Life Sciences Sector Deal recognises Great West region

December 7, 2018

The second Life Sciences Sector Deal recognises the fast-growing life-science industry presence in the Great West region and our technology and digital businesses.

The deal announced a £1.3 billion industry-government investment in the UK economy and a new partnership driving early disease detection, with global biopharmaceutical company UCB investing around £1 billion in research and development, including in a new state-of-the-art facility.

This builds on the government’s Life Sciences Industrial Strategy published in December last year, which recognised the importance of regional clusters and followed intense collaboration between life sciences organisations and the GW4 Alliance. Places continues to be one of five key commitments within the deal, which this time round has a strong focus on technology and digital innovation.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “I want the UK to have the most advanced health and care system on the planet. Technology and artificial intelligence have the potential to revolutionise healthcare by unlocking the next generation of treatments, diagnosing diseases before symptoms appear and helping patients take greater control of their own health.”

The Great West region is recognised in the report for our flourishing life science industry presence, due to the sector’s collaboration between our more mature technology and digital businesses. This is realised through several of GW4’s regional strengths such as convergence with AI, high performance computing, quantum technologies and world-leading academic expertise.

The report showcases examples from the University of Bristol including two spin out companies. The first is KWS BioTest Ltd, a leading contract research organisation specialising in immunology oncology discovery testing services. The second is Ziylo Ltd, a specialist chemistry company which could transform the treatment of diabetes improving the lives of millions of people around the world. Novo Nordisk acquired Ziylo Ltd in staged acquisition with a potential deal value that could exceed £640M, one of the largest in the sector during the period since the Life Science Strategy was launched.

As part of the Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus the University of Bristol will also establish a new £43M Quantum Technology Innovation Centre to accelerate life sciences industrial impact in three areas:

  • improving the speed of genomic data processing and drug discovery;
  • quantum enhanced sensing and imaging for diagnostic devices and cell biology; and
  • quantum communication for data security, for example medical records.

Professor Nishan Canagarajah, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research at the University of Bristol and a member of the GW4 Board, said: “The University is pleased to be recognised in the second Life Sciences Sector Deal.  It is rewarding to see our pioneering research being developed where it can have major societal impact and make a real difference to people’s lives.

“Quantum information and its translation into technologies is a strategic research priority for the University and the £300 million new Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus (TQEC) will benefit both people, businesses and the city and will shape our future economy and society.”

The report also highlights Wales as a global leader in value-based healthcare and tracking outcomes. Key projects identified include The UK Dementia Research Institute (UK DRI) at Cardiff University. The £20M centre is one of six that make up the UK DRI with a total £290m investment. It will build upon ground-breaking scientific research strengths and world-class expertise in dementia genetics and immunology to identify disease mechanisms and produce new therapies.

Dr Sarah Perkins, GW4 Director, said: “We welcome the second Life Sciences Sector Deal and government’s renewed commitment to a place-based approach. We would encourage government to continue to invest and work with regional clusters as important drivers of economic growth and catalysts for scientific advancement. GW4 brings together world-leading capabilities across life sciences as demonstrated by our regional businesses innovative technology and our collaborative working with Life Sciences Hub Wales.”