BIA welcomes Chancellor’s life sciences growth package
The UK Government has announced a package of investment and policy initiatives to support the continued growth of the sector following a meeting of the Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt MP, and industry leaders in Downing Street.
Commenting on the Life Sciences Council meeting and today’s announcements, Steve Bates OBE, CEO of the UK BioIndustry Association (BIA), said:
“The Life Sciences Council is a key moment when our industry and ministers come together to discuss the challenges and opportunities for UK life sciences, ensuring our industry continues to grow in the UK to deliver jobs and innovative new medicines for the NHS. The Government has shown vital commitment to our sector, most crucially in listening and responding to our concerns when R&D tax relief was threatened, with the Chancellor announcing a welcome enhanced rate of relief for R&D-intensive SMEs at the Spring Budget, and in their swift and decisive action to prevent the failure of Silicon Valley Bank UK in March. In the Council meeting, we discussed how we can build on our close and productive relationship to deliver continued success.
“Today’s package of support for the UK life sciences sector will help address fundamental challenges large and small companies in our industry face as they look to invest and grow in the UK.
“We welcome today’s initiatives, including those that will improve access to finance for start-ups and scale-ups, and to create a pro-innovation regulatory environment. These positive steps will put us on the front foot in the global race to develop and manufacture the next generation of medicines and technologies, underpinning our economic growth and better health for years to come.”
Commenting on the O’Shaughnessy review of clinical trials and Vallance review of life sciences regulation, Steve Bates, said:
“Running effective commercial clinical trials in the UK is a win for all involved. NHS patients who get access to novel therapies, the NHS which gets income and upskilled, engaged clinical teams, while the life science industry gets the valuable, timely data that companies need to progress products to global registration and market.
“This detailed report from Lord O’Shaughnessy demonstrates that we can do this and provides a sharp and detailed focus on what more needs to be done to ensure the UK wins much, much more of this sought-after work in the months and years ahead.
“Sir Patrick Vallance’s review of life sciences regulation provides sensible and tangible actions on how regulators can help rather than hinder the development and delivery of biology-based innovation, from innovative medicines to lab-grown meat. The UK has a competitive advantage in engineering biology, which will be crucial to delivering our net zero ambitions and countless other benefits for society and our economy, but we must create a supportive environment for small innovative companies developing these cutting-edge technologies. We urge the Government to move swiftly to implement Sir Patrick’s recommendations.”
Commenting on the investments in medicines manufacturing, Steve Bates, said:
“The UK’s life science ecosystem is the source of some of the world’s most impactful and best-selling medicines, but we have historically failed to capture the full economic benefits of this because they are manufactured overseas. The next generation of medicines coming online, like cell and gene therapies and mRNA-based technologies, provide an opportunity for the UK to attract foreign direct investment, create new, high-value manufacturing jobs and grow exports.
“By investing in leading manufacturing companies across the country and committing to further investment through the new Biomanufacturing Fund, the Government will ensure the next generation of medicines are developed and manufactured for the globe from the UK.”
Commenting on the call for proposals for the Long-Term Investment For Technology and Science (LIFTS) programme, Dr Dan Mahony, UK Government Life Science Investment Envoy and Chair of BIA said:
“Our world-leading life science start-ups and scale-ups have attracted record levels of investment in recent years, but that capital is primarily coming from overseas. Financial institutions in the City of London, including pension schemes and insurance funds, are not investing in our innovative companies. While foreign investment is incredibly welcome, UK investors are missing out on the opportunity on their doorstep and innovative British companies are missing out on additional funding that could accelerate their growth.
"We know from the pensions industries of Canada, Australia and the United States that venture capital investing is an essential component of a diversified portfolio for pension savers. Greater investment in the life sciences sector will deliver real financial returns for people’s retirement while growing the economy and providing valuable new medicines to address terrible diseases that affect us all.”
Notes to editors:
- For further comment, please contact Martin at [email protected] or on 07850 518 075
- Dan Mahony was appointed as the Government’s Life Science Investment Envoy in November 2022
- Government figures show there are over 6,548 businesses in the UK life sciences industry, and approximately 70-80% are SMEs. These businesses employ over 282,000 people and generated £94.2 billion turnover in 2021. The number of businesses and the number of sites operated by these businesses have both seen an upward trend since 2009, with 23% more businesses and 32% more sites operating across the UK in 2021 compared to 2009.
- Medical innovation is driven by smaller companies, which represent 65% of the global drug development pipeline with an additional 7% being developed by them in partnership with larger firms.
- The UK accounts for 35% of all life science start-ups created in Europe since 2012.