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UK boosts life science innovation with £277 million funding

On March 28, the UK government announced that four UK life sciences companies will receive £277 million to help fund and advance manufacturing projects in medical diagnostics and human medicines. This funding comes from government and private investment with the aim of boosting the UK life sciences sector’s capacity for manufacturing and innovation.

The government is awarding £17 million, and unlocking £260 million from the private sector. In the press release, the government predicts that this funding influx will create 320 new jobs and safeguard 199 jobs within the UK life sciences sector. This is the first big spend being made from the UK’s Life Sciences Innovative Manufacturing Fund (LSIMF). The LSIMF is a £60 million government fund, from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), which is meant to support businesses investing in manufacturing projects in the UK.

The four companies that will receive grants are Ipsen, Pharmaron, Touchlight and Randox. Ipsen will receive £75 million to fund the manufacture of its innovative medicines for neurological conditions, creating 39 new jobs and safeguarding 37 jobs at its Wrexham facility. Pharmaron is receiving a £151 million investment in capital to support the growth of operations in Liverpool, quadrupling production capacity for gene therapy and vaccine components. The government is giving Touchlight £14 million for commercial scale manufacturing of its “doggybone DNA” vector at its Hampton, London base. Randox is also gaining a £36 million investment to improve its manufacturing capacity for antibodies used across diagnostic tests. From this money, the company will also be able to construct a new facility in Crumlin, Northern Ireland, which will create 90 new jobs.

In a press release, Minister of State for Science, Research & Innovation, George Freeman, said, “The industry is being transformed by the pace of change: from AI to genomics, biomanufacturing to smart stents and personalised immunotherapies, technologies are converging to create a new era of advanced digital products.”

This recent funding is one of many initiatives announced by the UK government to boost its life sciences sector after a downturn in clinical activity in recent years. On March 10, the National Health Service provided a grant for building a new cell and gene therapy manufacturing facility in Bristol. Also, on March 22, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) announced changes to clinical trial regulations to boost the country’s clinical trial activity.

In response to the news, the Association for the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI)’s chair of the Medicines Manufacturing Industry Partnership, Brian Henry, said, “There is a major opportunity to further develop the LSIMF so that the scale and efficiency of the scheme enables the UK to compete for major internationally mobile life sciences investments.”

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