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UK and Texas medical centre agree partnership to drive life sciences innovation

The UK’s life sciences industry received a major boost today (Wednesday 12 September) as the Department for International Trade (DIT) agreed a landmark ‘BioBridge’ collaboration with the world’s largest medical complex.

The Texas Medical Center (TMC), home to more than 60 world leading innovators, including the US’ leading cancer hospital, will now offer UK companies a unique package which will help boost exports and drive forward scientific innovation.

British life sciences businesses will now be able to locate themselves at the TMC in Houston, where they will have access to a network of advisors, investors and medical experts from both the Center and DIT.

The partnership will allow for a significant research collaboration on a wide range of medical issues, including the development and advancement of Genomics and Cancer treatments.

Additionally, shared priorities will focus on entry into new markets through accelerators – providing legal, business, regulatory, and mentorship to startup companies from both countries.

Speaking at an event to celebrate the launch in London today, Minister of State for the Department for International Trade, Baroness Fairhead, said:

The UK is a world leader in healthcare innovation, and this partnership is clear evidence of the opportunities that exist for our companies in exciting markets such as the US.

Our recently launched Export Strategy will help even more British life sciences companies to reach new markets – bringing together some of the brightest minds in science to advance the availability of innovative healthcare across the globe.

President & CEO of TMC, William McKeon, said:

This truly unique collaboration is a testament to the Texas Medical Center’s and the United Kingdom’s joint commitment to further fostering the cross-pollination of ideas, people, and innovation in the life sciences.

We believe this new relationship will serve to create a tactical alliance between TMC and a nation that has been at the forefront of substantial medical innovation for centuries.

The collaboration is also a step forward in harnessing the UK’s world-renowned research and development capabilities. Healthcare trusts in Oxford, Cambridge and Manchester are in talks with TMC institutions that are actively looking to formulate partnerships.

Three UK companies have already made use of the BioBridge:

  • Paxman Scalp Cooling A company which specialises in cooling therapies to help breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, have set up a subsidiary in Houston gaining traction due the entrepreneurial attitude of CEO, Richard Paxman.
  • SurePulse Medical and FirstKind Limited Both companies are in the initial stages of engagement with TMC ahead of major presentations to hundreds of investors, industry leaders and hospitals at ‘Demonstration Days’ in Texas.

Chief Executive of UK Research and Innovation, Sir Mark Walport, said:

This unique opportunity will prove to be a valuable asset to UK and US healthcare professionals who are working tirelessly on the advancement of medical treatments for people all over the world.

With the recognition of the UK as a leader in research and development, I hope to see further collaboration between the Texas Medical Center and the UK in the near future.

To celebrate the announcement of the partnership in London, representatives from the TMC and UK partners will meet to discuss further opportunities for collaboration, including foreign direct investment.

Further information

The US spent $3.3tn on healthcare in 2016, which was 18% of GDP. National health expenditure is projected to grow to $5.7tn in 2026, which would be nearly 20% of GDP. This presents a significant opportunity for UK companies who currently export more than £6bn of pharma and £750m medtech to the US each year.

The government recently launched its Export Strategy which sets out how we will support businesses of all sizes to make the most of the opportunities presented by markets around the world.

A collaboration with business, developed after extensive engagement with a range of UK firms – the Strategy sets a new ambition from government to increase exports as a proportion of UK GDP to 35%.

The BioBridge agreement is the culmination of over 18 months of preparatory work by the entire government team at the British Consulate General in Houston, including the DIT team and the Science and Innovation Network.

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