The second Life Sciences Sector Deal will support healthcare innovation and back businesses to create high-paid, high-quality jobs.

Tens of thousands of lives could be saved by pioneering research to detect deadly diseases before symptoms even appear, thanks to a new collaboration between the government and the Life Sciences Industry. The deal will also announce that global biopharmaceutical company UCB is investing £1 billion in research and development, including in a new state-of-the-art facility, continuing the UK’s reputation as a world leading base for global life sciences research and industry.

The programme, backed by up to £79 million of government funding, will study 5 million healthy people to develop new diagnostic tests using AI and is part of the government’s Life Science’s Sector Deal 2, announced by Businesses Secretary Greg Clark and Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

The deal, which brings together 10 companies and is backed by wide range of organisations from across the sector, includes more than £1.3 billion of investment between the public and private sectors. It ensures the UK remains in pole position in the treatments of today, while creating the industries and treatments of the future such as genomics and AI-powered diagnosis.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said, “From the first vaccine to the discovery of DNA, the UK has always been at the forefront of medical endeavour and healthcare innovations. That is why we are building on our unique strengths by placing life sciences at the centre of our modern Industrial Strategy, backed by the biggest increase in public research and development investment in UK history.

“This is our modern Industrial Strategy in action as we work hand in hand with industry to ensure the UK remains the go-to destination for launching new businesses, new discoveries and treatments to benefit health around the world.

“The announcement of UCB’s investment in new research and development is a clear vote of confidence in UK life sciences research base and business.”

The programme – Accelerating Detection of Disease – will be led by Professor Sir John Bell and brings together the NHS, industry and leading charities including Cancer Research UK, the British Heart Foundation and Alzheimer’s Research UK. It will be the largest ever study of its kind collecting such a range of data from healthy volunteers over years. This will help deliver the Early Diagnosis Mission — a key part of the Industrial Strategy’s AI and Data Grand Challenge. Businesses will be able to access this funding through UK Research and Innovation managed competitions.

Researchers will study how the group’s health changes, identifying common characteristics to understand how and why diseases develop. The ambition is to empower everyone to understand their risk of developing diseases and take steps to remain healthy for longer. The project will attract investment from global life science companies seeking to develop new diagnostic tools and treatments.

It is estimated that if late stage diagnosis were halved across bowel, ovary, prostate and lung cancer, over 55,500 more people would be diagnosed at an early stage, potentially resulting in 22,500 fewer deaths per year within 5 years of diagnosis.