Professor Sir John Bell GBE FRS
Regius Professor of Medicine
The COVID-19 pandemic has put the life sciences industry into the spotlight, the UK is now able to strengthen and grow its position as a global leader.
The UK has a remarkable opportunity to further expand its position as a global life sciences hub. Its performance in this sector over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated how powerful the underlying life sciences base is in the UK and the ability of government, commercial organisations and academia to work together was globally unequalled.
Building a stronger UK life sciences base
The opportunity now is to consolidate on those skills and relationships to build an even stronger life sciences base here, providing more innovative interventions for healthcare, but also adding new impetus to the expansion of this economic growth sector.
The current plans for the life sciences sector, laid out in the Life Sciences Vision, illustrate the breadth of ambition in the UK’s plans in this area. This vision is based firmly on the work done around the previous Life Sciences Strategy, published in 2017, which made a set of important investments in life sciences activities with the intention of growing new industries in the UK around these areas.
The current plans for the life sciences sector, laid out in the Life Sciences Vision, illustrate the breadth of ambition in the UK’s plans in this area.
Focussing on population health issues
Genomics, access to healthcare data and a new approach to shifting the current healthcare paradigm to one where early diagnosis, prevention and early intervention are the key elements which were all part of the previous Life Sciences Strategy. They will all be carried on in the new Life Sciences Vision initiative and will be enhanced by a set of missions focusing on the important population health problems seen in most Western societies.
These programmes, which will utilise both investment by government and by industry, should create opportunities for industry to participate in major programmes in an integrated single-payer system which will improve their ability to innovate in these important therapeutic areas.
This will be coupled with attempts to ensure that our national regulator, the MHRA, retains its agile and effective decision making, as it did during the COVID-19 crisis and that we are able to expand and scale manufacturing, particularly biologics, vaccines and nucleic acid-based therapies. Together, this provides an exciting platform for future economic growth and one where the UK is optimally positioned globally.