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£86 million funding announced for new U.K. medicine and technology

Monday, July 17, 2017

The U.K. government has announced new funding of up to £86 million for U.K. firms to develop medical breakthroughs.

The package will allow small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to develop and test new technologies in the NHS. This could include innovations such as digital technologies to help patients manage their conditions from home instead of a hospital, or to develop new medicines.

Access to this funding will also speed up the time it takes to get new technologies from the lab to patients in the NHS.

The announcement is the first step in taking forward the Accelerated Access Review (AAR)—an independently chaired review, which made recommendations to government on speeding up patient access to new technologies.

Technologies that have previously received support are already bringing benefits to patients. For example, MyCOPD is an online system that helps people with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) better manage their condition. It has helped over 32,000 patients by helping them improve their breathing, manage flare-ups and track medicine use. This reduces reliance on GP and hospital appointments.

Health Minister Lord O’Shaughnessy said: “The government’s ambition is that NHS patients get world-leading, life-changing treatments as fast as possible. That can’t happen unless we support medical innovation and tear down the barriers—like speed to market and access to funding—that can get in the way, especially for SMEs. Our investment in innovation shows how much we value the UK life sciences sector.”

The funding is split into four packages. These include:

  • £39 million of funding to the Academic Health Science Networks (ASHNs), enabling them to assess the benefits of new technologies and support NHS uptake of those that deliver real benefits to patients according to the local need
  • £35 million Digital Health Technology Catalyst for innovators—this will match-fund the development of digital technologies for use by patients and the NHS
  • up to £6 million over the next three years to help SMEs with innovative medicines and devices get the evidence they need by testing in the real world, building on existing opportunities such as the Early Access to Medicine Scheme (EAMS)
  • £6 million Pathway Transformation Fund, which will help NHS organizations integrate new technologies into everyday practices—this will help overcome more practical obstacles such as training staff on how to use new equipment

Business Minister Lord Prior said: “The government has an important role to play in driving innovation that will increase economic growth and support businesses across the country. Through this funding we will quicken the pace of scientific discovery and innovation in the U.K. Our Industrial Strategy will boost our status a global hub for life sciences.”

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