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16 July 2015

Launch of new parliamentary group for life sciences

The world’s only minister for life sciences, George Freeman, has underlined the Government’s commitment to genomics and its support for centres of excellence that are promoting innovative healthcare across the UK.

Genomics is the diagnosis and treatment of an individual by looking at their DNA. This is being pioneered in the treatment of epilepsy here at Epilepsy Society’s Chalfont Centre in Buckinghamshire.

Speaking in Westminster  at the launch of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Life Sciences, the UK parliamentary under secretary of state for health said the old model of research and development working in silos was no longer acceptable.

‘At the moment we have an old fashioned system where drugs are discovered, pharma companies carry out research and development and patients wait patiently – and this all happens in silos,’ he told delegates from the life science industries. He said this model was too long and too expensive.

‘We must unlock the power of genomics and data and bring them more quickly to patients,’ he said. ‘We need to embrace and engage in challenging innovation that will deliver better health for the future. We need to diagnose earlier, treat smarter and embrace technology. We must generate wealth to pay for an increasingly ageing society.'

Kit Malthouse, MP for North West Hampshire and chair of the APPG for Life Sciences said the new group was a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness of the life science industry in parliament. ‘Life sciences are one of the most vital industries in the UK, if not the world,’ he said. ‘There is a massive win/win/win opportunity here. We can make money, save money and cure diseases. No other industry can do this.’