Leading up to the UK Spring Budget announcement this week, Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt declared a £360m ($456.6m) investment into UK research and development (R&D) and manufacturing.

The government revealed plans to offer £7.5m to two pharmaceutical companies who are altogether investing £84m to expand their manufacturing plants in the UK.

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Almac, a contract development and manufacturing organisation for cancer and heart disease therapeutics is expanding its Northern Irish operations, whilst the Welsh company Ortho Clinical Diagnostics is scaling up its facilities for the production of diagnostic tests.

Hunt announced that eligible companies will be allowed to apply for a share of the £520m funding for life sciences mentioned in the Autumn Statement. The government plans to hold competitions for large-scale investments this summer and other opportunities for smaller companies will later be available in autumn.

In the Autumn Statement, the UK’s Conservative government allocated £51m for the Our Future Health Initiative, to give the National Health Service (NHS) the resources necessary to recruit more patients for clinical trials and prevent, treat and detect diseases. The UK pharmaceutical manufacturing space has been up for a reckoning with increasing competition from European countries, especially in the generics space.

In a 4 March press release, Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch said, “Today’s announcement builds on the success of our Advanced Manufacturing plan announced last year, and will ensure we continue to grow the economy, help create jobs and secure the future of great British manufacturing.”

The December 2023 Advanced Manufacturing plan proposed an additional £4.5bn of investment into strategic manufacturing sectors. The plan explained that for every £1 of government funding towards manufacturing, there would be a matching £5 given from additional private sector investment.

Following the announcement, Nigel Layton, partner and head of healthcare and life sciences at the pharmaceutical consulting company Mazars said: “The public funding, especially if it is non-dilutive, means that life science companies involved in drug discovery or the manufacturing of diagnostic technology will be able to utilise the funds to advance their R&D programmes without it jeopardising future funding rounds.”