Over the past few years all of the agencies and organisations that shape the UK health research environment have been working together to ensure that we build on the country’s rich heritage in this field. The healthcare community, supported by world class scientists, is confident the UK can once again punch above its weight as a leading light in life sciences research.
The conference heard from the Lord Howe, Parliamentary Undersecretary of State for Quality; Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Adviser, Department of Health; leading academics and professionals from the life sciences industry, with discussion and debate by conference participants. The conference comes one year on from the publication of the Government’s Strategy for UK Life Sciences, which was warmly welcomed by industry, and aims to improve health outcomes in the UK whilst boosting the UK economy. The ABPI and BIA have supported the initiatives delivered so far, but believe there are a number of key areas that should continue and be strengthened where further progress is required:
Creating a culture of genuine partnership working where relationships become less ‘transactional’ and all stakeholders understand how in practice research is translated in to new medicines
The introduction of a workable and fully-funded Early Access to Medicines Scheme that makes the UK an attractive option as an early launch country
The health system valuing innovation, and a culture of research that is firmly embedded in the NHS, with recruitment comparable to our international competitors
Recognition that real world data studies are useful to all stakeholders in determining the value of innovative medicines
Development of new models of industry-academic partnership in early stage drug development such as the NIHR Translational Research Partnerships
Commenting, Stephen Whitehead, Chief Executive of the ABPI, said:
“The UK has historically been a pioneer in translating scientific research in to innovative new medicines which transform people’s lives. In the last decade clinical research conducted here has fallen significantly, but we are now starting to see the benefit of the many changes put in place over the last few years. Our challenge is to ensure we maintain this momentum and continue to create a world class environment for life sciences research. This will only be possible by working in partnership with all healthcare stakeholders in the R&D ecosystem and embedding a culture in the NHS which supports medical research. If we can do this, I am confident we will make real progress supported by our world class scientists, a strong regulatory framework and the unique research capability we have with the NHS.
"We also need to recognise, there is a direct link between uptake and access to innovative medicines in the UK and to industrial investment in research and development. If global pharmaceutical companies cannot compare the effectiveness of their new medicine against the best product on the market because it is not available in the UK, they will simply move these studies to other countries.”
Steve Bates, BIA Chief Executive Officer, said;
"World class science is the bedrock of UK biotech and pharmaceutical research and development. The government's recent investments in projects such as the Cell Therapy Catapult and through funding the Biomedical Catalyst are helping innovative companies develop the therapies of the future. These initiatives combined with the UK's competitive R+D tax credits system and a robust and welcoming patent environment provide a positive environment for emerging life science companies in the UK. Additionally, they are key to leveraging in more private investment from across the globe. However, more needs to be done to enable companies to grow in the UK. That why the BIA is calling for the introduction of a funded and workable Early Access Scheme and the introduction of Citizens' Innovation Funds to unlock the patriotic potential of the British public to invest in the companies that will provide growth, jobs and the therapies of the future."
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Notes to Editors
About the ABPI
The ABPI represents innovative research-based biopharmaceutical companies, large, medium and small, leading an exciting new era of biosciences in the UK.
Our industry, a major contributor to the economy of the UK, brings life-saving and life-enhancing medicines to patients. Our members supply 90 per cent of all medicines used by the NHS, and are researching and developing over two-thirds of the current medicines pipeline, ensuring that the UK remains at the forefront of helping patients prevent and overcome diseases.
The ABPI is recognised by government as the industry body negotiating on behalf of the branded pharmaceutical industry, for statutory consultation requirements including the pricing scheme for medicines in the UK.
BioIndustry Association. Founded over 20 years ago at the infancy of biotechnology, the BioIndustry Association (BIA) is the trade association for innovative enterprises involved in UK bioscience. Members include emerging and more established bioscience companies; pharmaceutical companies; academic, research and philanthropic organisations; and service providers to the bioscience sector. The BIA represents the interests of its members to a broad section of stakeholders, from government and regulators to patient groups and the media. Our goal is to secure the UK's position as a global hub and as the best location for innovative research and commercialisation, enabling our world-leading research base to deliver healthcare solutions that can truly make a difference to people's lives. For further information, please go to www.bioindustry.org
The NIHR Office for Clinical Research Infrastructure (NOCRI) has been established to support and ensure coordinated working of the broad range of clinical research infrastructure funded by the NIHR.
NOCRI provides a national point of contact for those wishing to work with NIHR infrastructure and works closely with the life sciences industry and medical research charities to help them navigate the clinical research environment. This includes finding the research expertise and support to meet their research needs and helping to establish collaborative research partnerships where required. www.nihr.ac.uk/nocri