Cameron launches £180m science fund

5th December 2011 

THE Prime Minister will today launch a £180m fund designed to help turn scientific discoveries into successful companies.

David Cameron will unveil the 'catalyst fund' as he sets out a wider vision for the role life sciences can play in the future of the UK economy.

This will include a call for the private sector to work more closely with the NHS in an effort to give patients access to new treatments quicker and to help the development of world-leading drugs and medical technology.

The UK life science industry has a turnover of £50bn and is the third largest contributor to UK growth.

In a speech, Mr Cameron is expected to say: "Behind us lies a great history: Watson and Crick unravelling DNA; genetic finger-printing; the first CT scan; the first beta blocker; the first test-tube baby; 34 Nobel Prizes in medicine; countless lives changed and saved.

“We can be proud of our past – but we cannot be complacent about our future. The industry is changing; not just year by year, but month by month. Pressure on healthcare budgets in the West, emerging economies in the East, an ageing population, an explosion of knowledge – all creating a new paradigm for life sciences.

And in this new paradigm, we must ensure that the UK stays ahead. Because yes, we’ve got a leading science base; yes, we’ve got four of the world’s top ten universities; and yes, we have a National Health Service unlike any other.

“But my argument today is that these strengths alone are not enough, that to keep pace with what’s happening we’ve got to change radically – the way we innovate, the way we collaborate, the way we open up the NHS."

The catalyst fund is designed to help bridge the funding gap between discoveries of potential new treatments and the point at which there is enough evidence they work for investors to give them financial backing.

Information from the Business Desk