• Up to £200m committed by BEIS and DHSC to support NHS-led health research into diagnosis and treatment through new privacy-preserving platforms and clinical research services
  • New government funding of £60m will help expand life sciences manufacturing in the UK following the country’s successful contribution to the global roll-out of the vaccine
  • the funding will support the government’s life sciences vision and upgrading agenda by supporting the creation of highly skilled jobs across the country and supporting world-class health research

Patients across the country are set to benefit from cutting-edge medical advances and treatments as the government invests £260million today (Wednesday March 2) to support research and development, as well as the manufacturing of new medicines , devices and diagnostics.

Of the funding announced today, up to £200 million will be invested to enable research to better access NHS data through trusted research environments and digital clinical trial services. This will make crucial data safer and more quickly available for research, while providing the highest levels of privacy. It will also ensure that the NHS is able to get lifesaving new treatments to patients faster and support more diverse and inclusive clinical research to tackle health inequalities and improve patient care.

A further £60 million will support commercial-scale manufacturing investment by companies at the forefront of innovation, from cell and gene therapies and older and better diagnostic technologies, to medical devices.

Funding for manufacturing investments will be distributed through the new Life Sciences Innovative Manufacturing Fund (LSIMF), following the success of the former Drug and Diagnostics Manufacturing Transformation Fund.

The fund will help support the growth of the UK’s world-leading life sciences sector, while supporting the government’s upgrading agenda by creating jobs and ensuring the UK continues to be a destination attractive investment.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said:

The last 2 years have shown how important our fantastic medical and life sciences industry is to the UK, not only in dealing with the pandemic, but also for the vital economic opportunities they create across the country.

By providing £260 million to boost medical manufacturing and medical research in the UK, we are ensuring industry has the support it needs to improve patient outcomes and generate high-skilled jobs while strengthening the UK manufacturing base in the process.

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said:

NHS data makes the whole world safer and healthier and has been essential in saving thousands of lives over the covid-19 pandemic.

This funding will allow the UK to continue to help researchers securely access NHS data so patients can benefit from innovative treatments faster.

I am absolutely committed to strengthening the UK’s position as a world-leading research centre, transforming our health service and ensuring the NHS continues to deliver excellent patient care.

The £200m funding across the healthcare system will deliver on government commitments set out in the life sciences vision, to harness NHS data to drive health research and innovation, building on the pioneering work carried out during the pandemic to develop diagnostics and treatments for covid-19.

This includes the RECOVERY trial which used NHS data via NHS DigiTrials and led to the discovery of dexamethasone, the world’s first proven treatment for covid-19, in just 100 days, which has saved at least a million lives around the world.

By accelerating and facilitating the setting up and running of clinical trials, this funding will also ensure that the UK continues to be at the forefront of life science research. The new infrastructure will energize efforts to improve the nation’s health and achieve the life sciences vision, including in critical areas such as cancer, cardiovascular medicine and mental health.

The UK has one of the strongest medical and life sciences industries in the world, with a turnover of over £88.9 billion, supporting 268,000 jobs across the country. As outlined in the Life Sciences Vision, the government is committed to building on the UK’s existing strengths to continue to attract large-scale manufacturing and the well-paying job opportunities that come with it.

The pandemic has further reinforced the importance of the UK life sciences industry and of having a resilient UK-based medical manufacturing industry and supply chains, with the UK government investing hundreds of million pounds in making a successful vaccine thanks to the work of the Vaccine Task Force.

Today’s manufacturing funding announcement is part of the Government’s continued commitment to the life sciences sector, with £354m allocated to life sciences manufacturing through the Global Britain Investment Fund. This has also included funding to build the resilience of UK vaccine manufacturing for the covid response and potential future health emergencies, among other projects.

Science Minister George Freeman said:

UK leadership in the discovery of new diagnostics, devices and medicines – from gene therapy to digital stents – is now driving our work in the manufacture of new and advanced medical technologies.

Our new Life Sciences Innovative Manufacturing Fund will not only help to further develop national medical manufacturing capabilities and improve Britain’s ability to respond to future pandemics, but will also help create well-paid, highly-skilled jobs across the UK – an essential part of our upgrade plans.

Medicines Manufacturing Industry Partnership (MMIP) President Brian Henry said:

The Life Sciences Innovative Manufacturing Fund is an excellent development. Science has already created the next generation of vaccines and advanced therapies for patients, we want to see the UK take its place as the world’s leading center for their manufacture.

The Fund will help boost the attractiveness of the UK as a place where businesses can invest in the latest technology, create jobs and growth and build the UK into a manufacturing and science superpower.

Dr Ben Goldacre, DataLab Director, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford, said:

This funding announced today will advance the long-standing ambition to expand access to NHS data while safeguarding patient privacy, creating secure research environments that support modern, transparent and efficient approaches of data analysis.

The Life Sciences Innovative Manufacturing Fund succeeds the Medicines and Diagnostics Manufacturing Transformation Fund (MDMTF). It was also created to help develop and strengthen the UK medicines and diagnostics manufacturing industry by encouraging companies to use new technologies and build or expand facilities across the country.

The companies obtained funding under the MDMTFannounced for the first time today, include:

  • Ortho Clinicals Diagnostics UK, which will expand its ranges of innovative biological diagnostic products, at its site in Pencoed, Wales
  • Custom Pharmaceuticals Limited, which plans to build a new facility in Brighton that will create the capacity to manufacture and develop difficult-to-handle, high-potency drugs for the UK NHS and export biopharma market
  • Randox Laboratories, which will build a new large-scale manufacturing facility in Northern Ireland.