Scotland’s Deputy First Minister has announced funding of up to £9.5 million to help grow the development of medicine tailored to individual patients based on their genes.
John Swinney said the cash boost will help Scotland compete in the global precision medicine industry, estimated to be worth more than 130 million dollars (£100 million) by 2025, and to save Scotland’s NHS £70 billion in half a century.
Precision medicine refers to tailoring medical decisions, treatments, practices, and products to individual patients, often on a genetic basis.
The money will be invested over the next five years in genomic medicine projects managed by the Precision Medicine Innovation Scotland Centre at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow.
Before the announcement to academics and business leaders in Perth on Monday, Mr Swinney 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.”
He added: “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 centre was opened in 2013 with an initial investment of £8 million and was then known as Stratified Medicine Scotland Innovation Centre.
The centre’s chief operating officer, Marian McNeil, 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.”