Hammond announces £17m to boost drug discovery and bolster mental health treatment

Courtney Goldsmith
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Chancellor Philip Hammond announced the funding as part of the industrial strategy (Source: Getty)

The chancellor today unveiled £17m of new government funding earmarked to boost the discovery new drugs and support of mental health treatment.

Philip Hammond unveiled the funding today at the Francis Crick Institute, the largest biomedical research laboratory in Europe.

Hammond said his focus going into next month's Autumn Budget was on boosting productivity to deliver higher-wage jobs and a better standard of living.

"That is why I am visiting the Francis Crick Institute, where they are using cutting-edge research to generate real-life health improvements. The UK has world-leading expertise in life sciences – an industry that employs hundreds of thousands of people – and it is through supporting growth in these cutting edge industries that we will build a competitive economy that works for everyone," Hammond said.

Read more: May's industrial strategy needs an OBR-style watchdog, say businesses

The UK's life sciences industry employs nearly 235,000 people and generates turnover of £63.5bn.

The funding comes as part of the life sciences industrial strategy, which was published in August, and will go towards a state of the art cryo-electron microscope to help make drug discovery faster and cheaper, an innovation hub with new equipment and research scientists and a business catalyst scheme to boost treatment for mental health.

The government has previously said it plans to increase investment in research and development by an extra £2bn a year by the end of this parliament.

"The government is committed to continuing to help this sector go from strength to strength," said science minister Jo Johnson.

"Through the recently published life sciences industrial strategy and our progress towards a Life Sciences Sector Deal, we are determined to cement the UK’s position as a global leader and capitalise on its strengths to encourage both economic growth and improve health outcomes for patients."

Read more: Government mulls plans to make UK a life sciences world leader

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