08th December 2017

Government and life sciences sector agree transformative sector deal

Business Secretary Greg Clark and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announce a Sector Deal with the life sciences sector.

  • Business Secretary Greg Clark and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt have today (Wednesday 6 December) announced a Sector Deal with the life sciences sector
  • significant investment by 25 organisations from across the sector and supported by government will ensure the UK is at the forefront of developing new innovative treatments and medical technologies that improve patient lives
  • the transformative Sector Deal gives the life sciences sector and government an agreed set of strategic goals that will ensure the UK builds on its exceptional reputation for science and research, genomics and clinical trials

A transformative Sector Deal between the UK life sciences sector and the government has today (Wednesday 6 December) been announced. This draws substantial investment into the sector from across the world, ensuring that the next wave of breakthrough treatments, innovative medical research and technologies, and high skilled jobs are created in Britain.

A key part of the Industrial Strategy White Paper, the Life Sciences Sector Deal sets out an agreed strategic vision, built on co-investment, for the government and UK life sciences that will modernise the industry, boost businesses large and small within it, and ensure the sector is perfectly positioned to respond to the challenges and opportunities of demographic change and pioneering research and development.

The deal brings together a number of significant commitments and investments into the UK by 25 global organisations from across the sector, including a major investment by global healthcare firm MSD, known as Merck and Co. Inc. in the US. The investment by MSD will include a new world-leading life sciences discovery research facility and headquarters in the UK, supporting 950 jobs including 150 new high-skilled and high-value research roles.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said:

Across the world, advances in science and technology are transforming the way we live our lives. Nowhere is innovation more life-changing than in medicine, healthcare and its associated fields.

New discoveries and the applications of new technologies are making diagnoses earlier and more accurate, making new treatments available and existing ones more effective; and making care more beneficial and comforting.

The United Kingdom is extraordinarily well-placed to play a leading role in this revolution in the life sciences. Our universities and research institutes rank among the best in the world. They nurture and attract some of the most inventive people on earth.

We are home to many of the most successful global life sciences businesses and we are also a hotbed of new businesses – springing up to bring new discoveries and techniques to a wider market. Our National Health Service is a prized national asset – the nation’s biggest employer and a deep source of learning and of translating discoveries into care.

That is what our Industrial Strategy sets out to support and achieve. So it is appropriate that the first Sector Deal of our Industrial Strategy should be with the life sciences sector.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said:

The UK has a huge amount to offer the life sciences sector, combining globally renowned scientific research bases with our world leading NHS which allows innovators to test and refine products at scale.

Today proves that life science organisations of all sizes will continue to grow and thrive in the coming years, which means NHS patients will continue to be at the front of the queue for new treatments.
The government and industry have worked extensively since the launch of the Industrial Strategy green paper to secure the deal, with Professor Sir John Bell convening industry involvement in the deal. Yesterday evening, representatives from the companies involved in the deal attended an event at 10 Downing Street to celebrate the success of the sector, attended by Business Secretary Greg Clark and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

Secretary of State for International Trade, Dr Liam Fox said:

Today’s deal is a clear signal to life science investors around the world that the UK is open for business and a world leader in scientific innovation. The Department for International Trade has provided dedicated support to make this investment possible, and that offer is available to all investors through our global network.

As an international economic department our role is to promote the UK as a premier destination to invest, and we are ready to work with potential investors to secure our capital requirements for infrastructure, regeneration and innovative projects in every part of the country.
Regius Professor of Medicine, University of Oxford, Professor Sir John Bell said:

This Life Sciences Sector Deal demonstrates how powerful it can be to have industry, the NHS, the research community and charities all working together to provide important new insights that can lead to the discovery and implementation of novel innovations for healthcare.

It represents a significant change in both pace and culture that I hope will lead to a flow of such investments into the future.

Read more information about key themes of the deal here.