The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) has today given evidence to the House of Lords’ Science and Technology Committee inquiry into the future of Innovate UK. This follows the imminent introduction of the Higher Education and Research Bill, and the publication of the ‘Success as a Knowledge Economy’ White Paper that included proposals to establish a new body, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).
06 Jun 2016 Posted in By Dr Virginia Acha
Appearing before the Committee, Dr Virginia Acha, ABPI's Executive Director – Research, Medical & Innovation, credited the "crucial role" that Innovate UK already played in the UK life sciences industry, and also welcomed the formation of UKRI as "an important step forward in promoting interdisciplinary research."
Dr Acha stressed that in light of proposals to ingrate Innovate UK into UKRI, "the independence of Innovate UK must be retained" under the new body. She also asserted that significant effort must be made to ensure that current funding arrangements continue uninterrupted, in order to "overcome the huge challenge of translating research into innovative medicines."
Speaking after the evidence session Dr Acha added:
"An effective relationship between businesses of all sizes and the research community is fundamental in accelerating the development and availability of life-saving new medicines.
The function of Innovate UK – to fund the growth of small and medium businesses often at the forefront of much-need innovation – is unique and should not be lost. Whether it's plugging the gap in early stage R&D funding or supporting the recruitment and retention of staff, our SME sector will prosper the most through a dedicated strategy and a ring-fenced budget.
From delivering revolutions in cell and gene therapies to advances in precision medicines, Innovate UK funded-businesses already work alongside large established pharmaceutical companies to ensure the UK is recognised as an attractive, thriving and innovation-rich environment in life sciences. Destabilising a globally recognised research and innovation ecosystem should not be an option."
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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. We represent companies supplying around 90 per cent of all medicines used by the NHS, and are researching and developing the majority 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.