...in the first life sciences sector deal, as well as adding detail on some new projects.
Its key ideas in the update include the following:
The first sector deal had announced that the Health Advanced Research Programme (HARP) would be established to pursue "moon shots" in health-focussed research. The update has committed additional financing for the HARP programme, including:
The Government has committed to improving the speed and efficiency of clinical trials. This will involve:
The Government has announced a desire to increase UK Research & Development spending and output. This includes:
£20m towards developing the rail network in the northern edge of the Golden Triangle, between Oxford and Cambridge.
A desire for the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority to be a forward-thinking regulator following Brexit and support advanced therapies through a regulatory pathway for genomic medicines and tests.
The £79m project on the Artificial Intelligence initiative is particularly exciting. This has been unveiled as a "world-first". The project will involve a partnership between the NHS and life sciences businesses and charities, including the Alzheimer's Research UK, British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research UK. Five million people will be monitored to see how their health changes over time, to help researchers better understand how and why disease develops. Professor Sir John Bell, who has led the Government's life sciences strategy, will lead the project.
Professor Sir John commented: "This mammoth undertaking will be the biggest study of its kind, using artificial intelligence and other new technologies to diagnose diseases earlier. If we can detect illnesses like cancer, Alzheimer's and heart disease before symptoms present, we can open doors to transform treatment and save lives. It is this kind of revolutionary work which will help people get their right treatment before they get ill, and it is my ambition that this will give more of us, more years of healthy life."
Brexit poses challenges for the UK's life sciences sector, but this renewal of the life sciences sector deal showcases where the UK can lead the way in a post-Brexit world, including through expansion of the UK's pioneering work on sequencing genomes and using AI to better understand and treat disease. This can help to continue to attract business and researchers to the UK, whatever happens after Brexit.