Life Sciences Businesses

Baroness Deech Excerpts
Monday 26th February 2024

(3 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Johnson of Lainston Portrait Lord Johnson of Lainston (Con)
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I am grateful to my noble friend for that point. This is very much the work of the Office for Life Sciences, the Department for Business and Trade, and the Office for Investment. We do a huge amount of work liaising with companies and investors. One of our missions is to get more life sciences funds established in the UK, so that we can, I hope, benefit from the home buyer. I was particularly pleased a few months ago to celebrate the opening of the Flagship Pioneering office in London, which is precisely that sort of life sciences fund. It was part of the incredible investment in companies such as Moderna. We want them here and they want to come to the UK. If we can encourage them to do this, it will have a huge advantage in bridging the gaps my noble friend mentioned.

Baroness Deech Portrait Baroness Deech (CB)
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My Lords, I wonder whether the atmosphere is too pessimistic. The University of Oxford has propelled itself to the forefront of the world in its life sciences and science parks, notably one by Magdalen College that has more than 100 start-ups and is expanding. Does this not mean that the Government should support universities, their freedom and their ability to do science? It is from that that the great success of these life sciences start-ups has come.

Lord Johnson of Lainston Portrait Lord Johnson of Lainston (Con)
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I totally agree with the noble Baroness. I would go further and say that one policy motor that has been successful so far is these life science investment zones, particularly in Liverpool. I had the privilege to meet with Steve Rotherham today and the metro mayors, who have been leading across the board and in Yorkshire, to find an essence of focus for the investment into these new technologies. We are doing a huge amount of work on university spin-offs as well—organisations such as Northern Gritstone and Midlands Mindforge are the absolute core of the work I am doing to get money internationally into these pools of capital.