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Cutting-edge medical research techniques to contribute £2.5 billion to UK economy by 2026

Cutting-edge medical research techniques to contribute £2.5 billion to UK economy by 2026

Published on October 6, 2021

New economic report for Animal Free Research UK shows bold investment in new approach methodologies – aka NAMs – could see better treatments for patients, benefit economy and make Britain a science superpower.

FINDINGS from a new study published today, The Economic Impact of the UK’s New Approach Methodologies Sector, provides powerful evidence of the valuable contribution NAMs are already making to the British economy.

NAMs include the use of human cells and tissues, artificial intelligence and organ-on-a-chip technology – techniques which produce results that are directly applicable to humans because they do not encounter the pitfalls of extrapolating from one species to another.

The report, carried out by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) for Animal Free Research UK, also shows how the sector is likely to grow over the next five years, forecasting that it will contribute £2.5 billion to UK GDP in 2026.

Significant, strategic investment in future-focused, human relevant techniques by government would help boost the growth of this cutting-edge global industry further and place Britain at its forefront.

Crucially, from the findings, Animal Free Research UK argues if NAMs were placed at the heart of the government’s scientific strategy, patient care would improve as there would be a much better chance of medical progress advancing – because it would not be held back by misleading animal tests.

Many medical treatments remain stubbornly high-cost, while over 92% of drugs that show promise in animal tests fail to reach the clinic and benefit patients. This because of significant genetic differences between humans and animals.  However, increased investment in and the greater use of cutting-edge techniques to ensure a higher success rate, could help to reduce the price of medicines for the NHS.


The Economic Impact of the UK’s New Approach Methodologies Sector report found:

  • The UK NAMs industry contributed £2.3 billion in turnover and £592 million in Gross Value Added (GVA) to the British economy in 2019
  • From 2017-2019, the contribution of the UK NAMs industry grew with GVA rising by 86.3%.
  • In 2026, the UK NAMs industry’s contribution to UK GDP is predicted to reach £2.5bn. This would represent a 700% increase between 2017 and 2026.


Carla Owen, CEO of Animal Free Research UK, said: “The ethical and scientific arguments for replacing animals with human relevant techniques are well-known. Now the report from Cebr adds significant weight to the economic case for supporting NAMs.”


In light of the findings, Animal Free Research UK today calls on the Government to:

  • Include modernising medical research within the forthcoming Innovation Missions programme
  • Develop a concrete plan to implement the transition from animal use to exclusively NAMs
  • Create a new ministerial position to oversee and coordinate research modernisation
  • Provide significant funding for the standardisation and uptake of existing NAMs and the R&D – including tax relief and grants – of new cutting-edge techniques.


Dr Jarrod Bailey, Animal Free Research UK’s Science Director, said: “If the Government seizes the opportunity to ensure that Britain plays a leading role in the growing NAMs industry, this will benefit the economy and help to secure our position as a global science superpower.”






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