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In the news: UK biotech industry investment a “vote of confidence”

Two investment deals in the UK’s biotech industry demonstrate confidence in the industrial strategy, the government has said. 

MSD (Merck), is to create approximately 950 jobs at a new London-based research centre, while German Qiagen will be adding to its investment in a genomics and diagnostics campus based in Manchester.

“People don’t make the investments of this scale that are for the long term if they don’t have the confidence that we are building in this country a very attractive base,” said Business Secretary, Greg Clark, calling the decisions “a huge vote of confidence”.

The main points of the government’s industrial strategy, published last week, are:

  • Deals in Life Sciences, Artificial Intelligence, Automotive and Construction
  • Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund – an additional £725 million in funding to the £1 billion announced earlier in the year, to support innovation in robotics and battery technology. This extra funding has been earmarked for Life Sciences and Construction
  • R&D tax credit – a 12% rise in Research & Development tax credits

UK and Ireland Managing Director of MSD, Louise Houson, said: “This investment presents a major opportunity for us to work in collaboration with the UK government to build on the forward-thinking and ambitious industrial strategy white paper being published.”

It is expected that Qiagen will sign a deal in early 2018 to add 270 staff to its Manchester site, with the government suggesting that the investment could create 800 skilled jobs in the Manchester ‘Life Sciences hub’, at both Qiagen and others.

Chief Executive of Qiagen, Peer Schatz, said the combined involvement of the University of Manchester, the NHS Trust, and the UK government were “essential” to the investment.

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