PM to unveil radical NHS initiative


Prime Minister David Cameron will tomorrow unveil a radical new life science strategy designed to bring industrialists, scientists and the NHS together to come up with the next generation of drug and medical technology.

Mr Cameron is due to outline the new measures at a Financial Times conference entitled "Rethink the Life Sciences Value Equation". The new strategy is aimed at boosting the UK's £50bn life science industry, giving the edge to British companies to compete worldwide, as well as improving the nation's health.

In a big shift of policy, he will also reveal that the NHS's patient data base will be opened up to medical research for the first time. The UK's pharmaceuticals industry is dominated by big companies such as AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline, but it is the 4,500 small companies specialising in the life sciences that stand to benefit most.

One source said: "This new policy will open up the NHS to become a hotbed of innovation. This is translational medicine at its most powerful. In the future, we can develop the right drug for the right person at the right time."

Downing Street sources said the new life science and healthcare strategy had been developed against a background of huge changes to the old "big pharma" industry model as well as the need for the UK to regain its leading edge in life science innovation. He said: "Most big pharma companies can no longer afford, or have the means to create new blockbuster drugs which often take billions of pounds to develop and decades to bring to market." He added that medical innovation is now so advanced that it is no longer the case that all drugs work for the same patients, but need to be designed based on people's genetics as well as their lifestyle.

The coalition's new strategy is the result of two reports, which will also be published today – one by the NHS chief executive, Sir David Nicholson, called NHS Innovation, the other from work carried out by Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, David Willetts, the Universities and Science minister and George Freeman MP, an adviser on life sciences.

Opening up the massive data store of the NHS – with patient permission – to scientists is considered a critical step forward for the development of new drugs and devices in what is called "translational" medicine. Among the measures being announced by the PM is for a new translational fund that will give grants to physicians and scientists at the early stage of their innovations – often the most difficult time to raise money.

The new strategy evolved from the closure of the UK operations in Sandwich, Kent, of th US drugs giant Pfizer, earlier this year which saw the loss of around 2,000 jobs, prompting the Government to review the industry.

Mr Freeman added: "The impending patent cliff, productivity crisis and breakdown of the 'one size fits all' model of pharmaceutical drug discovery is driving an urgent search for new ways of discovering and developing medicines. It's unsustainable to continue to spend on average nearly 10 years and €1bn to discover drugs aren't effective or safe in every single patient. That's why the idea of 'targeted therapeutics' needs to come into the process at the beginning. By harnessing our unique NHS, together with our scientific and industrial strength, the UK can regain out pre-eminence in pharmaceuticals and the new digital healthcare of tomorrow."

Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Lizards, such as Iguanas (pictured), have a unique pattern of tissue growth
Anna Nicole Smith died of an accidental overdose in 2007
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
'The Great British Bake Off' showcases food at its most sumptuous
tvReview: Bread-making skills of the Bake Off hopefuls put to the test
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Test Lead (C#, Java, HTML, SQL) Kingston Finance

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A Global Financial Service Organi...

Access/Teradata Developer, Banking, Bristol £400pd

£375 - £400 per day: Orgtel: Access / Teradata Developer - Banking - Bristol -...

Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, Graduate, SQL, VBA)

£45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, ...

Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Perl, Bash, SQL)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Per...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home