Coming hard on the heels of good news for life sciences from the Spending Review and £50 million from the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) for stratified medicine, two new initiatives were launched today by Universities and Science Minister David Willetts, at a joint Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) / BioIndustry Association (BIA) conference in London. These initiatives are the Therapeutic Capability Clusters led by the Office for Strategic Coordination of Health and Research (OSCHR) and the Medical Research Council (MRC)/ABPI Inflammation and Immunology Initiative.
The Therapeutic Capability Clusters initiative is designed to boost collaboration between academics, clinicians and the life sciences industry to help deliver the medicines of the future faster to UK patients and secure the UK’s position as the global partner of choice for R&D collaboration. Offering intellectual excellence, patient access, and a single point of contact for industry to engage with, these Clusters will ensure the UK has the commercial and cultural environment to support strong collaboration and to maintain and grow the UK’s world-class R&D. This is crucial as the UK faces competition from other countries for highly-mobile private sector investment.
The MRC/ABPI Inflammation and Immunology Initiative is founded on plans by the MRC to invest more than £10 million in consortia in two pilot disease areas, complementing the Therapeutic Capability Clusters programme. The initiative represents a new approach in funding by the MRC, bringing together academics and industry at the early planning stages to develop a stratified approach to disease (targeting the right treatments to the right people), enabling effective clinical trials as well as identifying novel biomarkers, mechanisms and targets.
Dr Richard Barker, Director General of the ABPI and co-chair of the Supercluster initiative with Professor Sir John Bell, said:
“The Therapeutic Capability Clusters initiative, born in our work with the Office for Life Sciences, will create true comparative advantage for the UK in translational medicine. This programme capitalises on our vibrant and economically important life science sector, to attract increased inward investment from the global pharmaceutical industry. We are also delighted to partner with the MRC in tackling illnesses such as inflammatory lung disease which causes thousands of premature deaths every year. This is good news for the NHS patients of the future.”
Nigel Gaymond, BIA Chief Executive, said:
“Today’s conference demonstrates the UK’s exceptional strengths in R&D across industry, academia and the health service. There can be no doubt that the UK is one of the world’s key locations for life sciences. Indeed, the launch of the Therapeutic Capability Clusters initiative is a prime example of how the UK's strengths in academia and the NHS can be harnessed to accelerate the development of medicines. This innovative approach to clinical research has great potential for patients in an area of unmet medical need.”
Professor Sir John Bell, Chairman of OSCHR, said:
“I am excited that the clusters will provide a real opportunity for the best researchers in industry and the public sector to work together to gain insights into clinical development that could help to raise the profile of UK research, attract inward investment and help patients with chronic diseases.”
Roch Doliveux, Global Chief Executive Officer of UCB Group said:
“With UK universities being world leaders, UK based biomedical innovation has tremendous potential. In order that the UK remains a leading hub for biopharma R&D, government should ensure that investment remains and that policies are consistent with the long term nature of our business.”
The joint ABPI / BIA conference, entitled “Our Vision for a New Decade”, was held at the Royal Society of Medicine in London. The meeting brought together 300 delegates to discuss the excellence of the UK life sciences industry, opportunities for the UK to promote industry and academic research collaborations, and the future opportunities to further develop the industry.
Speakers at the conference included senior figures from the government, academia and life sciences industry.
For further information, please contact the ABPI press office: 020 7747 1410.
Robert Winder, Communications Manager, BIA, 020 7565 7193;
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Notes to editors
Therapeutic Capability ClustersDeveloped with industry under the Office for Life Sciences, the Therapeutic Capability Clusters programme is being implemented by the Office for Strategic Coordination of Health and Research (OSCHR) and the industry / Government Capability Cluster Delivery Oversight Group (CCDOG).
MRC/ABPI Inflammation and Immunology initiativeThe MRC/ABPI Inflammation and Immunology initiative includes the following partners: Academic Partners: University of Leicester, Imperial College London, University of Nottingham, University of Manchester, University of Southampton, University College London, University of Newcastle, University of Sheffield, Royal Brompton Hospital, University of Birmingham, University of Edinburgh, Kings College London, University of Glasgow, Queen Mary’s, University of London, University of Leeds.
Industry Partners: Amgen, AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eisai, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Novartis, Pfizer, UCB.
Association of the British Pharmaceutical IndustryThe Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) is the trade association for the research-based pharmaceutical industry in the UK, representing companies both small and large. Our member companies research, develop, manufacture and supply more than 80 per cent of the branded medicines prescribed through the National Health Service (NHS). For further information visit: www.abpi.org.uk
BioIndustry AssociationEstablished in 1989, the BioIndustry Association (BIA) exists to encourage and promote a financially sound and thriving bioscience sector within the UK economy and concentrates its efforts on emerging enterprise and the related interests of companies with whom such enterprise trades.
With over 250 members, the BIA supports a wide range of sectors, majoring on the human health benefits of the technology and represents the interests of these innovative companies to a broad section of stakeholders from patient groups to politicians, advancing its members interests both within the UK and internationally to create a healthy UK bioscience sector which benefits society. For further information, please go to: www.bioindustry.org