UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond has announced a new £17m life sciences funding, which is intended to aid the discovery of new drugs and support treatment for mental health.
Provided by HM Treasury, the funding is expected to benefit the National Health Service (NHS) and patients in the country.
The life sciences industry is considered important for the country’s economy as it comprises more than 5,000 companies, with a total of about 235,000 employees and £63.5bn turnover.
Hammond said: “We have a successful and resilient economy which is supporting a record number of people into employment.
“My focus now, and going into the budget, is on boosting productivity so that we can deliver higher-wage jobs and a better standard of living for people across the country.”
Approximately £5m of the total funding will be used to develop a cryo-electron microscope that will be used for building three-dimensional (3D) models of biological components to enable quick and inexpensive drug discovery.
Additionally, a new £7m lab will be set up with innovative equipment and research scientists to establish the UK Centre for Engineering Biology, Metrology and Standards.
The remaining £5m will be used under the business catalyst scheme, Confidence in Concept, to enhance mental health treatment.
UK Science Minister Jo Johnson said: “Through the recently published Life Sciences Industrial Strategy and our progress towards a Life Sciences Sector Deal, we are determined to cement the UK’s position as a global leader and capitalise on its strengths to encourage both economic growth and improve health outcomes for patients.”