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In support of the new government vision for the future of UK Life Sciences

Last week the government released their new Life Sciences Vision. This 10-year strategy for the sector aims to ensure that the United Kingdom builds a supportive environment for the development of the life science sector, offering simple scale-up and growth, access to relevant funds and faster routes to market for new medicines.

Aptamer Group welcomes the new strategy, with the focus on both improving the translation of biotech innovation for improved patient outcomes, and governmental support to increase liquidity within the sector, for increased maintenance of the sector assets and expertise across the UK, including further development of the Northern Powerhouse.

The report outlines an intention to utilize the response model of the COVID-19 pandemic, where a rapid pace of development was achieved under a culture of collaboration, increased risk-taking and solution-building science. Applying these new collaborative methods between SMEs, NHS, PHE, research academics and large pharma, there is an aim to bridge the gap between innovation and medical trials to tackle 10 generationally critical healthcare problems.

Among the critical healthcare missions outlined, Aptamer Group currently has active partnerships to develop novel Optimer therapeutics and reagents in a number of these areas, including enabling novel modalities and immune therapy in the treatment of cancer, and supporting the discovery, development and manufacture of novel vaccines. Additionally, the company has a key focus on the use of the Optimer platform to support CNS diseases, such as neurodegeneration and dementia.

Underpinning the new strategy is an intention to broaden access to and increase the use of large datasets stemming from multiomics studies, including genomics and proteomics. Optimer ligands offer ideal tool reagents for highly specific target detection and discrimination that could enable proteomic and metabolomic platforms to support gathering of large datasets for mining.

To support the progression and commercialization of novel therapeutics, such as cell and gene therapies, oligonucleotide therapeutics and viral vectors, developed as part of this strategy there will be a requirement for novel affinity ligands for affinity purification. At Aptamer Group we are seeing huge growth in this field, with Optimer-based affinity purification delivering the potential to facilitate manufacture of many new therapeutics. Within the report the government has highlighted intent to increase advanced manufacturing capabilities within the UK, developing key expertise and capacity within the system, along with improved regulatory processes and trade and investment to develop this sector as a global leader.

As we envision the next decade from this report, the Optimer platform is strategically placed to support the industry both in terms of pandemic preparedness and the reduction net zero. The Optimer platform offers sector-leading development times to enable rapid response to emerging infections, as seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, with SARS-COV-2 specific binders developed and validated in 17 days, whilst the high thermostability of Optimers overcomes the requirement for cold supply chains, which consume 20% more fuel than other heavy vehicle transportation and account for more than 6% of greenhouse gas emissions.

At Aptamer Group we are already working hard with key partners across many of the focus areas outlined in the Life Science Vision and are pleased to see the government’s recognition of the potential for the UK to cement its position as a ‘science superpower’ through the generation of a pro-enterprise environment.



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