London Mayor Boris Johnson has laid out his plans to make the UK’s capital a med-tech rival to its financial services sector and take on the science hubs of Boston and Singapore.
The major medical research and translation initiative launched as MedCity and will bring together the “golden triangle” of medical research centres in London, Oxford and Cambridge to translate research for the benefit of patients and the economy. It will span across research, clinical trials and manufacturing in biotech, med tech and health tech.
The new body, which is modelled on the successful Tech City Investment Organisation, will position the London-Oxford-Cambridge life sciences sector as a world-leading cluster that will match financial services in its importance to the UK economy. It is being funded by £2.92 million from the Higher Education Funding Council for England and £1.2 million from the Mayor of London’s Office.
Johnson spoke of the need to “channel the intellectual pre-eminence” into a positive impact on the economy, and had “no doubt” MedCity could rival the financial services sector.
Deputy Mayor for business Kit Malthouse echoed this. “We have created this incredibly powerful discovery engine. How do we turn that into cures? These things have to come out of academia and be turned into therapies and drugs. We have to find a solution to dementia. If we don’t find one in the next 30 years, it’s going to bankrupt the country. We have incredibly ambitious research being spun out in a patchy way. We don’t have the same culture as the USA to turn our discoveries into business. Having a strong, vibrant cluster of life sciences is good for London and the South-East.”
Professor Dermot Kelleher, vice president (health) at Imperial College London said London as a world leader in medical research, with universities, hospitals and entrepreneurial talent puts the capital at the heart of medical discovery and its application. “MedCity will allow us to intensify efforts to turn medical innovations into patient benefits and economic value on a national and international scale.”
He added: “This collaboration will lay the foundations for the next generation of medical advances while helping secure the capital’s long-term growth. London is powering ahead to a healthier and wealthier future.”
The BioIndustry Association welcomed the launch with chief executive Steve Bates saying MedCity would drive global investment and increase understanding of the potential of the sector.
MedCity has been established by the Mayor of London and Imperial College Academic Health Science Centre, King’s Health Partners and UCLPartners with co-operation from the University of Cambridge and Oxford.
The organisation’s advisory board includes leading life sciences figures such as Imperial’s vice president (health) Professor Dermot Kelleher, Sir Paul Nurse, director of the Crick Institute, alongside successful entrepreneurs including Dr Hermann Hauser as well as leading political, medical and charitable representatives.