The BioIndustry Association (BIA) welcomes the progress made to date on the Strategy for UK Life Sciences as reported by government in its “One Year On” report.
In particular, the Biomedical Catalyst, which was announced in the strategy last year, has been well received by the sector and is providing companies with much-needed accelerator funding to overcome the so-called ‘valley of death’.
With regards to the update of the strategy, the BIA is pleased that government:
- has earmarked £100 million for a new framework to support the development of genomics and bioinformatics technologies
- has allocated £20 million of new funding to the UK Regenerative Medicine Platform to provide imaging and cell manufacture technologies as well as a clean room; and
- will invest £38 million to develop the National Biologics Industry Innovation Centre, a large scale open access facility for the manufacture of biological medicines.
Additionally, the Medical Research Council (MRC) will invest of £10 million in three major collaborations in stratified medicine.
Steve Bates, BIA Chief Executive Officer, said:
“The Biomedical Catalyst is providing significant funds to help companies progress key projects and demonstrates the government’s commitment to early stage life science companies. The funding process has been simple and flexible which is important to small companies.
“The government’s decision to invest in genomics will build upon the UK’s strong heritage in this area to improve patient care and create jobs and growth for the UK.
“By investing further in imaging and manufacturing support of the nation’s capabilities in regenerative medicine, which has already included the establishment of the Cell Therapy Catapult, the government will help speed the development of these next therapies.
“The establishment of a National Biologics Industry Innovation Centre is welcome and should help capture more of the value of the biopharmaceutical development pipeline in the UK.
“The MRC’s investment in stratified medicine brings together academia, industry, charities and patients and will help progress understanding of rheumatoid arthritis, hepatitis C and Gaucher disease and demonstrates that projects that bridge the whole life sciences sector are a key part of addressing the treatment of disease.
“BIA members still believe that a funded and workable Early Access to Medicines scheme in the UK will be an important part of ensuring that new treatments reach the patients that need them as soon as possible.
“While all of these projects are welcome, financing remains a key issue for bioscience companies in the UK. The BIA believes that the introduction of Citizens’ Innovation Funds would capture the patriotic potential of the UK public to invest in innovative technologies.”