Government aims to turn UK into world leader in life sciences

Government aims to turn UK into world leader in life sciences

The UK government has expressed its ambition to establish the country as a world leader in life sciences.

To support this objective, £146 million is to be allocated to five different manufacturing centres to help discover new medicines.

A further £14 million will be shared between 11 medical research and development centres.

Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, noted that the UK has "always been at the forefront of scientific excellence".

Indeed, he said landmarks such as the discovery of antibiotics and its "world-leading" 100,000 Genomes project mean it has a "proud history of medical breakthrough and innovation".

"I want patients to continue to be at the front of the queue for the best treatments available, whether that means early access to trials, giving staff brand new innovations and technology to work with, or being at the heart of research to share best practice quickly across the health and social care system," Mr Hunt commented.

He added that a strong and growing life sciences sector will ensure this, especially at a time when the UK is negotiating its exit from the European Union.

Greg Clark, the business secretary, added that the life sciences sector is of critical importance both to public health in the UK and the wider economy.

Indeed, he said the industry now consists of more than 5,000 companies, generated a turnover of £64 billion in 2016 and is responsible for employing almost 235,000 people.

"The government is committed to continuing to help this sector go from strength to strength," Mr Clark stated.

The ministers were speaking ahead of the unveiling of Professor Sir John Bell's independent sector-led review into the UK life sciences industry.