South Cambs MP launches new forum to champion local life sciences

Anthony Browne - South Cambs MP. Picture: Stephen Frost

Anthony Browne - South Cambs MP. Picture: Stephen Frost - Credit: Archant

MP Anthony Browne has launched the South Cambridgeshire Life Sciences Forum as part of his campaign to support the 'vital' local life sciences sector.

The forum was held via Zoom and brought together more than 30 life sciences businesses and professionals, including Kristen McLeod, director of the Office of Life Sciences, who updated the attendees on the work being done at a national level.

Topics covered included scientific funding post-Brexit, laboratory space, supply of specialist materials, social care, industrial strategy and practical genomics (DNA).

Following this launch, forums will be held regularly to keep an open dialogue between the government and the local life sciences sector.

In Cambridgeshire, life science companies lead the fight against COVID-19 and are a significant employer, with the Cambridge Biomedical Campus employing more than 20,000 skilled workers in fields ranging from biomedical research, patient care and education.

South Cambs is also home to the global headquarters of AstraZeneca, the Cambridge Stem Cell Institute, the Babraham Research Campus and Granta Park.

Mr Browne said: “If 2020 has shown us anything, it is how vital our life sciences sector is to our country and the wider world.

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“I am extremely proud of the contribution made by companies and scientists right here in South Cambridgeshire, and think it is incredibly important that the government is aware of the challenges faced by this sector and works to ensure they can overcome them.

“I will continue to champion the important work life sciences companies are doing in South Cambridgeshire and ensure that it has the support needed from national government to succeed and grow.”

Mr Browne previously hosted life sciences minister Lord Bethell in the constituency, and joined him on a tour of the AstraZeneca testing centre.

He also wrote to the UK's top mobile network operators urging them to support life scientists, in a letter co-signed by the heads of Cambridgeshire's life science campuses, describing South Cambs as a 'mission critical' location both for scientific research and as a key driver of economic recovery.