A Win for Science Investment in Britain

As Britain prepares to leave the European Union, several major drug companies have committed to investing in the country’s life sciences sector. The U.K. government backed a report designed to boost public-private collaboration, paving the way for the Life Sciences Sector Deal. As part of the deal, GlaxoSmithKline will invest £40 million ($54 million) of new money in genomic research, including a plan to sequence DNA from all 500,000 volunteer participants enrolled in UK Biobank. The U.K. government also will increase investment in research and development to 2.4 percent of the country’s gross domestic product by 2027, and 3 percent over the long term.

Merck also announced plans to expand U.K. research operations under the deal. Other investment by pharma companies include plans by Johnson & Johnson and the Medicines Co. to work on new clinical trials and genetic research by AstraZeneca.

The investments are welcome news to the country, which has struggled to win over large sections of industries as Brexit gets underway. The highly regulated life sciences sector still faces potential obstacles unless Britain and the European Union manage to align regulatory regimes for medicines.

Source: Reuters, December 5, 2017.