On 27 September, Midlands Engine, Charnwood Campus and Medilink Midlands welcomed Rosalind Campion, the Director of the Office for Life Sciences (OLS), to the Midlands to meet representatives of businesses and organisations from our region’s health and life sciences sectors.
Ms Campion outlined the role of the OLS in supporting the implementation of the Government’s Vision for Life Sciences and took part in a conversation with delegates, at which they discussed shared concerns for the onshoring and nearshoring of the manufacture of pharmaceutical products and life sciences supply chain resilience.
Topics also included the need for technical skills especially at the mid/senior levels in the Midlands and the role of innovation, which is a major theme of the Vision for Life Sciences. Also discussed was the regulatory environment and the challenges in getting innovative products to market in the NHS.
Life sciences have increasingly become a regional strength area, with the Midlands boasting over 1,200 Life Sciences businesses, including the UK’s highest number of medical technologies companies, and supporting over 33,000 high skilled jobs. Our region also drives the sector internationally, with world-class universities, seven of which have medical schools, promoting strong collaboration between academia, industry and health.
Combined with our manufacturing expertise, this allows the Midlands strength in medical technologies to provide an agile response to emerging challenges. In medical technology, the region boasts the highest number of UK companies and is the second-largest UK employer.
Rosalind Campion, Director of the Office for Life Sciences said:
“I am so grateful to the Midlands Engine for hosting my visit to Charnwood Campus. It was brilliant to connect with some of the businesses in the area and to hear both about their ambitions and asks of Government. I also really enjoyed meeting with the ASHNs for the East and West Midlands.”
David Kidney, Executive Chair, West Midlands Health Technologies Cluster said:
“It was really pleasing to be able to provide Midlands businesses with this opportunity to engage with Rosalind Campion. Not only did we learn more about the 10-year UK Life Sciences Vision and its eight healthcare missions, we also found out that Ros is on our side and will be a doughty champion for life sciences businesses in the Midlands. At Midlands Engine Health, we will take care to keep up an ongoing dialogue with the Office for Life Sciences.”
Gosia Khrais, Commercial Director at Charnwood Campus said:
“It has been a pleasure to host a senior corporate executives round table discussion with Rosalind Campion, the Director for the Office of Life Sciences, organised by the Midlands Engine Health Board. The discussion delivered a focused exchange of views on challenges facing the industry with the potential to impact on the UK’s economy such as skills, residual EU exit regulatory issues around clinical trials and pharmaceutical batch release and the need for the industry and the government to step up to make nearshoring/onshoring of pharmaceutical products a reality to build business resilience.
We were also able to showcase the work we do locally through our Life Sciences Cluster Support Platform and the effort put into clustering the life sciences ecosystem around us. Roundtable discussions on senior level allow us to voice challenges and concerns directly to policy makers – a role that we have been playing for several years now and will continue to do so for the benefit of the sector on local and national level.”
Simon Himsworth, Chief Executive, Medilink Midlands, said:
“On behalf of the regional life sciences community, I felt reassured that Ros Campion took the funding challenge seriously. I’m confident she will take back to government to ensure, wherever possible, that government policy isn’t intending to give with one hand through enterprise & investment zones and inadvertently taking away with the other by not ensuring that SME Life sciences sectoral support and associated infrastructure isn’t forgotten.”
You can learn more about how the Midlands Engine are working in partnership to boost the health and life sciences industry in our region here: https://www.midlandsengine.org/sector/health/