The Office for Life Sciences (OLS) Blueprint sets out to transform the UK environment for life sciences companies and ensure faster patient access to cutting-edge medicines and technologies.
Agreed across Government, and with industry, academia and the NHS, key actions include:
§ The Government, with the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), will introduce an "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, with a budget of £25 million;
§ The NHS Chief Executive will review system levers and incentives, including Payment by Results, to accelerate the uptake of medical technologies;
§ The Government will reinforce the need for greater emphasis on research and clinical trials in the next NHS Operating Framework;
§ From 2010, the Society of Biology will begin to accredit undergraduate bioscience degrees to help ensure that graduates leave with the core mathematical and practical skills and competencies required by employers;
§ The Government will support the formation of a UK Life Sciences Super Cluster to co-ordinate work across industry, Higher Education and the NHS, and to boost international recognition of UK life sciences;
§ The Technology Strategy Board (TSB) will launch an £18 million “RegenMed” programme of investment to support commercial R&D with additional funding from the Medical Research Council, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. The TSB has also committed to improve its expertise in the life sciences.
§ The Government will invest an extra £1 million to promote the UK and NHS brands at flagship life sciences events in the UK and overseas.
Responding to the announcement, MRC Chief Executive Sir Leszek Borysiewicz said:
The OLS Blueprint comes at a vital time for the life sciences industry in the UK, and we welcome the publication of this report. The cross-government agreement for action sends a clear message about the importance of a vibrant and innovative life sciences industry in the UK. To deliver health benefits we need the business sector to work together with an NHS that is receptive to new technologies, with the support of a world-class research base providing the bedrock for innovation. The role of partnerships in delivering this ambitious plan – between industry, the NHS, the National Institute of Health Research, charities, the Technology Strategy Board and other Research Councils – cannot be overestimated.