The UK government has promised that patients will benefit from cutting-edge new treatments with the introduction of a Vaccine Taskforce style approach to tackling health challenges.
The government has committed over £113 ($135) million to fund research into four healthcare missions – cancer, obesity, mental health and addiction.
Building on the Vaccine Taskforce model, the government says it will “harness world-leading research expertise, remove unnecessary bureaucracy, strengthen partnerships and support the new healthcare challenges”.
Since the Life Sciences Vision was first launched it attracted £1 billion investment to the UK and this further research funding is expected to gain investment from leading global companies.
It is hoped that tackling these healthcare challenges could save the economy billions of pounds – it is estimated obesity costs the NHS £6.1 billion a year and poor mental health costs the economy £118 billion a year.
The Prime Minister, Health and Social Care Secretary and Business Secretary met with key industry figures, including global CEOs, NHS leaders and industry experts at the Life Sciences Council.
Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, said: “The NHS faces real pressures, which is why we are investing over £100 million in the technologies and medicines of the future to address some of the biggest public health challenges facing our country.
“This funding will improve outcomes for patients, ease existing pressures on the system and ensure that we are among the first to benefit from medical breakthroughs.”
How the money will be spent:
Cancer: £22.5 million will go into cancer research to develop new immune-based cancer therapies, including cancer vaccines, which are targeted to a patient’s specific cancer.
Mental health: £40.2 million for research into mental health to develop and introduce digital technologies to support patients.
Obesity: £20 million to trial how best to deliver new medicines and technologies for people living with obesity, particularly in deprived communities across the UK.
Addiction: £30.5 million, including funds contributed through collaboration with Scottish Government, will be deployed to accelerate the development of new technologies to prevent deaths from overdoses across the UK.
The UK has also launched a new £30 million fund to advance cancer therapeutics through the Biomedical Catalyst (BMC) programme, which combines expertise in immuno-oncology and the vaccine capabilities developed throughout the pandemic.