UK to channel EUR21m into regenerative medicine
London – The UK’s Office for Life Sciences (OLS) will invest EUR21m into the development of stem cell therapies via its “Life Sciences Blueprint” programme. The move was welcomed by the Bioindustry Association (BIA). „ This funding provides a solid foundation on which the UK’s regenerative medicine industry can grow,” said Richard Archer, Chair of the BIA RegenMed Industry Group. On top of the funding the MRC, BBSRC and the PSRC will support the programme with an additional EUR4m funding.
According to the BIA, the package of measures provided by “Life Sciences Blueprint” will help the UK capitalise fully on its leading global position in regenerative medicine. The 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 measures include the introduction of "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 under the leadership of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), with a budget of EUR29m.
Additionally, UK government will reinforce the need for greater emphasis on research and clinical trials in the next NHS Operating Framework. Futhermore, UK policymakers will support the formation of a UK Life Sciences Super Cluster to co-ordinate work across industry, higher education and the NHS, and boost international recognition of UK life sciences.
In regenerative medicine, the UK is under pressure by world-class competitors located in Israel. At the end of June, Israel’s trade ministry set up a EUR45m capital fund for their biotech start-ups, which are to a good part active in RegenMed.