The life sciences sector in the UK

23 December 2019

23 December 2019

The drive to deliver the Life Science Sector Deal 2 brought together key stakeholders and researchers at the Westminster Health Forum conference ' The life sciences sector in the UK - investment, innovation and next steps for delivering the Sector Deal 2' held on the 6th December in London.

Tiffany Hionas

The commitment from the health sector to develop cutting-edge technology and grow innovation in genomics, therapeutic interventions and NHS data would require stronger collaboration between government, industry and the research community.

Dr Liz Mear, Chief Executive of the Innovation Agency, Academic Health Science Networks for the North West Coast, stressed on partnership to drive innovation. Across the North West, the Innovation Agency oversees assessment of the benefits of new technologies and supports the NHS uptake of those that are deemed to deliver real benefits to patients. This work will grow, as the organisation works with SMEs to identify products with the most potential to deliver national impact.

Collaboration to improve digital technologies is ongoing. Further investment is being made to upgrade NHS digital services and digital innovation hubs, which will support innovation in patient care. The government will ensure secure and appropriate use of patient data to improve the outcomes for patients, and therefore, improve the expenditure of the NHS. The government supports ongoing plans to expand digitally-enabled clinical research. This approach will help determine whether a clinical trial is feasible and will support better planning and delivery of trials. Ultimately, generating more data will significantly reduce the cost of late phase trials and eliminate the risk of early decisions based on limited data. 

To deliver these huge benefits to patients, Chris Molley, Chief Executive Officer of Medicines Discovery Catapult, stressed that taking a ‘humanistic approach’ is crucial in order to better understand the patient if the UK is to deliver transformative treatments and therapeutic interventions. 

As summarised during a panel debate, the need to move from theory into practice, discuss the outcomes, and to pick up on how to improve results from statistics is crucial to enhance the NHS, accelerate speed of innovation and improve healthcare.

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