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Deputy First Minister announces £9.5m for precision medicine

Photo: University of Aberdeen

17 Feb 2020

Scotland’s Deputy First Minister, John Swinney, has announced up to £9.5 million of new funding to strengthen Scotland’s position in precision medicine, an industry estimated to be worth over £100 billion by 2025. The announcement was made at a gathering of academics and business leaders that took place today in Perth.

The funding will be invested over the next five years by the Scottish Funding Council and Scottish Enterprise. It will support the growth of precision medicine in Scotland through industry-led projects managed by the Precision Medicine Scotland Innovation Centre (formerly the Stratified Medicine Scotland Innovation Centre). The initiative’s backers believe that precision medicine - where medical decisions, treatments, practices, and products are tailored to individual patients – can also deliver substantial savings for the NHS in Scotland.

Speaking ahead of today’s event, the Deputy First Minister said:

“Scotland has the potential to be a world leader in the field of precision medicine and this new £9.5 million investment will build on the success of our earlier work within phase one.

“The funding announced today - £7.5 million from the Scottish Funding Council and up to £2 million from Scottish Enterprise – will be used to support the use of precision medicine in the NHS and to accelerate the growth of the industry in Scotland.

“It will also be used to promote the progress Scotland has made within precision medicine and attract people with the right qualifications and skills to work and study within the field here.

“Precision medicine offers significant health benefits by tailoring medical treatment to individual patients but it also provides economic benefits including increased turnover and job creation and enhanced levels of collaboration between industry, the education sector and the NHS.

“The Scottish Government is committed to accelerating the development and implementation of precision medicine to bring health and wealth benefits for generations to come.”

The newly launched phase 2 of the Precision Medicine Scotland Innovation Centre will continue to act as a catalyst for partnerships between industry, academics and clinical experts. In phase 1 the Innovation Centre produced a number of large scale exemplar projects in areas including ovarian cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, oesophageal cancer and multiple sclerosis.

The Precision Medicine Scotland Innovation Centre will use the funding announced today to support the implementation of precision medicine in the NHS and to accelerate the growth of the industry in Scotland. It will also work to raise Scotland’s international profile in the field of precision medicine and increase the number of people with the qualifications and skills required by the industry.

Marian McNeil, Chief Operating Officer of the Precision Medicine Innovation Centre, said:

“Precision Medicine offers the opportunity to improve how patients are treated and this will bring savings for the NHS in Scotland which have been estimated to be in the region of £70 billion over a period of 50 years. There are currently around 230 Scottish companies working in this area and this investment opens the door to further growth in jobs and investment.”

In addition to the funding from the Scottish Funding Council and Scottish Enterprise, the Precision Medicine Innovation Centre expects to be able to attract around £4.2 million of income from other sources.