The government has pledged £37m for data-driven initiatives to boost the UK’s life sciences and genomic industries.
The funding will be used to deliver better research, treatment, care and improve clinical decision making, according to a statement from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).
Genomics England projects supporting the implementation of the Genome UK strategy will receive £17m while the remaining £20m will be invested in projects to “harness UK health data for life sciences research” to make the UK “the most advanced and data-enabled clinical research environment in the world”.
Genomics England will use the funding to explore public attitudes to, and the potential value of, new-born sequencing, contributing to the increase in data from ethnic minorities in genomic cohorts and data sets, and supporting a next-generation approach to cancer diagnosis.
New support for the UK Functional Genomics Initiative is also aimed to drive ground-breaking new approaches to improve our understanding of how genetic changes cause disease.
Speaking at the ABPI Annual Conference today, health secretary Matt Hancock, said: “Today I’m proud to set out the next steps with a £20 million investment in the new data- driven Find, Recruit, and Follow-Up service for clinical trials.
“I’m determined to make it quicker and easier to set up and deliver the high power clinical trials we need, more than that, the trials will be better with R&D ready data, to strengthen their power to increase diversity of participants.
“And so, bring medicines to market safer and faster, from cancer to cardiovascular, to every disease known to mankind. Taken together, all this means better research, better treatment, better clinical decision making, and more lives saved, and lives improved, that is the mission of the life sciences.”
Hancock also stressed the need to build on the achievements of the life sciences industry made during the Covid-19 pandemic, including the rollout of the vaccination programme and the launch of an Antivirals Taskforce.
“Tackling Covid has been a global mission – but there are so many other noble missions that still lie ahead. I am sure you can think of those that you are most focused on. Tackling cancer. Treatments for dementia. Preventing heart disease,” he said.
“It’s no longer about getting us back to where we were – it’s about charting a new and better course, where we learn the lessons of the pandemic, and build back better, to transform the UK into a life sciences superpower.”