Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Life Sciences Blueprint to build a strong and healthy future for Britain

The Office for Life Sciences (OLS) Blueprint sets out to transform the UK environment for life sciences companies and ensure faster patient access to cutting-edge medicines and technologies.

The OLS forms part of the Government’s active industrial policy.

Agreed across Government, and with industry, academia and the NHS, key actions include:

· The Government, with the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), will introduce an "Innovation Pass", a 3-year initiative that will make selected innovative medicines available on the NHS for a time-limited period. The Pass will be piloted in 2010/2011, with a budget of £25 million; (cf 2.5)

· The NHS Chief Executive will review system levers and incentives, including Payment by Results, to accelerate the uptake of medical technologies; (cf 2.9)

· The Government will reinforce the need for greater emphasis on research and clinical trials in the next NHS Operating Framework; (cf 2.10)

· From 2010, the Society of Biology will begin to accredit undergraduate bioscience degrees to help ensure that graduates leave with the core mathematical and practical skills and competencies required by employers; (cf 3.5)

· The Government will support the formation of a UK Life Sciences Super Cluster to co-ordinate work across industry, Higher Education and the NHS, and to boost international recognition of UK life sciences; (cf 3.9)

· The Technology Strategy Board (TSB) will launch an £18 million “RegenMed” programme of investment to support commercial R&D with additional funding from the Medical Research Council, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. The TSB has also committed to improve its expertise in the life sciences. (cf 4.8)

· The Government will invest an extra £1 million to promote the UK and NHS brands at flagship life sciences events in the UK and overseas.

Lord Drayson, Minister for Science & Innovation, said:

“The UK life sciences have everything going for them: world-class facilities, talented scientists and entrepreneurial flair. By championing innovation, the NHS can support the life sciences industry in developing ways to improve people’s health. And we are changing how industry, academia, Government and the NHS work together to create jobs and ensure a bright future for this country."

Lord Darzi, Health Minister for Quality and Innovation, said:

“By placing innovation at the heart of healthcare delivery we will help create a pioneering NHS, one that responds to patients expectations, and one where the adoption of new ideas and the diffusion of innovation is encouraged and supported.

"Establishing a culture of innovation is also essential for the NHS to meet any current economic challenges, and the Life Sciences Blueprint will help us continue to support this country's knowledge industries and ensure that we benefit from the competitive edge which they provide.”

Andrew Dillon, Chief Executive of NICE, said:

“Securing a successful future for the life sciences industries is important for patients and the UK economy. NICE is committed to engaging constructively with companies and we are extending the access that companies have to us, as we appraise their products. The Innovation Pass is an opportunity for data to be gathered on potentially important new treatments. NICE has been involved in discussions about the Innovation Pass, and we are looking forward to continuing to play a key role in developing the Pass.”

The Blueprint forms a key part of Building Britain’s Future, the Government’s vision for the country’s future on the other side of the recession. As first set out in “New Industries, New Jobs”, the Government is pursuing a new, more active industrial policy to drive growth and create high-value jobs of the future.

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