) assessment to get innovative products helping patients faster. This policy applies UK-wide.
A new biomanufacturing fund of up to £38 million to incentivise investment and bolster the UK’s biomanufacturing capability for vaccines and other medicines, and a further £10 million to expand the transforming medicines manufacturing programme to support the development of manufacturing processes for next-generation vaccines and advanced therapies. This policy applies UK-wide.
An additional £6.5 million of funding on skills to secure the legacy of skills pilots delivered by the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult to ensure we have the talent and skills to support our domestic medicines manufacturing capability. This policy applies UK-wide.
Further details regarding the mental health and addiction healthcare missions, including the allocation of £42.7 million to support new mental health treatments and set up new research centres in Liverpool and Birmingham, and £10 million to help develop new treatments for addiction. The Government have also announced the chairs of the mental health, addiction, and cancer missions. These policies apply UK-wide.
Reform and rebranding of the Academic Health Science Networks to become Health Innovation Networks. These will have an enhanced focus on working with local partners, ensuring innovation is identified and adopted at the local level to directly address the needs of those communities. This policy applies to England only.
A further £31 million in Government and industry backing for life sciences manufacturing, under the life sciences innovative manufacturing fund, taking combined investment since 2021 to £383 million. This policy applies UK-wide.
A new £154 million investment to significantly upgrade UK Biobank to meet increasing demand for this world leading biomedical research database. This will include the construction of a new purpose-built facility at Manchester Science Park to accommodate a new archive. This investment will increase sample throughput by four times, allowing for up to 1.2 million accesses per year. This policy applies UK-wide.
A call for proposals on the Government’s long-term investment for technology and science initiative, which will offer £250 million of Government support to spur the creation of new vehicles for pension schemes to invest in the UK’s high-growth science and technology businesses, benefiting the retirement incomes of UK pension savers and driving the growth of critical sectors like life sciences. This policy applies UK-wide.
Planning reforms to boost the supply of life sciences lab space, including consulting on factoring R&D considerations into planning decisions, working with stakeholders to update the planning practice guidance to help local authorities take fuller account of commercial land needs of businesses and making investment into the relevant sites more attractive by working with local planning authorities to encourage proactive planning tools, such as local development orders and development corporations, to bring forward development. This policy applies to England only.
The preferred route alignment for the third section of East West Rail between Bedford and Cambridge, including a direct link to the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, marking a significant step towards delivering the scheme and helping to drive growth and jobs in the life sciences “golden triangle”.
Overall this represents a comprehensive package to boost growth and investment in the sector across the UK, and help get innovative drugs and medicines to NHS patients faster.
Documents are available at:
Copies of the review documents and the Government responses will also be deposited in the Libraries of both Houses.