Cancer is a cruel disease which devastates not only those affected but their families and loved ones.
The great British public has time and time again shown amazing generosity in providing its time, donations and goodwill to support a vast array of incredible cancer charities, all laser focused on improving outcomes for patients and saving lives.
The best way to achieve real progress is by working together. That means government, businesses, the scientific community and charities uniting behind a common cause, to rid the nation of this disease.
This government is more committed than ever to achieving our vision for life sciences to ensure NHS patients benefit from cutting-edge treatments, particularly in cancer treatment.
In November, we announced over £113 million to fund research into cancer, obesity, mental health and addiction – to unlock the next generation of medicines and diagnostics to save lives. Today we have signed an agreement with a world leading biopharmaceutical company, BioNTech, representing another significant step towards the ultimate goal in the fight against cancer – a cure.
In the development of a Covid-19 vaccine, BioNTech was at the cutting edge of vaccine technology. Its leading scientists worked with Pfizer on creating one of the first globally approved Covid-19 vaccines. Many of you reading this will have since had the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 jab, which has made a significant difference in helping us return to a more normal way of life. This new partnership has the potential to make just as significant a difference.
BioNTech will bring its innovative vaccine research to our shores, opening up offices and laboratory space to develop cutting-edge immunotherapies, continuing its work to combat global diseases including cancer, malaria and tuberculosis.
It will thus bring vital jobs and investment to the UK and patients will benefit from early access to trials on promising vaccines and personalised therapies. By harnessing technology together, BioNTech will benefit from working with our world-renowned scientific community, while the country will benefit from working with their experts.
Life sciences are at their best when experts work collaboratively. The Covid-19 pandemic proved this and the UK government led the way in vaccine rollout precisely because we harnessed this type of scientific expertise. Work already being done by the National Institute for Health and Care Research, Genomics England and the new NHS England-led Cancer Vaccines Launch Pad will further bolster this partnership.
With Moderna recently confirming it will also be conducting significant research on next-generation vaccines in the UK over the next decade, the UK continues to be seen as a leader in the life sciences sector.
And while, of course, we cannot guarantee a cure, by bringing even more innovative vaccine research to the UK we have a real opportunity to transform outcomes for cancer patients, which should be universally welcomed.