Oxford, UK - The Spring Budget delivered by the Chancellor on 8 March 2017 continues to hit the headlines.  What is its potential impact on the UK biotech industry?

Contributed by Mike Shearan, Senior Manager, James Cowper Kreston (and OBN Investment & Tax Special Interest Group (ITSIG))

We set out briefly below some announcements from the Budget which affect the biotech industry in longer-term ways:


Although there were no proposals to amend rules on EIS or SEIS, the Budget announced a review of ‘patient’ or long-term capital investment into high-growth companies.   This review will look at the workings of longer-term finance by institutions, and also the current workings of tax reliefs on investments into companies to make sure that they are effective.

R and D TAX CREDITS                                                   

Again, although there were no detailed proposals to amend R&D tax credits, the Budget also confirmed that there were no plans to reduce or wind down the availability of the scheme.  Instead, there will be a review aimed at reducing administrative burdens in its operation, and action to improve awareness of the tax credits amongst small and medium businesses.


Government has various funds and initiatives aimed at promoting R&D in different sectors.    Some announcements in this Spring Budget were:

The National Productivity Investment Fund is a wider fund of Government money, of up to £23 billion, which was first announced in late 2016, covering spending on housing, R&D and economic infrastructure.   The R&D aspect of this is intended to ‘enhance the UK’s position as a world leader in science and innovation’.   It is understood that approximately £4.7 billion will be the amount spent on R&D, over the next few years, and this is starting to be allocated, with £300 million committed to science and innovation research, £270 million to researching the disruptive technologies of the future, £16 million to a 5G mobile technology hub and £200 million to the Government’s National 5G Innovation Network.

The Industry Strategy Challenge Fund, to be overseen by UK Research & Innovation, is another programme and fund within the context of the Government’s industrial strategy.  There is a programme of engagement with academia and industry to identify ‘disruptive technologies’, and the first round of funding for 2017/18 includes accelerating patient access to new drugs and treatments from new medicine manufacturing technologies.  More information below:




The Budget announced spending of up to £90 million on new PhD places to help secure a pipeline of research in key science and technology areas.

An additional £50 million, allocated from existing international development budgets, will go towards fellowships to attract researchers to the UK from emerging researching countries such as India, China, Brazil and Mexico: