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UK BioIndustry Association Looks to Switzerland for Post-Brexit Options


March 28, 2017

The UK BioIndustry Association (BIA) is leading a UK delegation from the biotech sector on a discovery trip to see how Switzerland works with Europe but outside of the European Union, to forge new relationships and explore potential opportunities.              BIA has already forged new links with Canada and is keen to build further bilateral relationships that will help to strengthen the sector during negotiations with the EU and for when Brexit happens.   Alongside BIA member companies, the delegation will include representatives from the UK Office for Life Sciences and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).            Switzerland has a very different political system to the UK with a lot of decentralized power across the 26 cantons, which have some autonomy over issues that have an impact on the industry such as regulation and taxes. Learning about such a different way of operating will offer potential lessons that the UK could explore in the future.           BIA CEO, Steve Bates, said: “At this time of Brexit, it’s important that the UK takes a positive outlook towards the future of the sector in the UK and how we will continue to work with Europe. Exploring the sector in Switzerland will help the UK to learn lessons that could help support the negotiations process over the next two years.”         The delegation will cover off some key issues that are relevant to the sector. They will look at the range of tax incentives there are to encourage growth and build an understanding of how important the low tax environment has been for biotech investment in Switzerland. They will also visit the tech transfer office at ETH University where they will learn different perspectives on how the support for commercialisation of research from representatives of Swiss academia and industry.                 Representatives for the UK will meet a cross section of Swiss companies from SME’s such as Zurich based NeurImmune, to larger organizations Biogen, Shire, and Novartis.