Nadhim Zahawi – 2021 Statement on Life Sciences Vision

The statement made by Nadhim Zahawi, the Vaccines Minister, in the House of Commons on 7 July 2021.

My noble Friend, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Minister for Innovation) (Lord Bethell), has made the following written statement:

In “Build Back Better: our plan for growth”, the Government committed to publishing a series of sector visions that back the sectors and technologies that will shape the UK’s future. I am delighted to announce the publication of the first of these, on life sciences.

The “Life Sciences Vision” sets our ambitious plans, jointly developed by Government, the NHS and the sector, to maintain the UK’s position as a global life sciences leader. It builds on the successes of the science and research response to the covid-19 pandemic, especially in vaccines and research, and benefits from new regulatory freedoms and opportunities now that we have left the European Union.

The policy content of the vision focuses on three areas:

1) science and research, capitalising on the UK’s deep industrial and academic expertise, and realising the significant potential of genomics and health data to consolidate the UK’s status as a world leader in research;

2) NHS as an innovation partner, ensuring the NHS is using the latest and most innovative science and technology; and

3) business environment, making sure the incentives are right for life science companies to start, grow and invest in the UK.

The vision also highlights seven core disease and technology areas where there is an opportunity for the Government, industry, the NHS, medical research charities and academia to work together to meaningfully improve treatment options. These key disease areas are: cancer, dementia, mental health, obesity, ageing, respiratory disease and vaccines.

The pandemic shows the importance of a flourishing life sciences sector to resilience and economic growth across the nations and regions of the UK. This vision will plot the course for the UK to maintain its global leadership in this important sector.

In developing this vision, we have undertaken extensive engagement with stakeholders representing small and large businesses, charities, patient interest groups, and businesses representative organisations around the country, as well as the NHS and the devolved Administrations. We will continue to do so as we begin to develop our implementation plans.