Government UK life sciences strategy a significant step forward

The BioIndustry Association (BIA) welcomes the Prime Minister's announcement of a coordinated life sciences strategy which could provide a foundation for the future of the bioscience sector in the UK

The Life Sciences Strategy includes measures to improve the funding environment for companies as well as to ensure that innovative medicines reach the patients that need them as soon as possible. Among the measures that the BIA considers most important for our members are:

  • The establishment of a £180 million Biomedical Catalyst Fund to nurture innovative technologies.
  • Early in 2012 the MHRA will bring forward for consultation proposals for an 'Early Access Scheme'.
  • Create a vital role for the NHS in supporting patients who wish to be involved in clinical research
Glyn Edwards, interim Chief Executive of the BIA said:

"Today's announcement by the Prime Minister to implement a strategy for life sciences is to be welcomed. Specifically the BIA is very pleased to see the Prime Minister commit to a £180 million BioMedical Catalyst Fund; we look forward to seeing the details of this initiative, and how it will work to support innovative SMEs facing the 'valley of death' funding gap. The BIA also welcomes measures to introduce an early access scheme for new medicines, and we note the intention to extend this scheme to drugs at an earlier stage than phase III development, where supported by suitable data. We will of course continue to work with government to develop these proposals which are important for the development of a vibrant SME sector within the Life Sciences industry.

"However the BIA believes that government should not stop with the actions announced today. We have been lobbying for the introduction of a Citizens Innovation Fund for example, a tax free retail investment product targeted at the general public, allowing up to £15,000 per person per annum to be invested in funds which are exclusively targeted at innovative SMEs."

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