The pharmaceutical industry in the United Kingdom has welcomed the government's Science and Innovation strategy, which was announced last week.

The U.K. government has pledged to invest £5.9 billion ($9.2 billion) to support scientific excellence until 2021, of which £2.9 billion ($4.5 billion) will support large-scale investments, including big data and high-value manufacturing, alongside a £900 million ($1.4 billion) 'capital agility fund' to respond to major challenges as they emerge.

The remaining £3 billion ($4.7 billion) will support individual research projects and laboratories.

Plans include an expansion of the Catapult network of technology and innovation centers, with two more Catapults for Precision Medicine and Energy Systems due to open next year.

Meanwhile, the High Value Manufacturing Catapult will receive £61 million ($96 million) for outreach and technical support for SMEs and £28 million ($44 million) for a new National Formulation Centre to drive manufacturing-based growth.

Welcoming this commitment, Stephen Whitehead, CEO of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) , said: "I hope that the strategy leads to a focus on sharpening the translational focus in academic discovery and bolstering its pull through to commercially viable new therapies. This would help to underpin industry investment in the U.K."

Steve Bates, CEO of the BioIndustry Association (BIA), added: "In the Science and Innovation Strategy it's great to see a long-term government plan setting out capital commitments which take into account several recommendations the BIA made on behalf of its membership and the wider life sciences sector, such as the equitable split in funding for higher education and maintaining the U.K.'s world-class labs alongside large scale investments in major national and international projects."