Funding for creative research into enhanced treatments, such as cancer immune therapy or vaccines and game-changing weight loss medications and technology, to expedite their development and dissemination.
Prime Minister, Health and Social Care Secretary, and Business Secretary will meet with top industry experts, global CEOs, and NHS executives to leverage further investment and guarantee NHS patients have access to innovative new medicines.
Builds on £1 billion in investment since the publication of Life Sciences Vision and delivers on commitments to establish the United Kingdom as a global leader in the life sciences.
As the government introduces a Vaccine Taskforce-style strategy to addressing some of the UK’s most significant public health concerns, NHS patients will have access to cutting-edge new medicines and technologies.
Today, the government announced funding of over £113 million for research into four healthcare missions – cancer, obesity, mental health, and addiction – to unlock the next generation of medicines and diagnostics to save lives, transform patient care, and ensure that UK patients are the first to benefit from medical breakthroughs.
Building on the Vaccine Taskforce model, which resulted in one of the most successful vaccine rollouts and ensured that millions of people received the Covid vaccine, the government will continue to leverage world-leading research expertise, eliminate unnecessary bureaucracy, strengthen partnerships, and support the new healthcare challenges.
Since the announcement of the Life Sciences Vision, £1 billion has been invested in the United Kingdom, and this additional research funding is anticipated to attract investment from major worldwide corporations.
In addition, addressing these healthcare issues could save the NHS and the economy billions of pounds; it is estimated that obesity costs the NHS £6.1 billion per year and that poor mental health costs the economy £118 billion per year.
Today, the Prime Minister, Health and Social Care Secretary, and Business Secretary will meet with key industry figures, including global CEOs, NHS leaders, and industry experts, at the Life Sciences Council to discuss how their support will deliver life-changing innovations to patients, increase NHS efficiency, and ensure the UK remains a global superpower in the life sciences.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak declared:
We are investing over £100 million in the technology and treatments of the future in order to solve some of the most significant public health concerns confronting our nation.
This financing will enhance patient outcomes, alleviate systemic stresses, and ensure that we are among the first to benefit from medical advances. Importantly, it will also help the NHS save millions of pounds that would otherwise be spent on patient care – for instance, by combating obesity, which costs the health service over £6 billion annually.
It is also tremendously encouraging that the Vaccine Taskforce, which procured millions of life-saving vaccines in record time during the pandemic, will now serve as a model for how we will leverage the best talent and expertise from around the world and increase investment in research and development.
The Secretary of Health and Social Care, Steve Barclay, stated:
Cancer and obesity prohibit people from living long, healthy lives and annually cost the NHS billions of pounds.
We are at the forefront of cutting-edge research that can identify new ways to accelerate diagnosis, improve treatments, and improve patients’ quality of life – both now and in the future.
Utilizing the same innovative spirit that achieved the vaccination launch and collaborating with the NHS, industry, and healthcare professionals.
We are constructing a better, healthier NHS with record numbers of employees and record financing in order to provide people with the assurance that it will be there when they need it.
The research will concentrate on the highest NHS-identified public health priorities:
Cancer: £22.5 million will be allocated to cancer research to explore new immune-based cancer medicines, such as cancer vaccinations that are tailored to a patient’s particular cancer. Funding will also promote the development of technologies that allow for more effective and earlier cancer diagnosis. This will contribute to the NHS Long Term Plan’s goal of diagnosing three-quarters of malignancies at Stages 1 or 2 by 2028.
Mental health: £40,2 million for mental health research to develop and use patient-supporting digital technologies. This might include technology that allows individuals to check their mental health at home and notify their doctor immediately if they need assistance. Funding will be allocated to the Midlands and the North to bolster services and guarantee that everyone in the United Kingdom has access to support, thereby promoting health equality across the nation. Due to the fact that one in four persons suffer from mental illness, poor mental health costs the economy £118 billion every year.
Obesity: Twenty million dollars will be used to test how best to provide innovative treatments and technologies to people living with obesity, particularly in impoverished regions around the United Kingdom. This will allow new drugs, some of which have the ability to reduce a person’s weight by more than 20%, to better assist individuals in achieving a healthy weight. This mission will investigate how combining these medications with cutting-edge technologies and digital tools can improve long-term health outcomes. Obesity costs the NHS £6.1 billion annually; assisting individuals in losing weight and adopting healthier lives could result in substantial savings.
Addiction: £30.5 million, including money donated through collaboration with the Scottish Government, will be used to speed the development of new technology to reduce overdose deaths throughout the United Kingdom. This might include wearable gadgets capable of detecting the onset of a drug overdose and alerting first responders to avert fatalities, as well as improved support for those with substance use disorders to manage and treat addiction. Funding will also contribute to the expansion of research capacity and competence across the United Kingdom in order to better comprehend addiction and the most effective methods for treating it as a chronic health problem.
The new funding follows the introduction of the dementia mission in memory of the late Dame Barbara Windsor in August 2022 – supported by £95 million – to develop innovative research tools and increase the quantity and speed of clinical trials in dementia and neurodegeneration. This adds to the goal of doubling funding for dementia research to 160 million dollars annually by 2024/25.
In accordance with the Vaccines Taskforce, each of the four healthcare missions will be led by an independent chair – a subject-matter expert – in order to expedite the development and introduction of the most advanced treatments and technologies into the National Health Service (NHS), as well as to foster collaboration between partners. This would not only improve patient care, but also increase the precision of diagnosis and free up clinician time, so helping to reduce the Covid backlog and alleviate pressure on the health services.
The chairmen will be selected by a group of experts dedicated to each mission, which will include Kate Bingham, who led the Vaccine Taskforce. The procedure will shortly be completed so that the research projects can commence as soon as possible.
NHS England stated today that about 9,000 men with one of the most advanced forms of prostate cancer will be eligible for a novel life-extending treatment, making the NHS the first institution in Europe to offer darolutamide to patients whose prostate cancer has spread to other organs. The transaction was approved under Project Orbis, an international collaboration between the world’s leading regulators that expedites patient access to innovative cancer treatments.
Today also marks the launch of a new £30 million fund by Innovate UK to accelerate the development of life-changing cancer medicines through the Biomedical Catalyst (BMC) project. This new programme directly helps the UK government’s cancer objective by integrating immuno-oncology expertise with pandemic-developed vaccination capabilities.
Will Quince, Minister of State for Health, stated:
In the past year, we have made tremendous gains in health research, and it is imperative that we continue to harness this passion and ingenuity.
These new healthcare missions are committed to applying the lessons we’ve learned to propel the United Kingdom as a life sciences superpower ahead.
By encapsulating this scientific brilliance, our Life Sciences Vision places this innovation at the heart of our health service, aiding in the resolution of major health challenges such as cancer and obesity and allowing the NHS to continue providing world-class care.
Grant Shapps, secretary for business, stated:
The United Kingdom is a leader in life sciences and a science superpower in general. This funding builds on this reputation to create jobs and growth while serving as a catalyst for a deluge of private investment.
These healthcare missions have the potential to transform the landscape of healthcare and save millions of lives by addressing some of the most pressing health issues facing Britain and the world.
Amanda Pritchard, chief executive of NHS England, stated:
We have already witnessed the extraordinary ways in which new technology and innovation can transform NHS care and the lives of patients across the country, from glucose monitors for people living with diabetes to laser therapy for those with epilepsy to genetic testing that can save the lives of severely ill children.
Today, we expedited a new drug deal that can increase the survival rate of men with prostate cancer, demonstrating that the NHS is already at the forefront of delivering the most advanced treatments to patients.
Together with our partners, we intend to build upon this progress in order to address the nation’s most pressing healthcare issues.
Eluned Morgan MS, Welsh Government Minister for Health and Social Services, stated:
The UK government established a bold and ambitious vision for life sciences that promises to improve healthcare outcomes for all patients in the UK in the past year. Wales has a proven track record in a number of the identified key areas, including dementia, mental health, genomics, cancer research, and linked data, all of which play a crucial role in enhancing clinical outcomes and driving innovation on a national and international scale. To maximize the potential of the Life Science agenda for the United Kingdom, it is essential that all investments are fully committed to delivering on “leveling up,” and it is the responsibility of all partners to collaborate so that our shared goals are realized across the four nations.
Professor Dame Anna Dominiczak, Scotland’s Chief Scientist for Health, said:
The missions launched today will have a significant impact on the lives of people. Combining academics, industry, and the NHS offers great opportunities for the development of innovative preventive, diagnosis, and treatment methods.
Drugs Policy Angela Constance, Minister for Scotland, stated:
In Scotland, there is a continuing public health epidemic of drug-related mortality, and one method to help avoid deaths and enhance lives is to develop answers in innovation and new technologies to drive future planning.
I thus applaud this partnership between the Scottish Government’s Chief Scientist’s Office and the UK Government’s Office for Life Sciences, which focuses on early identification, response, and intervention in the event of dangerous overdoses. This ensures prompt response, enabling drug users and their support networks to collaborate to save lives.
In addition to announcing the Missions, the Health and Business Secretaries announced a series of additional initiatives to bolster the United Kingdom’s position as a global leader in the Life Sciences industry. This consists of:
Ensuring that NHS patients have speedy access to new medicines through Ministerial interaction with the pharmaceutical sector to provide rapid access to safe, innovative new medicines, while ensuring that the NHS receives value for money. This will build on agreements that have already allowed NHS patients to receive a new cancer therapy before any other European country and allowed youngsters in the UK to obtain a new medicine to treat Spinal Muscular Atrophy among the first in the world.
Last week, the Business Secretary appointed Dan Mahony, Chair of the BIA and Entrepreneur in Residence at Evotec, to the position of Life Sciences Investment Envoy. By linking the UK’s Financial and Life Science industries, the new Envoy will advocate for the Life Sciences sector’s access to capital. Last week’s Investor Roadshow kicked off this initiative by bringing together more than 90 of the world’s most prominent investors.
Through Project Orbis, the UK’s medicines regulator, the MHRA, has collaborated with regulators from the United States, Canada, Australia, Switzerland, Singapore, and Brazil to expeditiously review and approve applications for promising cancer treatments so that patients can begin benefiting from them sooner.