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Shadow Science Minister launches life sciences strategy in Stevenage visit

on Tuesday, 16 April 2024.

Members of the Labour Party, including the current Shadow Minister for Science, Peter Kyle, and Shadow Health Secretary, Wes Streeting, recently visited Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst to launch their Life Sciences Sector Plan.

The Stevenage campus is the third biggest cell and gene therapy cluster globally, and the largest outside of the US. It has been recognised with Life Sciences Opportunity Zone status and High Potential Opportunity status. Since its establishment in 2011, tenants have collectively raised over £3 billion.

The recent visit represents the increasingly widespread engagement in the life sciences sector by Britain's politicians. Discussion focussed around potential regulatory adjustments to facilitate greater access to laboratory facilities. Knight Frank, the property company, said that businesses are currently looking for 2.2 million square feet of laboratory space in the Golden Triangle between London, Cambridge and Oxford, but there is currently only less than 20% of that available.

The MPs also toured the labs and met with SBC's CEO, Dr Sally Ann Forsyth OBE, and had a roundtable discussion with GSK, AstraZeneca, the BioIndustry Association (BIA), as well as some of the occupants at SBC (Complement Therapeutics and Autifony Therapeutics), where they discussed opportunities and challenges currently facing the sector. 

Dr Forsyth commented: "The fact that Labour chose to launch their Life Sciences Strategy here in Stevenage demonstrates that the innovation happening on campus is powering the UK economy and the next generation of healthcare.  This was a great opportunity to showcase some of the fantastic science taking place at SBC and also to have a frank and open conversation about the challenges facing our sector."

In a message that is consistent with the support from other political parties for life sciences in the UK, Mr Kyle said: "If we get this right, we can transform the NHS so that it becomes an engine of innovation, a driver of growth and a public service that once again delivers world class outcomes for patients.  Labour will work hand in glove with life sciences companies to tackle the biggest killers, reduce the number of lives lost to heart disease, stroke and cancer and create thousands of new jobs across the country."

Dr Forsyth said how impressed she was with "the cooperation in Hertfordshire – from schools, to sci-tech, to colleges and universities.  Everyone is moving in the same direction and is supportive."

Encouraging support for life sciences

It is really positive to see all the support across the political parties for life sciences. The visits such as this one to Stevenage are a great endorsement for what is happening in Hertfordshire - particularly for their global-leading advanced therapies.

If you would like to discuss this topic, please contact Paul Gershlick in our Pharmaceuticals and Life Sciences team on 07795 570072, or complete the form below.

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