Industrial strategy promises major boost to United Kingdom training and research

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Investments by a number of pharmaceutical companies into the United Kingdom will form a key part of the Sector Deal, a central Industrial Strategy measure, set to be signed in the coming weeks by the life sciences sector and government.

Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, said that the new research facility from the company, also known as MSD, should reassure patients that Britain would remain on the front line in the search for new treatments.

It is also being backed by a £725m fund for innovations along with an increase in research and development investment.

MSD's research laboratories president Dr Roger M Perlmutter said: "Strong discovery capabilities and the pursuit of scientific excellence are foundational to MSD's mission to save and improve lives around the world".

"A new United Kingdom location will enable us to build on our proud legacy of invention and be an important contributor to the vibrant and rapidly growing United Kingdom life sciences community, while providing access for more collaborations within the European life science ecosystem".

The industrial strategy White Paper, published today, says that "Britain will take a leading role in a new industrial revolution as significant as the last" and that the government "will drive change through the biggest increase in public investment in [research and development] in our history".

Theresa May said the blueprint would help to shape a stronger and fairer economy for decades.

The company said it viewed Britain as a world-leader in science, although a spokeswoman said Brexit raised "some very real concerns" for the supply chain, drug regulation and the ability to attract talent to Britain.

Theresa May

"It is clear that the United Kingdom can, through a collaborative partnership between government, industry, academia, charities and the NHS, deliver the next wave of innovation that will benefit patients, transform the health care system, and generate economic growth and improved productivity".

She said: "Nothing in the White Paper will help give businesses the certainty or incentives they need to invest in the face of the Government's catastrophic handling of Brexit".

Qiagen has struck a partnership with a group of universities, research bodies and NHS Trusts around Manchester to develop DNA research in the City.

Qiagen chief executive Peer M Schatz said: "We are very excited about this partnership with Health Innovation Manchester, and the essential engagement of the University of Manchester, the NHS trust and the United Kingdom government".

"These deals are just the first steps but will be instrumental in securing the future strength of the United Kingdom life sciences industry, helping the United Kingdom economy prosper and allowing NHS patients to get better and faster access to world-class medicines discovered and developed here in Britain". This will support the development of new markets for waste materials and improve the efficiency of enforcement, creating a level playing field for the waste and resources sector'.

It also comes on the same day that the United Kingdom government is due to publish a white paper on industrial strategy in a post-Brexit economy, with the aim of tackling a range of issues such as the country's stagnant productivity, the lop-sidedness of the country's economy in favour of London and the southeast (not addressed in MSD's case) and improve workforce skills. Government will be working with industry and academia to deliver this goal.

However, the report states that the move to cleaner economic growth through low carbon technologies and the efficient use of resources is at the same time "one of the greatest industrial opportunities of our time" estimating that the UK's clean economy could grow at four times the rate of GDP.

In addition to stating that these challenges will shape our ever changing future, the Government also believe that they represent a chance for United Kingdom business, academia and civil society to work collaboratively and take advantage of these opportunities through harnessing technology.

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