UK Biopharma Bosses Warn Against Brexit

February 25, 2016

February 25, 2016.

More than 50 UK biopharma leaders have put their names to an open letter warning against the consequences for the industry of Britain leaving the EU, the much-discussed “Brexit”.   The letter, published in yesterday’s Financial Times, asserts that “[c]ontinued engagement with and reform of a more competitive EU offers the UK the opportunity to build on previous success”. Among the advantages of the UK’s membership of the EU to the life sciences sector, the letter goes on, are the various EU finding initiatives such as the Horizon 2020, the EU's biggest ever research and innovation program, which is making available nearly €80 billion (US$88 billion) of funding over seven years (2014 to 2020).   Among the letter’s signees are Steve Bates, CEO of the UK’s BioIndustry Association; AstraZeneca UK CEO Pascal Soriot; Dr Patrick Vallance, President, Pharmaceuticals R&D, GSK; Lin Bateson, Director, Biopartner UK; and Tarja Stenvall, General Manager, Sanofi UK.   Leaving the EU would not only “leave a significant research funding gap”, the letter explains, but also “affect regulatory frameworks, the leadership role of the UK’s Medicines Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in the EU, access to finance and capital, our intellectual property and patents ecosystem, and most importantly patient access to medicines”. In addition, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) "would have to leave London because EU institutions’ agencies cannot be located outside the Union’s borders”.