September 1, 2017

Industry responds to life sciences industrial strategy

Oxford genetics

The life sciences sector is very important for the UK economy generating £64 billion per year and employing 235,000 people across the United Kingdom.

What does the report recommend?

In the report, Sir John Bell’s recommendations include:

  1. more funding of basic science
  2. new incentives for manufacturing
  3. increased cooperation between drugmakers and the National Health Service (NHS).

In addition, Sir John Bell also suggests the creation of a Health Advanced Research Program to support projects in certain cutting-edge technologies, such as artificial intelligence in healthcare and the understanding of the biology of ageing.

How has industry reacted?

The industry welcomed the suggestions. For example GlaxoSmithKline, the largest life sciences company in Britain, said a stronger and deeper level of collaboration between industry, the Government, the NHS and academia would make Britain a more attractive place for drugmakers. AstraZeneca Chief Executive Pascal Soriot said that Sir John Bell’s strategy should “provide a more predictable environment for future investment decisions and ensure the UK remains open for innovation as it prepares to exit the EU.”

The Association of British Pharmaceutical Industries (ABPI), which has lobbied for "continuity" in any Brexit deal, also welcomed the Government investment in life sciences.

Mike Thompson, chief executive of the ABPI, said: "We look forward to working with the Government and other partners to implement these recommendations - including through a sector deal with the bio-pharmaceutical industry and a voluntary agreement on UK medicines policy between industry and the Department of Health."

At Royds Withy King, we welcome the recommendations and are ready to support businesses in the sector. We have a dedicated Life Sciences team who act for businesses in areas such as regulatory advice, commercial exploitation of intellectual property rights and investment, and we are proud to support sector initiatives such as the launch of the Bessemer Society and events at Harwell Campus.

Recommendations to boost R&D, manufacturing and skills and increased collaboration between key players in the life sciences sector can only be a good thing.

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