The government has published a new Life Sciences Vision strategy which sets out its agenda for the sector over the next ten years. At the forefront of the document is a mission to boost research into dementia and promote the earlier diagnosis and treatment of cancer. The strategy promises to build on the successes of the UK’s response to Covid-19.
The plan was co-developed with businesses and industry experts to set out a healthcare framework which will focus on the prevention, early diagnosis, and monitoring of disease in the early stages. Research and development into new drugs, diagnostics, and medical technology will be prioritised, so they can be rolled out within shorter timescales.
The strategy has been welcomed by leaders in the life sciences industry, Pharma Phorum reports. The BioIndustry Association (BIA) and the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) both collaborated with the government to draw up the document.
ABPI chief executive Richard Torbett said it is an “ambitious…blueprint for how the UK can become a global hub for life sciences and, in turn, a science superpower.”
A recent BIA revealed that the UK’s biotech companies now rank third in the world, after US hubs in Massachusetts and San Francisco. The UK industry attracted almost £1.6bn in financing between March and the end of May. The government is also launching a £200m Life Sciences Investment programme, which is set to attract £400m in private capital.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “We are indebted to the ingenuity of UK life sciences and its pioneers, with the discovery of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and the seamless collaboration between our scientists, industry, regulators and NHS saving millions of lives during the pandemic.”
Johnson added: “We must make sure this is the norm and use this new way of working to search for life-changing breakthroughs against diseases such as cancer, dementia and obesity, as we have done with COVID.”
Besides forefronting the fight against cancer and dementia, the strategy will sustain the momentum in vaccine discovery, development, and manufacturing. It will also focus on the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease and target major risk factors such as obesity, and reducing the mortality rates from respiratory diseases.
Furthermore, the blueprint seeks to address the underlying biology of aging, and increase the understanding of mental health conditions.
The government has also outlined the ways it intends to support industry to achieve these aims. It has set out a plan to simplify the governance and oversight of NHS health data, promote the role of the NHS as an innovation partner, and boost spending on research and development. It will also seek to broaden the ways UK companies can access finance.
The blueprint has also proposed the creation of a Life Science Scale Up Taskforce, which will identify and work to overcome issues which are obstructing further development in the sector. With health and science high on the agenda, the UK is fast becoming a Life Sciences superpower, with clear ambitions for the future.
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