UK Government

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills: Life Sciences Super Cluster Announced as Support for Life Sciences is Bolstered

Press Release   •   Jan 27, 2010 10:25 GMT

Today the Government announced plans for a new UK Life Sciences Super Cluster, supported by £1 million of Government investment. Bringing together industry, academia and the NHS, it will help deliver the next generation of medicines and technologies needed to support people suffering from chronic diseases.

At its heart will be the creation of Therapeutic Capability Clusters. These will be one-stop-shops for the UK’s top research in specific fields. They will bring together academic and NHS centres of excellence, which will work with industry to harness the UK’s expert capabilities and work on early stage clinical development and experimental medicine.

The new Life Sciences Super Cluster will be kick-started later this year with a pilot in immunology and inflammation focussing on disease areas such as asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.

The announcement caps off a year of action for UK Life Sciences. In July 2009, the OLS published the Life Sciences Blueprint setting out an ambitious and comprehensive set of measures to transform the UK operating environment.  In the six months since publication, much has been achieved:

·               A Patent Box, applying a 10% rate of corporation tax to patent-related income from April 2013. This will strengthen incentives for companies to invest in innovative activity and locate in the UK. Government will consult with business on the detailed design of the Box in time for Finance Bill 2011;

·               A £21.5 million RegenMed programme managed by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), which will support our growing and strategically-important regenerative medicine industry.  The TSB launched two competitions, involving over 40 companies, in 2009 and will hold further competitions in 2010;

·               An Innovation Pass, which will give patients earlier access to promising licensed medicines. A consultation on this three-year initiative began in November 2009. A one-year pilot will start in April 2010 with funding of £25 million;

Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills Lord Mandelson said:

“Our Life Sciences industry is exactly the type of high-tech, high-value industry where Britain has real strengths and the potential for growth in the future.

“The Government has demonstrated that we are prepared to take real action to support Life Sciences and this is already having an impact on investment decisions, but this is just the beginning. We will maintain this momentum and continue to build a thriving environment for UK Life Science”

Health Secretary Andy Burnham said:

“Last month I set out a plan to reshape the NHS in the first half of this new decade – to innovate at every level to meet the challenge of delivering preventative, people-centred care, that is also high-quality and highly productive. Working together with academia and industry, the NHS is championing new treatments, techniques and technologies to do this.

"As we move into a more challenging financial climate, successful research and innovation in preventing, diagnosing and treating disease will be key to increasing both the quality and productivity of services into the future. Joint initiatives with the Life Sciences Industry such as Therapeutic Capability Clusters, and the NHS Life Sciences Innovation Delivery Board are providing innovative ways to meet that challenge.”

Science and Innovation Minister Lord Drayson said:

“For life sciences to fulfill its vast economic promise, the NHS must be an engine for economic growth as well as providing the best healthcare free at the point of use. The OLS is helping to make that happen, but there is still a lot to do.”

Notes to editors

1.   The Office for Life Sciences was launched by the Prime Minister in January 2009. The Life Sciences Blueprint was published in July 2009 and is available at www.bis.gov.uk/ols

2.   The document published today, Life Sciences 2010: Delivering the Blueprint, is available from www.bis.gov.uk/ols

3.   Today also saw the publication of progress against the vision set out a year ago for a self-sustaining and thriving bioscience industry.  This includes a new Health Technology Database that will crucially enable Government to measure success against this vision, and steps to position the UK so stratified approaches to healthcare can flourish to the benefit of UK patients and business. This progress report is available at http://www.dius.gov.uk/~/media/publications/B/BIGTR2-progress-report

4.   Today also saw the publication of a full economic analysis of UK Life Sciences that accompanies ‘Life Sciences 2010: Delivering the Life Sciences Blueprint’. This economic analysis is available from http://www.berr.gov.uk/files/file54303.pdf

Department for Business, Innovation & Skills

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is building a dynamic and competitive UK economy by: creating the conditions for business success; promoting innovation, enterprise and science; and giving everyone the skills and opportunities to succeed. To achieve this it will foster world-class universities and promote an open global economy. BIS - Investing in our future.

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