The UK government established the Life Sciences Vision in July 2021 with the ambition of creating a competitive environment for Life Sciences manufacturing investment. The Life Sciences sector presents great potential to the UK economy for the future, according to a white paper by the Medicines Manufacturing Industry Partnership (MMIP) in January 2023, but with significant investment and attention. The report acknowledges “historic strength” in Life Sciences innovation and manufacturing but identifies a reduction in capacity over 25 years.
The MMIP was established in 2014 by the UK government and biopharmaceutical industry to ensure that the UK cements its position as a “world-class advanced centre for medicines manufacturing”. It “represents the voice of medicines manufacturers” across the UK.
Its mission is to:
- “Increase the relative global proportion of medicines manufacturing in the UK”
- “Act as a strong coordinated voice for the medicines manufacturing sector
- “Identify measures to improve the global competitiveness of UK medicines manufacturing”
- “Promote the benefits of the UK as a location of choice for medicines manufacturing”.
Life Sciences in the UK
The report suggests that “medicines and medical technology” represent a majority of Life Sciences sector gross value added (GVA) contribution to the economy. This is manifested in exports worth around £30 billion each year.
Despite the recognised “historic strength” in this arena, there has been a dramatic reduction in capacity over 25 years. Since 2009, production volumes have decreased by 29% and around 7,000 jobs have been lost.
Capital investment in the industry is a “critical leading indicator of future capability, capacity, and innovation”. However, the MMIP observes a “steady decline” which has accelerated “markedly” over the past 5 years. Indeed, since 2010, the UK has fallen from 4th to 98th place in overall trade balance in pharmaceuticals.
“Reversing this decline and fulfilling the ambition set out in the LSV is the core focus of the Medicines Manufacturing Industry Partnership (MMIP).”
Thus, the white paper reports on the progress towards the government’s ambition and offers “areas of focus” to “build evidence-based recommendations for future growth, underpinned by clear objectives and defined success criteria”.
Over 6 months the MMIP will gather “further evidence” to inform “detailed recommendations” with the ambition of collaborating with the UK government to “deliver the following components” of a “world-leading ecosystem”. We have summarised these components in the infographic below.
MMIP believes that it is time to increase the UK’s ambition to “grow” the sector and develop a long-term vision for a “stable, flexible, resilient medicines manufacturing environment fit for future needs”.
How do you think the UK can promote this environment? Are there other countries that the government should look to, or does your country have this in place already?
To read the full white paper click here.
For more on vaccine manufacturing as part of wider pharmaceutical ambitions, come to the World Vaccine Congress in Washington in April.