The UK Government’s publication of its Industrial Strategy Green Paper provides an important and welcome focus on healthcare and precision medicine in particular, according to the CEO of the Precision Medicine Catapult.
Launched on 23 January 2017, the Industrial Strategy aims to address the long-term challenges facing the UK economy and help achieve the UK’s objective of becoming a more highly skilled and globally competitive nation. The paper identifies some early commitments, and initiates an open public consultation to best build a modern industrial strategy focussing on increasing the spread of economic growth more evenly across the country.
The Industrial Strategy is based around ten pillars with a pledge to invest in science, research and innovation. The Chancellor outlined plans to increase R&D investment by £4.7 billion in the last Autumn Statement, along with details of the newly-launched science and innovation audits. This is supported by an Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund to pay for research into leading-edge healthcare, medicine, manufacturing processes, biotech and synthetic biology quantum technologies. In parallel, the Government is reviewing how to better commercialise intellectual property.
A second pillar that is close to the Precision Medicine Catapult’s (PMC) mission, is around improving procurement. The Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) is widely used in the NHS through academic health science networks (AHSNs), and may provide opportunities to bring new solutions to address public policy challenges. The strategy also acknowledges the Accelerated Access Review as a means of supporting health-associated businesses to developing innovative new products.
Dr Belinda Quinn, CEO of the Precision Medicine Catapult, said: “At the PMC, we are committed to connecting the UK’s precision medicine network, enhancing clinical trial opportunities by creating a more precise platform for trials, and addressing and challenging the current regulatory landscape. By tackling these three big issues, we can continue to enhance the lives of patients, commercialise more cohesive translational research, grow the economy, and keep the UK precision medicine environment very competitive.
“Precision medicine is already disrupting the landscape and striving to show how the UK will be more competitive in a post-Brexit world. We work with local economies to reinforce the value of NHS organisations working with their local and combined authorities, Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and universities to better inform local decision-making. Our Catapult is in the privileged position to have seven Centres of Excellence across the UK, and can therefore connect opportunities for collaborative impact.
“An interventionist Industrial Strategy is an important initiative for the UK and should be ideally placed to drive and strengthen the UK’s existing network of Catapult centres. This support will allow us to make an even more significant impact for patients and the economy.”