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PM to push life sciences as economic solution

In a speech next month, Prime Minister David Cameron is set to lay out plans for the life sciences as a route to growth, the chief medical officer and chief scientific adviser at the Department of Health, Sally Davies, has revealed.

Speaking at the joint NHS-industry event, “Heath Research: Easier, Better, Faster” in London on 24 November, Davies said the government had a “pretty clear strategy” that would be revealed in December.

“We’ll be hearing from the PM next month [about] how the country will respond; building on its strengths, on the changing drug development model and the need to promote and support the life sciences and biomedical industry,” she told the conference. “This is no mean feat.”

Cameron would highlight the importance of the life sciences by putting it at the centre of plans for development, she said.

Davies cited a large-scale meeting of civil servants where the Prime Minister had said his single priority was “growth … And the first thing he’s going to talk about is life sciences. This is not a joke,” she said.

Davies said that next month would see a report or ministerial announcement on the issue, as well as a review by NHS chief executive David Nicholson on adoption of innovations within the NHS.

She added that the government was moving fast on recommendations in its Plan for Growth, published in March, which promised to introduce a “patent box’ to reduce the tax on earnings from UK-based patents, and to bring down the average number of days it takes to begin clinical trials.