Worcester MP Robin Walker has welcomed the news that £650 million will be invested in the UK’s Life Science sector. This will include an ambitious life sciences package to help cut NHS waiting times, improve commercial clinical trials, and bring new medicines to patients faster.
“This funding will help in bringing forward a new future for UK medicine and life sciences. Future residents in local organisations like St. Richard’s Hospice Foundation, which I walked in support of earlier this month, will benefit from the new medicines developed through this funding.
“We have also committed £42.7 million for research into better mental health treatments, including specific support for children. I have raised the issue of children's mental health in my role as chair of the Education Select Committee, so I welcome the investment in research and novel treatments
‘Life Sci for Growth’ brings together 10 different policies including:
- £121m to improve commercial clinical trials to bring new medicines to patients faster
- Up to £48m of new money for scientific innovation to prepare for any future health emergencies,
- £154m to increase the capacity of the UK’s biological data bank further aiding scientific discoveries that help human health
- Up to £250m to incentivise pension schemes to invest in our most promising science and tech firms
Bringing life-saving medicines and treatments to patients faster
The government’s £650m package also includes plans to relaunch the Academic Health Science Network as Health Innovation Networks to boost innovation by bringing together the NHS, local communities, charities, academia, and industry to share best practice. It also lays out changes to planning rules to free-up lab space and updates a route for East West Rail (EWR), the new railway line, to improve connections between UK science powerhouses Oxford and Cambridge, bringing more investment to the region.
Building the UK’s resilience for future health emergencies
The manufacturing arm of the UK’s life sciences sector is also set for a funding boost thanks to three new pots to bolster the country’s health resilience. A Biomanufacturing Fund worth up to £38m in new funding has been announced to incentivise investment and improve the UK’s resilience to any future pandemics, via a competitive process to distribute grants. This comes on top of a further £6.5m made up of new funding and funding from Innovate UK, to ensure that the Life Sciences sector continues to have the right people it needs to deliver its high skilled work. £10m new cash has also been announced to fund projects to drive innovation in cutting edge medicine manufacturing that can bolster the UK’s health resilience, such as those used to improve vaccines.
Boosting research for better mental health treatments
As part of the government’s ambition to put mental health on equal footing with physical health, it is investing £42.7m for the Mental Health Mission. This will go towards delivering treatments to patients, setting up a new centre in Liverpool to understand how mental, physical, and social conditions interlink, and a site in Birmingham to support research and novel treatments for early intervention in psychosis, depression, and children. £10m will go to support UK organisations and researchers to create novel pharmaceuticals, MedTech, and digital tools to improve treatment and aid recovery for people with opioid and cocaine addictions.
Life Sciences is one of the UK’s most successful sectors, worth over £94bn to the UK economy in 2021, a 9% increase on the year before. As a key industry driving UK growth the Chancellor has identified it as a focus for government, ensuring regulation aids innovation, government funding is targeted at vital projects and investment is diverse. This also helps to deliver the Science and Technology framework through reforming regulation, boosting investment, and driving up talent and skills.
Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay said:
“This investment is another significant step in harnessing UK innovation to help cut waiting lists - one of the government’s five priorities - and build a stronger NHS.
“We will take forward Lord O’Shaughnessy’s recommendations to speed up the delivery of clinical trials and boost patient involvement in research, so people getting NHS care can benefit from cutting-edge treatments faster, supported by £121 million in government funding.
“We’re also accelerating research into mental health, backed by over £42 million of investment in clinical research centres across the UK – including in Birmingham and Liverpool - to improve the speed and accuracy of diagnosis and increase the use of technology for treatment.”