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LifeSciencesUK, a new initiative representing the human healthcare industry, has been launched today by the UK’s four key healthcare trade associations to build on the government’s commitment to transform the life sciences environment in the UK.
The LifeSciencesUK initiative will facilitate joint working between the UK’s major human healthcare industries: biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, medical devices and diagnostics.
The founder members of LifeSciencesUK are the Association of British Healthcare Industries (ABHI), the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), the BioIndustry Association (BIA) and the British In Vitro Diagnostics Association (BIVDA), all of whom will continue to represent their individual sector interests.
LifeSciencesUK will help to strengthen and grow the UK’s vibrant life sciences sector.
Key objectives include a drive to continuously improve the investment environment for UK companies, to improve access to new medicines, devices, technologies and diagnostics, and demonstrate the importance of UK life sciences to the UK economy.
As recently highlighted in the Government report, “Strength and opportunity”, employment in both the medical technology, including in vitro diagnostics, and medical biotechnology sectors grew in 2010 and turnover in both sectors also increased.
Additionally, the government’s R&D Scoreboard showed that the pharmaceuticals and biotechnology sector continued to be the largest contributor to R&D in the UK in 2009, accounting for more than 35% of all R&D investment in the 1,000 top-performing companies in the UK.
LifeSciencesUK will present a strong, unified voice to the government, allowing for better collaboration with industry across departments, particularly those of business and health, as well as to academia, patient groups, the media and other stakeholders.
This will be instrumental in bringing the benefits offered by the life sciences sector not only to the national economy, but also to UK patients in the form of improved and more cost-effective healthcare.
LifeSciencesUK is born out of the four trade associations’ collaborative work with the Office for Life Sciences and on other topics of joint interest, such as the recent submission to the government’s growth review.
Peter Ellingworth, Chief Executive of the ABHI, said: “It is important to both the life science industry and the UK economy that all four organisations work together to ensure that the UK is a fertile environment for life science companies – whether they be large or small, science or manufacturing based.
“The work done by LifeSciencesUK will complement and support work being done across government by various teams concerned with the life sciences industries and health policy and I look forward to working with them to support the industry.”
Richard Barker, Director General of the ABPI, said: “Global competition in life sciences is mounting, so we need to ensure the UK’s comparative advantage remains high. By working together, our united force will strive to ensure patients have access to the new medicines and technologies they need.
“We want the UK to be the number one destination for international life sciences investment. The life sciences sector is a jewel in the UK’s economic crown and will be vital in getting Britain back on its feet.”
Nigel Gaymond, Chief Executive of the BIA, said: “The launch of this initiative will enable the four associations to present a united and powerful voice on areas of common interest, such as the importance of life sciences to the UK’s economic growth.
“This will enable us to be more effective in creating a supportive environment for the industry, which will ultimately result in greater healthcare benefits for patients. It is also a further step towards increasing the visibility of the UK as a global destination for life sciences.”
Doris-Ann Williams MBE, Director General of BIVDA, said: “Over the last two years BIVDA has enjoyed working closely with the other life sciences trade associations. Better communication and coordination between our sectors has been of enormous benefit in highlighting life sciences’ sizeable contribution to the UK economy and its vital importance in improving healthcare in this country.
“In vitro diagnostics has a central role to play in helping to turn the UK’s inherent strengths in life sciences into economic growth, as well as realising improved outcomes and cost-effectiveness for the NHS.
“By aligning under the LifeSciencesUK initiative, BIVDA believes that our four associations can better work together to build on the good work we have already started in fully achieving the huge potential our industry holds for Britain.”
Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts, said: “I am pleased that these bodies have come together to form LifeSciencesUK and to help promote the UK as a location of choice for life sciences. I am looking forward to LifeSciencesUK working closely with Chris Brinsmead, the Government’s Life Sciences Business Adviser, to support Lord Howe and myself so the industry can realise the UK’s potential in this area.”
Lord Howe, Health Minister, said: “I would like to welcome the establishment of LifeSciencesUK which brings together four of the main life sciences industries. Life sciences benefit our economy as well as producing innovative drugs and medical technologies to improve health outcomes for patients. This exciting initiative will allow the industries to work closely in helping the NHS provide quality care and improve productivity with new technologies.”