Glaxo invests £40m in UK's life sciences sector

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Pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline will invest £40m in UK genetic research as part of the government’s life sciences sector deal.

US drug maker Merck, and diagnostics company QIAGEN last month announced UK investments worth more than £1bn.

Several dozen other companies are expected to announce further deals in the coming weeks.

The government’s sector deals are part of its new industrial strategy aimed at boosting UK productivity.

The deals promise partnerships with private sector companies in the construction, artificial intelligence and automotive industries.

The industrial strategy came after the Office for Budget Responsibility announced a sharp downgrade of its forecast for UK economic growth.

The government commissioned a report on the life sciences sector from Professor Sir John Bell, Regius professor of medicine at Oxford University.

He recommended the creation of two or three entirely new industries, and four UK companies worth more than £20bn over the next decade.

GSK said its new funding would strengthen initiatives in genetic research in the development of new medicines.

Phil Thomson, GSK’s global affairs president, said: “This sector deal contains a number of very practical commitments to strengthen the UK’s life science base and make it more attractive to international investment in areas such as clinical trials and high-tech research.”

Business Secretary Greg Clark said the UK was home to many of the world’s most successful life sciences businesses: “We are also a hotbed of new businesses – springing up to bring new discoveries and techniques to a wider market.”

Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, added: “The UK has a huge amount to offer the life sciences sector, combining globally renowned scientific research bases with our world leading NHS which allows innovators to test and refine products at scale. Life science organisations of all sizes will continue to grow and thrive in the coming years, which means NHS patients will continue to be at the front of the queue for new treatments.”

GSK is one of the largest private sector R&D investors in the UK, where it spends more than £1bn annually and is home to one of its two global research centres in Stevenage, Hertfordshire.

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