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Drug discovery and development

UK’s drug discovery potential at risk, warns industry body

Drug manufacturers in the UK are increasingly working in partnership to develop new medicines as companies move away from the traditional model of in-house research and development, according to a report commissioned by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), the membership organisation for UK drug manufacturers.

The report, ‘The changing UK drug discovery landscape’, published on 17 October 2016, says that 60% of large biopharmaceutial companies have increased their investment in outsourcing and collaborative working with other companies across the sector over the past decade.

This shift — which includes working with academia, medical research charities and bio-tech companies — is reaping significant results, the report says, pointing out that collaboration is behind some recent ground-breaking new drugs, including immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer and others for Alzheimer’s disease.

But the report does warn that the UK’s drug discovery potential is at risk from competition overseas, where more money is being spent on research and development.

“More organisations overall, particularly large firms, reported a greater increase in their global discovery investment than that in the UK,” the report says. ”This could suggest that whilst areas of the landscape may be thriving, overall the UK may be proportionally losing out globally. Thus the UK needs to consider how it can best maintain its position as a central player in a dynamic global discovery landscape.”

The report’s findings were based on the results of a survey of 70 organisations as well as interviews with senior drug discovery experts.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2016.20201850

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