Commenting on the Fresh Start report on the E.U. impact on the U.K. life science sector, Steve Bates, CEO of the BioIndustry Association (BIA), a trade association for innovative enterprises involved in U.K. bioscience, said, “This well researched report by George Freeman is right to point out that the E.U. is seen as an enlightened and progressive region for investing in biomedical research and that E.U. membership gives U.K.-based life science companies access to the single market and a uniform regulatory system for the development and approval of therapies.
“Indeed, this U.K. government has shown leadership and influence on the recent important issues, like the negotiation for the draft E.U. Clinical Trials Regulation and ensuring the Unitary Patent Court for Life Sciences is housed in London,” said Bates.
“The report is right to identify that through its presence in the E.U. institutions, the U.K. is able to exert some influence over both E.U. and global rules, although it has not always done so successfully,” he said. “We support the report’s call for more effective influence from the U.K. within the E.U. to shape the E.U.’s response to new technologies.”
“The U.K. life science ecosystem needs effective advocacy in Europe to counter the anti-biotechnology interests and protectionist attitudes found in parts of the E.U., especially if we are to develop world-class businesses of the future in areas like cell therapies,” said Bates. “This is only possible from within the E.U.”
“However, the U.K. government need not look to Brussels to boost the life science sector in the U.K.,” he concluded. “It could help life sciences companies in the U.K. by introducing a fully-funded early access to medicines scheme (which is within national competence). This policy was included in its own Strategy for U.K. Life Science two years ago and which has been developed and recommended by the MHRA’s Expert Group on Innovation in the Regulation of Healthcare.”