UKRI announces funding for life sciences, including new Manchester facility

26 May 2023 | Muriel Cozier

‘These are businesses that are growing our economy while having much wider benefits to our health […]’

The UK government is providing £650 million in funding to the UK’s life science sector in an initiative known as ‘Life Sci for Growth.’ The overall funding package brings together 10 different policies, including some £48 million for innovation focused on preparing for health emergencies.

The UK Biobank will also be supported, through UK Research and Innovation, with funding for a new facility at Manchester Science Park, helping SMEs collaborate with industry and academia.

‘Demand is growing year-on-year as UK Biobank’s datasets get richer over time. The insights enabled by UK Biobank have already driven change in the NHS and we look forward to seeing this powerful resource continue to thrive,’ said Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, Chief Executive of UKRI, as the funding was announced. The government package also includes £250 million to incentivise pension providers to invest in promising science and technology companies.

Ahead of the funding announcement, the Life Sciences Council met on 25 May for its biannual discussion between government ministers and global life science leaders, to discuss how the UK could address recent declines in investment and clinical trials performance. The meeting included the UK’s Chancellor Jeremy Hunt and Pascal Soriot, CEO of AstraZeneca. At the start of this year the UK Bioindustry Association released a report indicating that UK biotech had seen a drop-off in investment during 2022, compared with 2021.

The government said that along with the funding, Life Sci for Growth would improve the regulatory environment for life sciences companies and the UK’s approach to commercial clinical trials. ‘These are businesses that are growing our economy while having much wider benefits to our health – and this multi-million pound investment will help them go further,’ said Chancellor Jeremy Hunt.

Steve Bates OBE, CEO of the UK Bioindustry Association said: ‘We welcome today’s initiatives […] 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.’

Medchem 2023

From 10–13 September, SCI and the RSC will be holding the 22nd Medicinal Chemistry Symposium in Cambridge UK. Speakers from AstraZenaca, Novartis Institutes for BioMedica, and Roche have been confirmed for the four day event.

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