Boost for UK life sciences

Posted on 23 Nov 2010 by The Manufacturer

Universities and Science Minister David Willetts and Health Minister Lord Howe have announced the appointment of Chris Brinsmead as the Government’s Life Sciences Business Adviser.

Chris Brinsmead will support close and collaborative working on life sciences across Government and with key partners. He will work with the life sciences industry, both in the UK and overseas, and with the NHS and academia to provide independent advice and challenge to Government.

The appointment of a Government advisors dedicated to life sciences is testament to the strategic importance which has been laid on the industry. The imperative of developing Life Sciences to a broad range of existing UK industries including pharmaceuticals, chemical engineering and bioengineering has been detailed by Sector Skills Council Cogent in a series of recent sector skills appraisals including a Life Sciences cluster report launched in March this year.

Life sciences in the UK currently supports employment for over 120,000 people and generated over £10bn in value added in 2008. The NHS is the largest customer to life sciences and associated industries and it is to be expected that UK society as a whole will benefit greatly from the growth of Life Sciences through the development of new and advanced medicines and medical technology.

As ex-chairman of one of the UKs leading pharmaceutical manufacturers, AstraZeneca, Brinsmead will bring a refreshing dose of industry expertise to the formation of Government policy. As an independent expert he will play a vital role in ensuring that Government can deliver a supportive business environment for UK life sciences that promotes innovation and growth.

Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said: “The life sciences are a highly innovative industry and one in which the UK has significant strengths. There is real potential for the industry to contribute to our future economic growth. To realise this potential, it is vital that Government takes a coordinated approach to policy-making and I am delighted Chris Brinsmead will be supporting Lord Howe and me.”

Adding his own support Health Minister Lord Howe said: “The UK has a world class life sciences industry, producing a number of the leading innovative medicines and medical technologies from which patients in the NHS and around the world have benefited. We can be proud of the UK-based life sciences industry.”

On his own part Chris Brinsmead contributed: “I know from experience that it is vital for Government and industry to work together to ensure that the UK is a great place for life sciences. I am delighted to take on this role to support the Government in realising the opportunities that exist in this sector.”

The Life Sciences Business Advisor will support the NHS to contribute to economic growth and innovation; support communication of health and business policy developments to the NHS, academia and the life sciences industry; and champion the UK both as an investment location and as the trading partner of choice in life sciences.