Drug discovery targeted with £17m govt funding

Posted on 26 Oct 2017 by Jonny Williamson

The Chancellor has announced £17m of new life sciences funding helping to create real benefits for the NHS and patients.

The money will help drug discovery and support mental health treatment, translating the UK’s scientific expertise into real life treatments – image courtesy of Pixabay

The approval of the £17m of new funding has been announced by the Chancellor, helping to unlock real benefits for the NHS and patients.

This money, as part of the governments ambitious industrial strategy, will help new drug discovery and support mental health treatment, translating the UK’s scientific expertise into real life treatments.

The life sciences industry provides medical treatments which the NHS and its 60 million patients rely on every year. The industry is also critical to the UK economy – with over 5,000 companies employing nearly 235,000 workers and generating £63.5bn turnover.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, said: “We have a successful and resilient economy which is supporting a record number of people into employment.

“My focus now, and going into the Budget, is on boosting productivity so that we can deliver higher-wage jobs and a better standard of living for people across the country.

“That is why I am visiting the Francis Crick Institute, where they are using cutting-edge research to generate real-life health improvements.

“The UK has world-leading expertise in life sciences – an industry that employs hundreds of thousands of people – and it is through supporting growth in these cutting-edge industries that we will build a competitive economy that works for everyone.”

Science minister, Jo Johnson said: “The UK is home to world-leading expertise in life sciences with over 5,000 companies and turnover of £64bn and the government is committed to continuing to help this sector go from strength to strength.

“Through the recently published ‘Life Sciences Industrial Strategy’ and our progress towards a ‘Life Sciences Sector Deal’, we are determined to cement the UK’s position as a global leader and capitalise on its strengths to encourage both economic growth and improve health outcomes for patients.”

The Chancellor is visiting the Francis Crick Institute, the largest biomedical research laboratory in Europe, which was created with £350m of government investment. The ‘Crick’ houses 1,250 scientists and 250 other staff conducting cutting-edge biomedical research to enable the discovery of drugs and treatments of the future.

The Chancellor announces funding for three new areas:

  • Cryo-electron microscope – £5m for a state of the art microscope to build 3D models of biological components. This can help drug discovery become faster and cheaper
  • Innovation hub – £7m to set up a new lab with state of the art equipment and research scientists. This lab will establish the UK Centre for Engineering Biology, Metrology and Standards

Business catalyst – £5m to expand the ‘Confidence in Concept’ business catalyst scheme and boost treatment for mental health. This scheme has already produced 26 business spin-outs, 70 patents and £277m of follow on funding from the private sector.