The general consensus about the U.K.'s place in the biotech world can be summed up in a few words: Great science, world-class academic centers and way too little cash to finance promising new companies. But London Mayor Boris Johnson has come up with a radical idea to fix the funding gap virtually overnight, suggesting that the country leverage its place as a leading global financial center to create a $15.7 billion (£10 billion) megafund that could finance a fast biotech revolution.
The United Kingdom's botched and aborted attempt to share certain patient healthcare data with drug developers and other groups has triggered another controversy. Officials responsible for sharing the data have admitted they are unable to handle the 700,000 requests by patients to opt out of the program.
Boston-based PureTech, an investment group which is better known for its high-profile board than its portfolio of upstart life sciences companies, has landed in the U.K. with a plan to raise $160 million on the London stock market.
The United Kingdom is to change the laws governing startup investment vehicles known as Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs) but has opted against some of the dramatic alterations previously mooted. VCTs will still face new restrictions on the companies to which they can provide private equity cash, though.
The 100,000 Genomes Project is up and running in the United Kingdom. And with the population-scale sequencing drive having already made breakthroughs in identifying rare diseases, Genomics England has handed out $12 million to bolster its data analysis capabilities.
The United Kingdom government has established the scope of the hotly anticipated review into the development and reimbursement of drugs. And the independent panel is being tasked with looking beyond the U.K.'s borders for inspiration, with an analysis of what can be learnt from the U.S. FDA's "breakthrough" designation on its to-do list.
The U.K. is moving forward with a £55 million ($85 million) cell-manufacturing facility it is supporting in an effort to boost biotech capabilities in the country. It comes at a crucial juncture for the country, which has seen its drug manufacturing shrink to the point that it now imports more pharma products than it exports.
The United Kingdom government has made the life science industry a focal point of its turnaround strategy, but data that have dripped out over the past few months show companies are spending less and less on developing and manufacturing drugs in the state.
Few could fault the United Kingdom for aiming too low. Having seen its CNS R&D chops whittled away by Big Pharma cuts, the U.K. government has decided the best way out of the mire is to take aim at one of the trickiest fields of all with a multimillion-pound dementia R&D investment fund.
Pakistan's minister in charge of drug pricing confirmed at a news conference a new policy would reduce the costs of some drugs by as much as 30%, but said no changes would become effective before June 30, 2016.