Chancellor leads discussion on future of UK life sciences at WCID
The Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt MP visited White City Innovation District this week to host the latest in his series of ‘Treasury Connect’ conferences. The event was held at Scale Space at Imperial College London’s White City Campus.
The event brought together policymakers, academics and leading industry figures to explore how to drive growth across the life sciences sector and maintain the UK’s global competitiveness.
The Chancellor was joined by the Rt Hon Michelle Donelan MP, Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology; Nus Ghani MP, Minister of State at the Department for Business and Trade and Minister of State for the Investment Security Unit at the Cabinet Office; and Will Quince MP, Minister for Health and Secondary Care.
Speaking during the conference, the Chancellor highlighted the “tremendous strength” of Britain’s entrepreneurial companies across life sciences, digital technology, and advanced manufacturing as well as financial services.
The Chancellor referenced the key challenges currently faced by the life sciences sector, including innovation adoption in the NHS, pricing negotiations in the voluntary scheme for branded medicines pricing and access, and questions around clinical trials, onshoring manufacturing and regulations.
“We are doing it from a very strong base. We have the largest life sciences industry in Europe, thanks to the efforts of people in this room. We think this is a really big opportunity for the UK.”The Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt MP
Professor Hugh Brady, President of Imperial College London, commented: “Imperial’s White City Campus embodies the UK’s science superpower ambitions. In this vibrant part of the capital, academics, clinicians, entrepreneurs and established industry are co-locating and co-creating on an unprecedented scale – driving economic growth, transforming lives, and bolstering the UK’s reputation as a destination of choice for life sciences innovation.”
He added: “We were pleased to welcome The Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, and Rt Hon Michelle Donelan MP, Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology to White City today to discuss the future of Life Sciences and how we can ensure the UK can position itself at the forefront of this important growth sector.”
WCID’s Pioneering start-upS
During the event, the Chancellor toured Imperial College London student start-up Puraffinity, based at Scale Space. Puraffinity has developed a pioneering technology that selectively removes from water the man-made chemicals PFAS – a harmful class termed ‘forever chemicals’. These ‘forever chemicals’ persist in the environment and are linked to severe health effects, including several types of cancer, decreased fertility and immune system disruption.
Puraffinity’s patented smart adsorbent materials work much more effectively than existing water treatment technologies, selectively targeting PFAS chemicals to remove a higher proportion from water, reducing human and environmental exposure to these harmful chemicals.
Puraffinity became one of the first companies to occupy Imperial’s White City Incubator and is now successfully growing its business based at Scale Space. This White City-based innovation is delivering impact across the UK, with Puraffinity recently opening a new manufacturing centre near Middlesbrough.
CTO of Purrafinity Simon Foxon said: “We’re delighted to host the Chancellor and showcase our sustainable approach to tackle one of the environmental concerns of our time, forever chemicals. Being aligned on the ambition to build category defining British businesses is essential across all stakeholders of the UK, and we’re excited to see such clear support from the government for deep tech companies.”
HELPING BUSINESSES TO FLOURISH
Scale Space, a partnership between Imperial College London and Blenheim Chalcot – the UK’s leading digital venture builder – is a community of scale-ups, with over 70 member businesses.
Located in the heart of the White City Innovation District, Scale Space has 200,000 sq ft of state-of-the-art office, lab and event facilities. Opened in 2020, it is now a vibrant community that supports the majority of Blenheim Chalcot’s portfolio businesses, as well as other innovative companies with key sector clusters forming around digital tech, AI and life sciences.
Scale Space helps its member companies to be successful by connecting them to the people, services and space they need to grow and thrive, with the ambition to transform White City Innovation District into one of the best innovation ecosystems in the world.
“We are delighted to have hosted such a productive set of discussions between entrepreneurs, academics, investors and government. Life sciences is a key growth cluster in White City and the broad support shown for the sector today was great to see.”Michael Holmes, Scale Space CEO
Photos and graphics subject to third party copyright used with permission or © Imperial College London.