The north-west of England is to host a new Catapult centre in medicines technologies at Alderley Park in Cheshire.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne announced £5 million funding in 2015-16 to kick-start the project during a visit to Redx Pharma.
It builds on plans to put science and innovation at the heart of building the Northern Powerhouse, ensuring that the region maximises the state-of-the-art facilities at Alderley Park. The best of the UK’s businesses, scientists, clinicians and engineers will be working side-by-side in the new Catapult.
The news follows the £69 million investment in Catapults that the Chancellor announced at Budget 2014 and the plans to build a Northern Powerhouse. Mr Osborne said:
To make the most of Britain’s leading expertise in science and innovation we must back ideas at every step of the way. Today’s news and £5 million investment will help put the UK in a world-leading position to support every single stage of the life sciences innovation life cycle and is exactly what is needed to develop the next generation of unbeatable British leaders in this area.
I am particularly pleased to announce that Alderley Park will benefit from this investment as this is another step in putting science and innovation right at the heart of the Northern Powerhouse.
Ruth McKernan, chief executive of Innovate UK, said:
Today’s announcement will mean that the UK will have a world-class network of medicines Catapults – Precision Medicine, Medicines Technologies and our existing Cell Therapy Catapult. Together, these three complementary Catapults should keep the UK at the forefront of a sector we have long excelled in and act as a magnet for inward investment.
Precision Medicine Catapult
The Chancellor also announced that the headquarters of the Precision Medicine Catapult will be located in Cambridge, with regional centres of excellence in the north of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and southern England.
Precision medicine uses diagnostic tests or data-based insights to understand a patient’s disease more precisely. Clinicians can then select treatments which are more predictable, safer and more cost-effective.
The UK has already invested over £1 billion in precision medicine research infrastructure. Today’s news builds on the government’s plans to develop a Catapult network to take advantage of opportunities for growth in new global markets.
There are 8 other Catapults up and running in the UK, with total public and private investment exceeding £1.4 billion over their first 5 years of operation.