Britain has earmarked 180 million pounds to bring new medical technologies to market in a move that should speed the take-up of new medicines by the National Health Service and make the country more attractive to big pharma firms.

Prime Minister David Cameron will talk about ways to boost Britain's 50 billion pound turnover life sciences industry, according to the text of a speech due to be delivered on Monday.

Cameron will outline plans to bridge the gap between basic science and its application, and to put new drugs and technologies into hospitals more quickly.

Science minister David Willetts told BBC radio: Above all, there should be a very clear route from the idea in the publicly supported research lab, through to the application in the patient in the publicly-supported NHS. That is the way to get the businesses to grow for the future and, of course, it is the best thing for patients as well.

Drug companies have been complaining for years that Britain was often slow to adopt new medicines and use them in its state-funded NHS.

We have got to change radically -- the way we innovate, the way we collaborate, the way we open up the NHS, Cameron was set to say in his speech.

The support outlined by Cameron, dubbed the Biomedical Catalyst fund, will be open to universities and small and medium-sized enterprises.

Cameron was also expected to unveil an early access scheme for new drugs, in which seriously ill patients could use new drugs up to a year before they were fully licensed.

While Britain has been particularly reliant on pharmaceutical firms for success in manufacturing, the industry has been under pressure in recent years and forced to make cutbacks.

A decision by the world's largest pharmaceutical company Pfizer
to close its research and development site in Sandwich, southern England, in February with the loss of more than 2,000 jobs was a sign of Britain's vulnerability.

When it happened I think it sent shock waves up and down Whitehall (the heart of the British government), because people realised how important this industry is to the UK, John Bell, a professor of medicine at Oxford University, told BBC radio.

Willetts said while the Pfizer move was certainly a wake-up call for us, the government was now working hard to secure investment by contract research organisations who could continue to use the site and its facilities for scientific research.

Investment returns from researching new drugs have fallen nearly 30 percent in the past year at the world's 12 top pharmaceutical companies, highlighting the productivity dilemma facing the sector, according to a study by Deloitte and Thomson Reuters published last month.

(Reporting by Kate Kelland and Mohammed Abbas. Editing by Jane Merriman)