Government reveals £70m fund for UK medicines to boost development of new treatments

The UK’s new science minister has announced £70m of funding to support projects like new manufacturing centres, which will speed up the development of new medicines, and virtual reality projects to help patient recovery.

During a visit to Imperial College London today, Sam Gyimah said the investment will support high-value, highly skilled jobs and develop lifesaving treatments.

Of the funds awarded, £21m will go towards setting up a network of three advanced therapies treatment centres across the UK, with the aim to advance the use of pioneering cell and gene therapies with a large number of patients. One site will link the north of England and Scotland, one will connect the midlands and Wales and a third site will be in Manchester.

The funds will also support new innovative treatments, like using virtual reality to aid rehabilitation and investing in digital speech therapy solutions for stroke and brain injuries.

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Gyimah also today announced the start of a new programme to map UK research and innovation infrastructure to identify any gaps in the system.

He said the UK is “renowned for its research and innovation infrastructure”.

“Now, for the first time, we will map this to enable us to showcase our capabilities around the world and identify future opportunities,” Gyimah said.

The map by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is expected to be finished in 2019, and UKRI expects it to identify what the UK will need to do to stay competitive over the next decade.

The government is investing £181m in advanced therapies, medicines and vaccines development and manufacturing over four years through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund and alongside an estimated £250m of private funding from industry.

The fund is anticipated to return a value of £1bn to the UK economy.

Read more: The UK could become a global leader in biotech – here’s why

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