The UK has some of the world’s most exciting science, a supportive business environment, and strong companies led by experienced management teams. It also has a unique ecosystem that is wider than just industry, with world-leading universities (the top two universities in the world), charity sector and institutes. In terms of financing, UK biotech attracts the most venture capital financing in Europe and the third most in the world.
As the nation looks towards Brexit in 2019, the BioIndustry Association (BIA) has been working with stakeholders from across UK life sciences to help ensure the future of the sector. The recent release of the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy is an important step forward in ensuring that the industry can continue to thrive and provide cutting-edge treatments for patients in the future.
The BIA has long called for a revived industrial strategy to maintain and build investment into the UK and grow and scale the UK’s innovative bioscience companies. The strategy provides a wide-ranging view on many of the issues that underpin the life sciences ecosystem, including discovery and translational science, NHS collaboration, manufacturing and skills.
The strategy demonstrates 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. As the UK leaves the EU, collaboration with, and support from government are more important than ever to maintain the UK’s position as a global life sciences ecosystem.
It also challenges the sector to engage further with the opportunities in healthcare presented by new technology through the proposed Health Advanced Research Programme (HARP). Industry will continue to engage with government to ensure that this strategy can pave the way for an impactful sector deal that can help deliver the BIA’s vision to establish the UK as the third global cluster for life sciences.
Alongside the publication of the strategy, the government also announced a new £13m funding competition for a medicines manufacturing centre, a £66m investment in a vaccines development and manufacturing centre, a £30m investment in cell and gene therapy treatment centres, a £12m cell and gene therapy investment in Stevenage and £25m to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and boost innovation.
These new investments and funding competitions bring to life the calls the BIA has made, both individually and through collaborations such as the Medicines Manufacturing Industry Partnership, to grow our industry’s future. It is great to see SMEs front and centre of the government’s vision for the UK life sciences sector.
For the sector to achieve its potential and ambition, a sea change in the levels of scale-up capital and fiscal support is required. It is great to see many of the necessary actions the BIA has called for in this strategy, from reform of Entrepreneurs Relief to making research and development (R&D) tax credits work better for SMEs.
The BIA will continue to champion the implementation of the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy to safeguard the future of the UK life sciences sector and to ensure that we can achieve the BIA vision for the UK to be the third largest global biotech cluster.
You can read the full Life Sciences Industrial Strategy at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/life-sciences-industrial-strategy. For more information on the BIA go to https://www.bioindustry.org/ where you can find out all of the latest news and information on our key policy areas.
Trade Association for Innovative Life Sciences in the UK
105 Victoria Street, London, SW1E 6QT