UK Government Announces Huge Investment Through Second Life-Sciences Sector Deal

December 5, 2018

The UK's government has revealed the details of the second Life Sciences sector deal, forming part of the Industrial Strategy.

The government of the United Kingdom has revealed the details of the second Life Sciences sector deal in a Dec. 5, 2018 press release. The deal, which forms part of the government’s Industrial Strategy, will support the life-sciences sector through collaboration and investment worth more than £1.3 billion (approximately $1.7 billion).

This new deal includes a £1 billion (approximately $1.3 billion) investment into research and development by global biopharmaceutical company, UCB, and will involve a program of research into the development of life-saving early disease detection technology that will be performed collaboratively by government and industry using artificial intelligence (AI).

“The sector deal is an important step towards fully implementing the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy and a commitment from government to help secure the UK’s leading status as an R&D hub as we leave the EU,” said Mike Thompson, chief executive of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), in a press statement. “The joint ambition of our industry-like today’s £1 billion investment from UCB-and the government is to capitalize on the UK’s international leadership in new technologies such as genomic medicine, AI, and making the best use of health data. Getting this right means NHS hospitals reaping the benefits of global clinical trials and the financial rewards they bring; doctors able to prescribe the latest treatments and patients getting the best standard of care.”

“The era of AI assisted medicine is well and truly with us, and it’s great to see that data [are] at the forefront of the new sector deal. The Accelerating Detection of Disease project and the precision cancer research partnership will be major steps forward in unlocking the potential of data to benefit patients,” added Professor Carole Longson, chief scientific officer of the ABPI. “Unlocking the potential of data is also one of our priorities at the ABPI. By using existing data better, and creating new ways to generate better data, we can accelerate the development of new treatments and improve the way we manage disease. Data can also help health services make best use of their resources by identifying the best value treatments in a real-world environment. By joining forces and working collaboratively across boundaries, the UK can be at the forefront of the next industrial revolution.”

The deal brings together 10 companies and has the backing of a range of organizations from across the life-sciences sector. It is aimed at ensuring the UK remains at the forefront of disease treatment and creation of future industries and treatments, such as genomics and AI-powered diagnostics.

“From the first vaccine to the discovery of DNA, the UK has always been at the forefront of medical endeavor and healthcare innovations. That is why we are building on our unique strengths by placing life sciences at the centre of our modern Industrial Strategy, backed by the biggest increase in public research and development investment in UK history,” said Greg Clark, business secretary, in a government release. “This is our modern Industrial Strategy in action as we work hand in hand with industry to ensure the UK remains the go-to destination for launching new businesses, new discoveries, and treatments to benefit health around the world. The announcement of UCB’s investment in new research and development is a clear vote of confidence in UK life-sciences research base and business.”

Sources: gov.uk and ABPI