1602 - Health: Research (Answered)

Stephen McPartland
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what steps his Department is taking to encourage UK-based pharmaceutical companies to increase their contribution to global health research and development.

George Freeman

The UK life sciences sector, which includes pharmaceuticals, is one of the most productive in the world. The pharmaceuticals sector also remains the largest contributor to UK research and development, accounting for 22% of the total spend in 2013.

Since 2011, the Government has invested £2 billion in health and life science research, through the UK Research Councils, Innovate UK and the Department of Health’s research programme (National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)), leveraging over £3.5 billion of private sector investment, and making the UK the leading European destination for life science fundraising. Alongside, the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) has developed tools to help companies to deliver their research in the NHS to quality, time and target.

There has also been significant direct support to business including £232m of the £240m Biomedical Catalyst awarded to over 250 business and Higher Education Institutions, attracting £118m in industry match-funding and supporting fundamental research from discovery through to commercialisation to deliver patient benefit. The Regional Growth Fund and Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain provided over £92 million to 27 projects, leveraging a further £337 million. This funding has enabled companies from all parts of the life sciences sectors to invest in innovative research and development, and direct and indirect funding support for businesses and relevant wider infrastructure will continue to be available through successor public programmes.

The Small Business Research Initiative will continue to generate new business opportunities for companies, enabling the development of innovative products and services through the public procurement of research and development.

The Cell Therapy Catapult (CTC) Centre was set up to help translate promising scientific discoveries towards clinical impact for this new and emerging field. The CTC will be opening a world-leading manufacturing centre in Stevenage in 2017 to support companies to manufacture and supply Phase 3 clinical trials – important components of the research and development cycle.

Uptake and demand from the NHS for innovation complements industry investment in research and development in the UK by ensuring there is a market for new cost-effective products. The Accelerated Access review will make recommendations to Government by the end of this year, on accelerating access for NHS patients to cost-effective, innovative medicines and medical technologies.

The Early Access to Medicines Scheme (EAMS) provided a platform for drugs to be brought to patients at a much faster rate than ever before. Seven Promising Innovative Medicine (PIM) designations and the first early access Scientific Opinion were awarded in the first year. The Accelerated Access Review will include a review of the first year of EAMS.

Government has also introduced a series of measures through the taxation system to create the conditions for business growth and encourage business investment. These include R&D Tax Credits for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and relief for larger firms; The Patent Box; Enterprise Investment and Venture Capital Trust schemes as well as Entrepreneur’s Relief.