ABPI - The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry

05/26/2023 | Press release | Archived content

UK’s grand ambition for life sciences hinges on delivery

The government has moved closer to realising its life sciences vision with an ambitious and broad-ranging set of proposals to improve the clinical trials environment, but delivery and addressing acute commercial challenges remain the key to success.

On Thursday, the Life Sciences Council, a twice-yearly meeting between ministers and global life science industry leaders, met to discuss how the UK can unlock the economic potential of the sector, and address recent declines in investment and clinical trials performance.

The Council was hosted in Downing Street and was opened by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, and co-chaired by Chloe Smith, Secretary of State for the Department for Science, Innovation & Technology (DSIT) and Pascal Soriot, CEO of AstraZeneca [1].

Key points of discussion included Lord O'Shaughnessy's Independent Review of Clinical Trials and Dame Angela Maclean's review of the life science regulatory system. The government also announced several other welcome measures aimed at boosting industry investment, including a new biomanufacturing fund, a new investment in UK Biobank, an apprenticeship manual, and new Health Innovation Networks.

Richard Torbett, Chief Executive, Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), said: "Today's announcements show that the government recognises the huge opportunity waiting to be grasped if the UK can unlock the economic potential of its life science industry - already worth £94.2bn in 2021. These measures demonstrate the government has listened to industry and will help put the UK on track to meeting its life science vision.

"Lord O'Shaughnessy is right that making the UK an attractive destination for industry clinical trials requires regulatory reform, speedier study set-up and approvals, and improved access to data. Implementing his proposals, alongside these other announcements, can be a springboard to delivering on the UK's ambition to be a science superpower, and we now must press forward with delivery at pace.

"However, improving research is only one part of the equation. To get innovative medicines to patients and fully capture the growth opportunity, we must also fix the commercial environment, and for that, we also look forward to agreeing with Government to a new and improved Voluntary Scheme as soon as possible."