Minister visits Birmingham for Life Sciences update
George Freeman MP and Minister for Life Sciences, visited Birmingham today and attended a lunch at the ITM (Institute of Translational Medicine), which is due to officially open in spring 2016.
The lunch was attended by Graham Silk from the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) and key ITM representatives including those from the University of Birmingham and University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, which together form Birmingham Health Partners.
Earlier this year, the GBSLEP launched a new Life Sciences Commission to create a roadmap to achieve a world class environment and industry offer to attract life sciences to the city of Birmingham and wider region.
Chaired by Graham Silk, the Commission presented its first report in July which identified that Birmingham is playing a leading role in developing new models for accelerated clinical trials, which are providing patients with blood cancers earlier access to new drugs, at no cost to the NHS. The Commission notes that the new Institute of Translational Medicine at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, will extend these models to other diseases including solid tumours and rare, auto-immune and chronic diseases.
Graham Silk said: “It was great to welcome the Minister to Birmingham today and talk to him about the important and unique strengths our city and region has to offer as a location for clinical trials, particularly in light of its leading accelerated early phase trials models.
“Over the last 10 years, incredible progress has been made in how new medicines and devices are treating patients, with a significant move towards personalised and stratified treatments, and this has been significantly driven by the UK life sciences industry.
“In Greater Birmingham, we are already very strong in the area of accelerated trials with our forward thinking vision in creating the Institute of Translational Medicine. With such an ideally placed and diverse population we can make strides in expanding and stimulating life sciences activity in the region. Ultimately, the creation of a sustainable throughput of new treatments will deliver a massive improvement to patient outcomes, not only for our region but around the globe.”
The Commission has also identified a number of areas where local partners, in conjunction with the Government and industry, need to work together to unlock Greater Birmingham’s potential around life sciences. This includes increasing the involvement of academic and health partners in translating medical innovations into new treatments for patients, and to develop new ways of financing this activity. The Commission also recommends investment in patient data systems, education & training, and support for small businesses looking to enter the life sciences and healthcare markets.
- Graham Silk is a Birmingham businessman who is also co-founder of the Cure Leukaemia charity and Patients4Data.
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