Sir John Bell  unveils proposals to build UK’s status as world leader in life sciences

Sir John Bell proposes to build UK’s status as world leader in life sciences

Sir John Bell today outlined findings of an independent sector-led review into the £64bn life sciences industry at the University of Birmingham.

Today’s review will inform the basis of Government work with the sector towards a deal in the coming months.

Business Secretary Greg Clark and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt also announced details of £160m of funding to support the sector, including the NHS.

Industry proposals to help the UK’s life sciences sector become an international benchmark for success were unveiled by Professor Sir John Bell during a speech at the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Translational Medicine.

Sir John Bell outlined the industry’s vision for how government can work alongside the sector to boost large and small businesses across the £64 billion life sciences sector.

In the Government’s Industrial Strategy green paper, launched in January, life sciences was one of five of the UK’s leading sectors tasked with working with stakeholders across the industry to identify opportunities for how Government can support the industry.

The industry-led Life Sciences Industrial Strategy follows Sir John Bell’s comprehensive cross-sector review into the long-term future of the industry and brings together input and recommendations from a broad range of stakeholders, including global companies such as AstraZeneca, Johnson and Johnson, MSD, GSK and healthcare groups, SMEs and charities. 

Sir John Bell said: “The vision for the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy is an ambitious one and sets out proposals for how the UK can continue to capitalise on its strengths in the sector, both to encourage economic growth and to improve health outcomes for patients.

“We have created a strategy which capitalises on our strong science base to further build the industry into a globally-unique and internationally competitive life sciences eco-system, supported by collaboration across industry, Government, the NHS, academia, and research funders to deliver health and wealth.   

“I look forward to working with Government to consider the strategy’s recommendations, including those that can be taken forward as part of an ambitious Sector Deal.”

The Life Sciences Industrial Strategy, a report to the Government from the life sciences sector, is organised under five key themes – science, growth, NHS, data, and skills – with proposals to build on the UK’s strengths in each area.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said: “The life sciences sector is of critical importance to the UK economy and UK health – with over 5,000 companies, nearly 235,000 employees and a turnover of £64 billion in 2016 – and the Government is committed to continuing to help this sector go from strength to strength.

“The Life Sciences Industrial Strategy demonstrates the world-class expertise the UK already has in this sector and represents the industry’s vision for how we can build on our world-leading reputation in this field.

“We will be engaging with Sir John Bell in the coming months in an effort to work towards a Sector Deal that helps us seize the opportunities in this area.”

The Government has increased investment in research and development over the next 4 years by £4.7 billion to create jobs and raise living standards through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

The Business Secretary has announced that the first £1 billion of investment is being made in six key areas in 2017/18, driving progress and innovation that will create opportunities for businesses and sectors across the UK.

Chief Executive of Innovate UK, Dr Ruth McKernan, said: “I know from my own experience that the UK is a world leader in life sciences.

“These new proposals underline our strength and will keep the nation at the cutting edge. At Innovate UK, we look forward to playing a key role in its delivery.

“Working with the research community and exciting companies, with equally exciting ideas, we will drive innovation to create new jobs and deliver greater productivity.”