The UK Office for Life Sciences (OLS) has announced the launch of a pilot programme blueprint that will introduce an ‘innovation pass’, which will make it easier for companies to get innovative new drugs onto the market.

As part of the OLS Blueprint, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) along with the government will introduce the three-year ‘innovation pass’ initiative, with a budget of £25m, in 2010/2011.

It is hoped that the pilot will accelerate the uptake of innovative medicines by making selected medicines, that have passed initial testing, available on the NHS for a limited amount of time prior to approval by the NICE.

The scheme also includes a “patent box” incentive, which could offer a lower rate of tax on profits derived from products with patents located in the UK.

The UK Minister for Science & Innovation Lord Drayson, who announced the programme, said that by championing innovation, the NHS can support the life sciences industry in developing ways to improve people’s health.

“The UK life sciences have everything going for them: world-class facilities, talented scientists and entrepreneurial flair. We are changing how industry, academia, government and the NHS work together to create jobs and ensure a bright future for this country,” Drayson said.

The UK National Health Service will also review incentives to accelerate the uptake of the project including a possible payment by results system.

GlaxoSmithKline CEO Andrew Witty said that the blueprint has the potential to transform the environment for life sciences and positively change how the sector invests in the UK.

“We are committed to working with the government, industry, academia and the NHS to make this happen and further establish the UK as a world leader in life sciences,” Witty said.

The UK Technology Strategy Board (TSB) will also launch an £18m “RegenMed” programme, which places priority on investment to support commercial R&D with additional funding from the Medical Research Council, the Engineering and physical sciences research council, and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.