A Moon Shot for the UK!

Science, Growth, NHS, Data, and Skills leading the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy for a future post BREXIT

With over 5000 companies, nearly 235,000 employees, and a turnover of £64 billion in 2016, the life science sector is of critical importance to the UK economy and health. Thus, understandably, the government is committed to continuing to help this sector go from strength to strength.

Yesterday, Sir John Bell, along with others (Business Secretary, Greg Clark, and Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt), visited University of Birmingham’s Institute of Translational Medicine. The life science industry’s vision was discussed, with a focus on how the government can work alongside the life sciences sector to boost all businesses across the £64 million sector.

In the government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, launched in January, life sciences was among the UK’s top 5 leading sectors tasked to work with stakeholders to identify opportunities regarding how the government can support the industry for that particular field.

The industry-led life sciences Industrial Strategy follows Sir John Bell’s comprehensive cross-sector review into the long-term future of the industry and brought together input and recommendations from a broad range of stakeholders, including global companies healthcare groups, SMEs and charities.

The report’s recommendations will be considered carefully by the government and used to work towards a sector partnership between government and the global life sciences sector. The vision for the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy is an ambitious one and sets out proposals for how the UK can continue to capitalise on its strengths in the sector, both to encourage economic growth and to improve health outcomes for patients.

The strategy capitalises on a strong science base to further build the industry into a globally-unique and internationally competitive life sciences eco-system, which is supported by collaboration across industry, government, the NHS, academia, and research funders to deliver health and wealth.

In addition to this, the Strategy and Board demonstrate the breadth and vibrancy of the life sciences ecosystem in the UK; the importance of collaboration across the sector; the critical role of the NHS in delivering the development and use of new medical technologies; and the contribution of our sector to the UK economy.

The Strategy provides a holistic and collaborative framework to realise the various exciting opportunities the future of life sciences has in the UK, and is a positive first step to cementing the success of this critical sector. Whilst demonstrating how well it will provide a springboard for any sector deal for the industry, including the NHS and other stakeholders, it will be vital in ensuring the recommendations set out are fully implemented.

As the UK’s plans for leaving the EU are set in motion, collaboration with and support from government is more important than ever for maintaining the UK’s position as a global life science network.

The life sciences Industrial Strategy is organised under 5 key themes – science, growth, NHS, data, and skills – with proposals to build on the UK’s strengths in each area.

These include:

  • Science – Reinforcing the UK science offering by sustaining and increasing funding for basic science to match our international competition and further improve UK clinical trial capabilities
  • Growth – Improving growth and infrastructure across the country, through a tax environment that supports growth and by attracting substantial investment to manufacture and export high value life science products of the future
  • NHS – Encouraging NHS collaboration by recommending the Accelerated Access Review be adopted with national routes to market streamlined and clarified, including for digital products
  • Data – Making better use of data and other evidence by establishing 2 to 5 regional innovation hubs that would provide data across regions of 3 to 5 million people.
  • Skills – Ensuring the UK has the talent and skills to underpin future life sciences success by delivering a reinforced skills action plan across the NHS, commercial and third sectors

The Strategy also recommends the establishment of the Healthcare Advanced Research Program (HARP), a programme that allows charities and the NHS to collaborate on ambitious and long-term UK-based projects with the aim of transforming healthcare and taking advantage of the latest medical trends of the next 20 years.

The UK has always been at the forefront of scientific excellence. From the discovery of antibiotics to the world-leading 100,000 Genomes project, we have a proud history of medical breakthrough and innovation.

Patients must be at the front of the queue for the best treatments available, whether that means early access to trials, giving staff brand new innovations and technology to work with, or being at the heart of research to share best practice quickly across the health and social care system. A strong and growing life sciences sector ensures this, particularly as negotiations to exit the EU continue.

The strategy has also outlined £14 million funding to support 11 medical technology research centres to encourage collaboration between the NHS and industry in developing and bringing new technologies to patients through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). This means patients will continue to benefit from new technologies which will help to improve efficient diagnosis and treatment.

The life sciences Industrial Strategy demonstrates the world-class expertise the UK already has in this sector and represents the industry’s vision for how we can build on our world-leading reputation in this field.

Initial investment, part of the government’s flagship Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, will be spread over 4 years covering 5 major projects supporting advanced therapies, advanced medicines and the development and manufacture of vaccines.

These projects are:

  • Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre: A £13 million competition to establish a new centre, in partnership with industry, that will accelerate the adoption of emerging and novel manufacturing technologies
  • Vaccines Development and Manufacturing Centre: A facility dedicated to developing and manufacture vaccines for clinical trials and prepare for emergency epidemic threats, of which the government is investing £66 million in a new centre of excellence
  • Advanced Therapies Treatment Centre: £30 million investment in 3 new sites will help establish a network of centres (based in hospitals) that will transform the UK’s ability to develop and deliver cell and gene therapies to a large number of patients
  • Expanding the Cell and Gene Therapy Manufacturing Centre: Enhancing the UK’s offer in the fast-moving field of cell and gene therapy by investing £12 million in doubling the capacity of the Cell and Gene Therapy Centre in Stevenage
  • Research and Development to support innovation at the manufacturing centres: Through a new collaborative scheme, the government is investing £25 million to support SMEs working in this sector and boost innovation

Government has increased investment in research and development over the next 4 years by £4.7 billion to create jobs and raise living standards through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. The first £1 billion of investment is being made in 6 key areas in 2017 to 2018, driving progress and innovation that will create opportunities for businesses and sectors across the UK.

For more information on the Life Science Industrial Strategy please click on the image to view the pdf:

If you are interested in discussing more exciting opportunities for the life sciences industry in the UK and how it can relate to you recruitment needs, please contact 0118 959 4990 or email

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