UCLB champions spinouts' role in healthcare at roundtable with Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting

26 April 2024

The life sciences sector, that universities play a fundamental role in, has the potential to “revolutionise” healthcare in this country, Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting told a round table event run jointly with UCLB.

Speaking about the NHS’s strengths, he said two of its principal strengths were its “central equitable principle” – that when you fall ill you should never have to worry about the bill – and its staff, from the porter to the life-saving surgeon and the nurse providing critical care.

He added that those staff and “our amazing life sciences sector have the opportunity to revolutionise healthcare services in this country”, particularly for patients outcomes.

The round table, hosted by iNHouse Communications agency, also included Dr Anne Lane, CEO of UCLB, and Michelle Riddalls, CEO of consumer healthcare association PAGB.

Read The Mirror’s story on the event here.

Dr Lane stressed the importance that spinouts can have in terms of benefitting the NHS and urged any future government to continue to invest in the life sciences sector.

“The next Government can super-charge this revolution in healthcare by supporting the technology transfer process with targeted support to accelerate great ideas from our universities to have real impact where they are needed most.”

Dr Lane said UCL’s world-leading expertise in physical sciences, computing and engineering was transforming healthcare and delivering major advances in diagnostics to improve patient outcomes and reduce healthcare costs.

She added that UCLB works with UCL’s academics to bring breakthrough medical discoveries to millions of people living with cancers, rare diseases and debilitating or chronic conditions and that by licensing UCL’s technologies, UCLB enables rapid and large-scale access to vital new health innovations that will benefit the NHS and patients quickly.

She said that UCL and UCLB have helped thousands of people and communities to maintain better health – from healthy eating in young people to more effective self-management of diabetes.

Examples she cited included Roctavian, which is the world’s first ‘one and done’ lifetime cure for severe haemophilia A which was approved for use in patients in EU and US in 2023. The single-dose cure costs £1 million, compared with existing management treatments which cost between 450,000 and 600,000 US dollars per patient per year.

She called for more “consistency of funding from central Government” and the need for greater awareness of the “huge benefits down the line” that can result from the adoption of innovative treatments and practices.

The event, which was chaired by Daily Mirror assistant editor Jason Beattie, came as UCL launched a new report laying out its key statistics in its Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products research and commercialisation projects. Those projects represent one of the world’s largest development pipelines for those products.