Sector Deal 2

NIHR welcomes new Life Sciences Sector Deal

Date: 05 December 2018

The NIHR has welcomed the publication of the Government’s second Life Sciences Sector Deal which aims to strengthen the UK’s position as a world leader in health research. The Deal announced today includes commitments from both the Government and the Life Sciences Industry to continue to significantly invest in the health research areas that provide the greatest opportunity for the UK.

Highlights from the Deal include:

  • A £75 million programme to develop new diagnostic tests by using artificial intelligence to study a group of 5 million healthy people;
  • A world-first commitment to sequence one million whole genomes;
  • The global healthcare company UCB will be building a £1 billion research and development facility;
  • £50m investment for digital pathology programmes and £37.5m funding for a network of regional Digital Innovation Hubs.

“I want the UK to have the most advanced health and care system on the planet.” said Health Secretary Matt Hancock. “Technology and artificial intelligence have the potential to revolutionise healthcare by unlocking the next generation of treatments, diagnosing diseases before symptoms appear and helping patients take greater control of their own health.”

The NIHR is prominent throughout the Sector Deal and is already supporting pioneering research across all of the areas highlighted. As part of the Deal, the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) will identify five centres to become dedicated late-phase commercial research sites. These purpose-designed centres will offer rapid set-up, standardised contracting and delivery approaches as well as dedicated staff and facilities. The NIHR will also provide facilitation support to IQVIA Ltd. as it invests £24m in a Prime Site for clinical trials across the North of England.

“These centres will increase the UK’s capacity to deliver research and enable more patients to benefit from early access to new treatments and innovations” said Jonathan Sheffield, Chief Executive of the NIHR CRN. “Today’s announcement guarantees that UK patients will continue to have the opportunity to take part in life changing research, not just for the themselves but for future generations to come.”

The Deal looks to consolidate the UK’s position as a world-leader in delivering novel and innovative trials by promoting industry collaboration with the NIHR infrastructure and expertise. In order to ensure that the UK’s experimental medicine research workforce are equipped with the necessary skills to enable the delivery of these new, emerging innovative trial approaches, the NIHR will be working with the UK Clinical Research Network to develop appropriate training approaches. In addition, the NIHR Statistics Group, is committing to running a series of workshops nationally that will provide training opportunities for statisticians and trialists in novel clinical trial methodology and conduct. The NIHR will also establish which NHS providers are able to deliver innovative trial designs to support faster site selection.

The Sector Deal looks to continue the Government’s ambition to make the UK a global hub for advanced therapies with a further £70.6m of funding for the Cell & Gene Therapy Catapult as well as over £80m of investment from five rapidly cell & gene therapy (CGT) companies. The NIHR has already made a significant CGT investment with 14 of the Biomedical Research Centres currently conducting early experimental advanced therapies research and almost two-thirds of the NIHR Clinical Research Facilities are already equipped and running numerous CGT studies. This NIHR infrastructure has started conversations to establish a closer partnership to improve collaboration with companies in order to deliver more early phase CGT clinical trials.

Today’s announcement builds on the Government’s first Life Sciences Sector Deal that was published in December 2017 in response to the recommendations from the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy. The first Sector Deal committed almost £500 million of Government investment and was backed by more than £1 billion of private sector investment into the UK life sciences sector, securing thousands of jobs and ensuring that patients in the UK get access to latest treatments and health technologies.

The full Life Sciences Sector Deal can be downloaded here.


  • Summary:
    The Government has announced the publication of the second Life Sciences Sector Deal to support the development of new treatments and healthcare innovations.
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