In the Spring Budget, the Chancellor unveiled significant investments in the life sciences sector, complemented by strategic adjustments to the tax system, aimed at fostering a more favourable business environment for innovative enterprises to initiate and expand.

Dr Ash Ramzan, founder of Woodley BioReg said: “The life sciences sector plays a crucial role in advancing and expanding innovations that will empower the world to address numerous healthcare challenges on a global scale, and we need significant investment in order to achieve industry ambitions.”

Key highlights of the announcements include:

    • Life Sciences VC-Pension Fund Consortium:

      • Phoenix Group matched this investment, creating a substantial funding pool for life sciences ventures.
      • The government also mandated pension funds to disclose their UK equities investments to stimulate increased investment, currently standing at 6%, deemed suboptimal by international standards.A groundbreaking life sciences venture capital-pension fund consortium was introduced.
    • Improvements to R&D Tax Relief Claims Process:

      • An expert advisory panel will be established by HMRC to enhance the efficiency of the R&D tax relief claims process.
      • This panel will collaborate with HMRC to review and update guidance, ensuring clarity for claimants and staying abreast of cutting-edge R&D in key sectors like technology and life sciences.
    • SEIS/EIS Investor Thresholds Reinstatement:

      • Legislation will be enacted to reinstate previous eligibility criteria for high net worth or sophisticated investors, addressing concerns raised by entities like the UK Business Angels Association.
      • The government commits to further reviewing exemptions to safeguard the interests of the startup community.
    • Manufacturing and Investment Support:

      • The Life Sciences Innovative Manufacturing Fund announced £7.5 million in support for two pharmaceutical companies investing a combined £84 million to expand their manufacturing facilities in the UK.
      • AstraZeneca plans to invest £650 million in the UK, with £450 million at its manufacturing site in Speke, Liverpool, and £200 million to expand its presence in Cambridge.
    • Infrastructure Development in Cambridge:

      • The government reaffirms plans for Cambridge to become a leading scientific hub, with funding for local transport improvements and support for Cambridge University NHS Trust’s growth plans.
      • A Ministerial Taskforce is established to oversee the development of an internationally-leading life sciences hub at the Euston Quarter, with investments in Euston train station and Canary Wharf.
    • Funding Boost for Early-Career Researchers and Apprenticeships:

      • The government allocates £45 million to the Medical Research Charities Early Career Researchers Support Fund.
      • A £50 million Apprenticeship Growth Sector pilot is introduced to enhance funding for providers delivering high-value apprenticeship standards in advanced manufacturing, green, and life sciences sectors, with additional support for Science Manufacturing Technician and Laboratory Technician apprenticeships.


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