Today’s publication of the Life Sciences 2010: Delivering the Blueprint report, by the Office for Life Sciences (OLS), demonstrates tangible results and outlines a roadmap for the continued success of the life sciences industry in the United Kingdom.
This initiative, underpinned by a unique collaboration across government, the NHS, academia and the industry, has injected a fresh sense of urgency to the key challenge of securing a flourishing life sciences industry in the UK. The importance of the life sciences industry to the UK economy was outlined within last year’s New Industry, New Jobs report, noting this as an area where “Britain has strength and Government can make a difference by clearing obstacles or correcting market failure”.
Since the publication of the Life Sciences Blueprint last year, achievements include the launch of the Innovation Pass and Patent Box initiatives.
The UK’s life sciences trade associations “the Association of British Healthcare Industries (ABHI), Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), BioIndustry Association (BIA) and the British In Vitro Diagnostics Association (BIVDA) – are pleased with the strong progress that has been made to date in delivering the Blueprint actions. For many actions, delivery is still ongoing; we therefore welcome Ministers” commitment today to fostering the partnership between the industry and government, maintaining momentum and continuing to deliver results for the UK.
The key measures in Life Sciences 2010 all act to strengthen the lifeline from British life science discoveries to NHS patients and include:
Skills: The Industry-Higher Education Forum which brings together relevant stakeholders in life sciences higher education for the first time. The Forum will take a much needed strategic view of critical disciplines and skills gaps (e.g clinical pharmacology and in vivo sciences), vital for the UK to succeed in the global race for talent.
Super Cluster: Unique in the UK, the creation of Capability Clusters, initially focusing on respiratory and inflammatory joint disease, will strengthen collaborative efforts between academia, the NHS and industry ensuring a holistic approach to the development of new therapies.
Clinical research: The embedding of clinical trials into core NHS activity in the recently published NHS Operating Framework is a step forward; what we need now are specific performance targets. We look forward to working with OLS in the next phase to strengthen the priority for clinical research, particularly as the longer term impact of the Super Cluster will be contingent on this.
Regenerative medicine: The Technology Strategy Board is managing a £21.5 million programme to support key areas of commercial R&D and the development of R&D partnerships in Regen Med.
Patent Box: This will help retain UK discoveries for UK development and manufacturing. We are keen to maintain dialogue with OLS and the Treasury on consortium relief proposals to encourage investment in SMEs.
The Innovation Pass: This will enable certain medicines, which have the potential to deliver improved patient benefits, but that will struggle to show cost effectiveness at launch to reach NHS patients quickly. We look forward to working with OLS and government economists in the next phase to demonstrate the benefits of a broader definition of the value of medicines
NHS Life Sciences Delivery Board: The Delivery Board announced in Going for Growth: Our Future Prosperity is tasked with improving the uptake and adoption of innovative medicines and technologies, to benefit patients.
Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention (QIPP): Industry has much to contribute in working with the NHS to bring its products and skills to address its Quality & Productivity challenge.
Richard Barker, Director General of the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) said:
Life Sciences 2010 is a major milestone in the OLS initiative and demonstrates the potential of this new model of industry and government collaboration to deliver truly tangible results. Work to implement and extend this strategy must be a high priority for both government and industry in the coming years, to maintain the UK’s leadership role and the flow of life-changing, innovative therapies for patients.
Peter Ellingworth, Chief Executive of the Association of British Healthcare Industries (ABHI) said:
“The Office for Life Sciences has reinforced the role of the medical technology industry in the provision of innovative products for the NHS and delivering benefit to patients. For our industry the establishment of the NHS Life Sciences Delivery Board is a major development in the intelligent utilisation of medical technology to deliver benefits for the NHS ” both for patients and for cost effective service provision”.
Dr Clive Dix, Chairman of the BioIndustry Association (BIA), said:
“The first year of work between the Office for Life Sciences and the four life sciences industry associations has been highly positive and has delivered a number of significant outcomes for our members. It is essential that Government continues to represent the life sciences sector with a champion in government responsible for pulling together disparate departments. We are delighted that Lord Drayson, who has demonstrated that he can bring about the change required for the life sciences sector, will continue to lead on this work.
“A good example of this is the establishment by the Office for Life Sciences of the UK Life Sciences Super Cluster and the appointment of its supervisory board. The BIA believes the move away from geographically defined clusters to a virtual cluster built around therapeutic capabilities will allow all of the UK’s talented scientists and business people in the life sciences sector contribute to developing much needed treatments for patients and to delivering a stronger sector.”
Doris-Ann Williams, Director General of the British In Vitro Diagnostics Association (BIVDA), said:
“The work of the Office for Life Sciences has provided an excellent example of what can happen when Government and business work together. The life sciences sector represents real potential for growth in the UK economy, and so it is essential that all businesses within the sector are encouraged to flourish. In today’s financial climate, diagnostics can allow for more efficient and more effective use of NHS funds, by improving the speed of diagnosis, enabling better disease management and personalised treatment. BIVDA would like the OLS to continue during 2010 with a clear plan for actions to enable the full utilisation of diagnostics.”