UK govt and industry unveil R&D investment

Related tags Medicine Clinical trial Government Clinical research

The UK government has promised to protect the large funding
increases for science announced in the country's last Spending
Review and pledged more investment under a new 10-year strategy for

Under the plans, revealed by Chancellor Gordon Brown yesterday, spending will increase by £100 million (€149m) a year by 2008, when the country's publicly funded research budget will be £1.2 billion annually.

Part of the programme will involve setting up specialist research institutes, modelled on the National Cancer Research Institute, that will bring together researchers from both academia and industry.

The move seems to be aimed at mimicking the National Institutes of Health in the US, which has an annual budget of around $24 billion (€19.5bn) and contributes significantly to the R&D base in the US. This has a knock-on effect for industry on many levels. For example, aside from the new insights into disease processes uncovered at the NIH, the institution is often involved in the conduct of clinical trials of new pharmaceuticals.

The UK government is also setting up a new Clinical Research Collaboration that will involve the National Health Service, the pharmaceutical industry and medical charities. It will be charged with translating advances in science into real improvements for patients.

The announcement follows hard on the heels of an Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry poll that shows overwhelming support for the Government to take more steps to support medicines research.

More than three quarters (78 per cent) of those surveyed thought that research and development of innovative medicines is a top priority for investment, according to the ABPI

Industry chips in too

Meanwhile, two major pharmaceutical companies have announced they will also be increasing their R&D investment in the UK.

AstraZeneca said it will invest over £58 million at a new Centre for Advanced Lead Discovery, which will be inaugurated on 24 March at Alderley Park in Cheshire. It is also investing £16 million at its Charnwood site to enable scientists to enhance their early discovery and safety assessment work in a range of different disease areas.

And GlaxoSmithKline has said it will contribute £28 million to the construction of a new clinical imaging centre near Hammersmith Hospital in London, with a further £16 million for imaging equipment. The centre will focus on cancer, stroke and neurological diseases.

Related news

Follow us


View more