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The Greater Birmingham Life Sciences Commission

The Silk Report

The independent Greater Birmingham Life Sciences Commission published The Silk Report in 2015.

Chaired by Birmingham businessman Graham Silk, who is also co-founder of the Cure Leukaemia charity and Patients4Data, the Commission has looked at how Greater Birmingham can draw on its particular strengths to grow the life sciences sector for the benefit of patients and the economy.

Birmingham has a number of important and unique strengths to offer as a location for clinical trials, particularly in light of its leading accelerated early phase trials models.

In addition, we have fast and easy access to a large and diverse patient population of 5.6 million, effectively the same number of people as in Scotland, but with the diverse profile of the whole world, all within a one hour travel time.

Combining this with our numerous clinical and academic centres of excellence in a wide range of disease areas and genomics capabilities, we are in an extremely strong position to exploit this opportunity.

Graham Silk, Chairman, Greater Birmingham Life Sciences Commission

The Commission has highlighted Greater Birmingham’s potential to become a world-leading location for the rapid assessment of new drugs, diagnostics and devices. This includes a leading role in developing new models for accelerated clinical trials, which are providing patients with blood cancers with earlier access to new drugs, at no cost to the NHS.

Greater Birmingham’s attractiveness as a place to do clinical trials includes fast and easy access to a large and diverse patient population of 5.6 million, numerous clinical and academic centres of excellence in a wide range of disease areas and genomics capabilities.

Government is backing the Midlands as an engine for growth and this report sets out an exciting vision of the growing role that the Greater Birmingham cluster is playing in the fast emerging field of 21st Century Life and Health Sciences. Building on the ground-breaking work of the Birmingham hospitals and Institute of Translational Medicine in research medicine, and investing in the skills and technologies transforming medicines discovery, Birmingham has a big part to play as a leading cluster in 21st Century Life and Health Sciences.

George Freeman MP, Minister for Life Sciences

The Commission has identified a number of areas where local partners, in conjunction with the Government and industry, need to work together to unlock Greater Birmingham’s potential.

This includes increasing the involvement of academic and health partners in translating medical innovations into new treatments for patients, and to develop new ways of financing this activity.

The Commission also recommends investment in patient data systems, education & training, and support for small businesses looking to enter the life science and healthcare markets.

The GBSLEP Board has endorsed the Commission’s recommendations and will continue to lead joint working between local partners, Government and industry to build on the Commission’s recommendations to realise Greater Birmingham’s potential in this area.