Life Sciences Vision - The future of the UK Life Sciences sector
14 July 2021
Last week, the UK Government (the Government) released its ‘Life Sciences Vision’ (the LSV), which sets out the Government and the life science sector’s ambitions for the next 10 years.
At its heart, the LSV aims to take the successful ways of working used in the fight against Covid-19 and apply those to other diseases. In addition, the LSV aims to build on the UK’s research infrastructure, support the NHS to use innovative technologies and create the right business environment for businesses operating in the sector.
In order to allow the LSV to tackle some of the largest healthcare challenges, specific healthcare missions have also been identified by the Government, NHS England, industry, academia and medical research charities:
- Developing translational capabilities in neurodegeneration and dementia
- Understanding mental health conditions
- Enabling early diagnosis of, and immune therapy for, cancer
- Preventing and treating cardiovascular diseases
- Reducing mortality from respiratory diseases
- Addressing the biology of ageing
- Developing novel vaccines
The LSV covers enormous ground, but there is a particular focus on investment, regulation, manufacturing and patient delivery.
InvestmentThe Government is due to launch a GBP200 million Life Sciences Investment Programme in summer 2021 and, through the UK-UAE Sovereign Investment Partnership, Mubadala has made an investment commitment to UK Life Science sector worth GBP800m. The aim is for the UK (across the Government, industry and philanthropy) to invest 2.4% of GDP in research and development by 2027. A Life Science Scale Up Taskforce will also be established to make it easier for life sciences companies to start, grow and scale up in the UK.
RegulationThe Government will use the recently passed Medicines and Medical Devices Act 2021 to improve existing clinical trial legislation (meaning that it will no longer reflect the EU’s Clinical Trial Directive). The MHRA will work with NHS partners and international regulators to deliver the fastest regulatory assessments and decisions for medicines, building on existing innovative regulatory models such as the Early Access to Medicines Scheme and the Innovative Licensing and Access Pathway. In addition, the MHRA will consult with the sector later in 2021 on the proposed new regulatory framework for medical devices and in-vitro diagnostics, building on parts of the EU’s Medical Device Regulations 2017 and In-Vitro Diagnostics Regulations 2017 and making changes to support innovation and patient safety.
ManufacturingThe LSV aims to create a competitive environment for businesses to incentivise and onshore high-value manufacturing capabilities in the UK. As well as supporting future pandemic preparedness, the pandemic’s manufacturing infrastructure will be transformed for use in non-pandemic settings.
Patient deliveryThe Government plans to increase NHS England’s commercial capacity to deliver innovative deals for medicines, digital, diagnostics and medtech and make it as easy for clinicians to use medtech and digital health products as it is for them to prescribe medicines. Furthermore, the LSV includes supporting the innovative use of off-patent drugs and technologies where no approved treatment exists, to address unmet patient need. Finally, the LSV aims to harness the enormous potential of health data, whilst ensuring stringent data privacy safeguards are in place.