Life science companies can now apply to the new £20 million fund to expand manufacturing in the UK, Minister Nadhim Zahawi announced today (Wednesday 7 April).

Announced last November by the Prime Minister and now open for applications, the Medicines and Diagnostics Manufacturing Transformation Fund is designed to boost the country’s ability to respond to future pandemics and put UK companies ahead of global competitors.

With two-thirds of life science manufacturing jobs already outside London and the South East, the new £20 million fund will also open up economic and investment opportunities for manufacturers across the whole of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, improving our domestic supply chains and safeguarding and creating hundreds of highly skilled manufacturing jobs.

The UK has one of the strongest and most productive health and life sciences industries globally, with a turnover of £80 billion and supporting 256,000 jobs, underpinned by a powerful research landscape and high-quality science base.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: This £20 million investment will harness the best in UK manufacturing and fund cutting-edge medical technologies to protect the British public in 2021 and beyond. This will not only boost the UK’s already strong vaccine and medicine portfolio but support top quality, local jobs across the country and put the UK in a formidable position to continue responding to the most pressing global challenges of our time.

Life Sciences Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: Our life sciences sector is world leading and its incredible response to COVID-19 has reminded us of the crucial importance of the sector to the UK. I am thrilled to see this fund opening for applications and would encourage companies to make the most of the opportunity to expand their operations and create good jobs as we build back better from the pandemic.

The pandemic has shown the importance of having a strong domestic medicines and diagnostics manufacturing industry. This new fund has been established to grow and strengthen the UK’s capabilities, as well as encouraging companies to deploy new technologies, build new factories and harness new advances, including bioprocessing, data and using greener manufacturing processes.

To date, the UK government has invested over £300 million into manufacturing a successful vaccine, and through the work of the Vaccine Taskforce, established in April 2020, facilities across the UK are working at pace to supply the world’s most promising vaccines so far as part of the biggest vaccination programme in NHS history.

Today’s announcement forms part of the government’s plans to bolster secure and resilient onshore UK manufacturing capacity, ensuring universal and equitable access to safe, efficacious and affordable vaccines, medicines and diagnostics for this and future pandemics, taking advantage of our world-leading genomics expertise.