The Dramatic Difference In Life Science Marketing In The US
Date Posted: Thursday November 23, 2023
In the United Kingdom, marketing life science products and services is a process that requires a tailored, rigorous approach focused on presenting the facts about a new medication or technology to commissioning bodies, health authorities and some private practices.
It is an involved process for all medicines, whether they are provided via prescription or whether they are sold directly to customers via retail or over the counter at pharmacies.
These rules involve multiple authorities and are complex, with the intention of ensuring that the patients at the end of the process are as informed as possible as to how a medical product works and what it is evidentially proven to be capable of treating.
Whilst some over-the-counter medications are marketed directly to consumers, prescription medications are not. However, across the Atlantic Ocean, the rules, and thus the marketing world that has evolved from them, are exceptionally different.
The United States are, along with New Zealand, one of only two countries in the world that allow prescription medication to be marketed directly to consumers and has been since the beginning of the pharmaceutical industry as we know it.
However, outside of the somewhat notable exception of Boots’ ibuprofen product Rufen, then a prescription medication, no pharmaceutical company wanted to test the rules on advertising directly to patients.
However, in 1997, thanks to a clarification of the rules by the US Food and Drug Administration, the rules for direct-to-customer advertising (DTCA) allowed for adverts that disclosed the major risks of a medication as well as recommendations to consult one’s doctor.
The results have been somewhat mixed and controversial, and it is telling that in the nearly three decades since the landmark FDA clarification and an entire marketing industry forming, no other countries have joined the USA and New Zealand in allowing prescription medication to be marketed to consumers.
Life Science Research & Development Hub Gets Green Light
Date Posted: Tuesday November 14, 2023
Planning permission has been granted for a new life sciences research and development hub in Cambridgeshire.
Life science marketers may soon be helping to sell products developed by Alchemy, a facility being established by Gen Two, a London-based real estate and investment firm.
Plans to develop the 125,000 sq ft facility at Fowlmere were granted unanimously by planners at South Cambridgeshire Council, the Cambridge Independent reports.
The application included the demolition of existing buildings as well as the construction of new ones, and now the application has passed, Gen Two hopes to commence building work early in 2024 and have the facility up and running in 2025, with eight laboratory suites on site ranging from 10,000 sq ft to 20,000 sq ft.
Co-founder of Gen Two Ariel Levy said: “In the Cambridge life sciences ecosystem there is unquestionably a need for additional fit-for-purpose and adaptable R&D scale-up space, which we are proud to have secured planning consent for.”
His colleague Adrain Sterling outlined the vision for the firm in the sector, stating: “We’ve spent the past few years assembling an experienced team of experts with a vision to build an institutional grade portfolio of life sciences real estate assets in Cambridge, Oxford and Leeds.”
The location of these facilities in key parts of the UK where the life sciences are so prominent means it can be reasonably assumed the new labs will be in use very quickly once they become available.
While the UK is striving to be a superpower in life sciences, it is doing so in a fast-growing global market.
In one of the latest pieces of research on the market, Future Market Insights has projected that the life sciences and medical instruments market is set for compound annual growth of 5.3 per cent over the full period from 2022 to 2032, highlighting how much potential there is for researchers at Fowlmere and elsewhere to tap into.
Life Science Leaders Condemn Change To Statutory Scheme
Date Posted: Tuesday October 24, 2023
Leaders in the British life science industry have come together to condemn plans to change the Statutory Scheme for branded medicines.
The government intends to alter branded pricing by having different levies depending on how old the product is.
Currently, medicine manufacturers give the government a proportion of the sales to the NHS.
However, the Department of Health and Social Care could introduce a lifecycle adjustment (LCA) scheme for older medicines, which means manufacturers would have to pay a higher payment if the market has little competition, and a lower percentage if it is more competitive.
The idea behind this is the payment from new products could be lowered if more money was generated by the older medicines, which the government believes would encourage innovation and competition in the industry.
According to pharmaceutical leaders, however, this could result in reducing patient access to medicines, undermining investment in UK life sciences, and harming clinical research.
Chief executive of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) Richard Torbett noted that businesses crave consistency.
However, the “unpredictable capped pricing schemes have done the opposite, running hard against the government’s ambition to make the UK a global life science leader and a key driver of UK economic growth”.
General manager of Astellas Pharma Ltd Jackie Williams added that the new system would have “a negative impact on new product launches”. Therefore, it would hinder the future of the life science industry in the UK.
It would also mean British patients would not be able to benefit from innovation in the industry and new, potentially life-saving, medicines and treatments.
GDPR Compliance: Best Practices For Telephone Marketing
Date Posted: Tuesday October 10, 2023
In today’s digital age, data privacy is a paramount concern, with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) playing a pivotal role. For businesses involved in telephone marketing, compliance is both a legal necessity and an opportunity to build trust.
Obtaining explicit consent from individuals before using their personal data is a cornerstone of GDPR compliance. Here, we’ll delve into best practices for consent management in telephone marketing, underlining the significance of each approach.
Craft Comprehensive Privacy Policies And Terms
Ensure that your privacy policies and terms of service are clear and align with GDPR requirements. These documents should effectively articulate your data practices and your approach to handling consent.
Consider A Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA)
Think about conducting a DPIA to assess the impact of your telephone marketing activities on individual privacy. This proactive step aids in identifying and mitigating potential risks in a GDPR compliant manner.
Implement Opt-In Mechanisms
Employ effective opt-in mechanisms that necessitate individuals to take affirmative actions to provide consent. This could involve checkboxes on your website, verbal confirmation during phone calls or other clear and unmistakable means.
Regular Consent Renewal
Frequently request individuals to renew their consent. This ensures that your marketing list remains current and that you engage only with individuals genuinely interested in your communications.
Prioritise Informed Consent
Before collecting personal data for telephone marketing, it’s imperative to ensure that individuals have a complete understanding of the consent they are providing. Transparency is paramount; therefore, articulate precisely how their data will be utilised, the types of marketing communications they can expect and the frequency of contact.
In summary, GDPR compliance in telephone marketing extends beyond legal obligations; it is a testament to respect for individual privacy and a foundation for trust building. By adhering to these consent management best practices, your telephone marketing campaigns can be legally sound, customer centric and conducive to forging positive relationships.
Data Protection Practices To Ensure Effective Telemarketing
Date Posted: Monday September 18, 2023
In today’s rapidly evolving landscape of lab instruments and telemarketing, data protection has emerged as a paramount concern. With the advent of regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), lab equipment suppliers must prioritise the safeguarding of customer data.
Understand and Adhere to Applicable Regulations
The foundation of data protection in lab equipment telemarketing lies in a comprehensive understanding of relevant regulations. GDPR, for instance, mandates stringent rules for the collection, processing and storage of personal data. Lab equipment suppliers must ensure their telemarketing practices are in strict compliance with these regulations.
Educate Your Team
Data protection is a shared responsibility. Equip your telemarketing team with the knowledge and training necessary to handle customer data with care. Ensure they are aware of the regulations and best practices to follow during customer interactions.
Obtain Explicit Consent
Before embarking on telemarketing campaigns, secure explicit consent from individuals to collect and use their personal data for marketing purposes. Make sure your customers are fully aware of how their data will be used and for what purposes.
Alongside this, make sure to implement secure data handling procedures and establish robust methods for the secure handling of customer data. This includes encrypting data during transmission, restricting access to authorised personnel only and maintaining secure storage systems.
Regularly Update and Cleanse Your Data
Maintain accurate and up to date customer data to minimise the risk of using outdated or incorrect information. Periodically cleanse your database to remove redundant or irrelevant data, ensuring you are working with the most current information.
Provide Opt-Out Mechanisms
Respect customer preferences by offering easy to use opt–out mechanisms. Customers should have the option to unsubscribe from telemarketing communications at any time.
Data Breach Response Plan
Prepare a robust data breach response plan in case of unexpected security incidents. This should include procedures for notifying affected individuals and relevant authorities, as required by law.
Build trust with your customers by being transparent about your data protection practices. Clearly communicate your privacy policies and provide easy access to relevant information.
Data protection is non-negotiable in telemarketing and by implementing these data protection practices, lab equipment suppliers can not only ensure compliance with regulations like GDPR but also build trust with their customers. This commitment to data protection will not only protect your business but also contribute to the integrity and reputation.
Life Science Boost For UK As GSK Opens New Factory
Date Posted: Tuesday September 12, 2023
The UK life sciences sector has faced a significant challenge in recent years. Many have claimed Britain would become a relative backwater in scientific research after Brexit, while tax issues have been another concern when it has come to securing new investment.
However, such considerations have not prevented GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) from announcing it will be building a new drugs factory in the UK. The plant will be based at Ware in Hertfordshire, expanding an existing site where the firm already employs more than 1,300 people.
As Proactive Investors noted, this move is in contrast with AstraZeneca, which decided earlier this year to locate a major new factory in Ireland, citing the “very unattractive” business taxation situation in the UK for its decision. This includes a surcharge for drug firms if the NHS bill rises significantly, which it has as a result of Covid.
That has led to GSK also expressing concerns, with chief executive Emma Walmsley stating that this arrangement needs to be changed when it is re-negotiated in 2024.
Nonetheless, the commitment by GSK to its new plant is good news for the UK sector, from research and manufacturing jobs to life science sales.
The development was welcomed by science minister Simon Freeman, who said: “Investments from the private sector leaders like GSK are a critical part of the deep, long-term partnership between government, industry, investors and the NHS, underpinning the success of UK life sciences.”
Getting more life science investment into the UK despite apparent advantages enjoyed by other countries is an ongoing effort for ministers, but one area where a big effort has been made is Northern Ireland.
This month’s Northern Ireland Investment Summit in Belfast sought to attract investors in many sectors, including life sciences, taking advantage of the fact that the post-Brexit arrangements now in place mean Northern Ireland has access to both the UK market and the EU single market.
New COPD Testing Device Set For Oxford Community Trial
Date Posted: Thursday August 31, 2023
Most scientific instruments designed to carry out medical testing are located in hospitals, clinics or laboratories, but one innovation is set to be tested in the community in Oxford.
The N-Tidal device, designed and created by Cambridge-based tech firm TidalSense, is designed to make rapid diagnoses of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In a partnership with Oxford University and the Healthier Oxford City Network, it will be used in tests on 600 patients to test for COPD, the BBC reports.
Using AI technology and relying on just one breath from a patient, it is expected to be able to make an assessment with a 91 per cent accuracy rate, giving medical practitioners a reliable means of establishing who needs treatment for the condition.
CEO of TidalSense Dr Ameera Patel told the broadcaster they “desperately need to arm primary care doctors with accurate, easy-to-perform tests that enable the early and accurate diagnosis of patients, at the point at which they present with symptoms”.
This device has the “the potential to transform” the diagnosis and treatment of the condition, according to Oxford GP and lecturer at the university Dr Helen Ashdown.
At present, testing involves the much more laborious spirometry test, which can take up to an hour to provide the result, a gruelling process for any patient who is short of breath. In addition, such tests have to be carried out at clinics or hospital settings, whereas the small, mobile N-Tidal device can be used in a GP practice or even on a home visit.
In addition to COPD, spirometry tests are commonly used to test for other respiratory conditions such as asthma, cystic fibrosis, or pulmonary fibrosis.
Around 1.2 million people in Britain have COPD and respiratory diseases are the third leading cause of death in England, which means any device that can make diagnosis easier will be particularly valuable.
Life Science Companies Want More Digital-Savvy Employees
Date Posted: Saturday August 26, 2023
Britain could face a slowdown in life science development, as there is a shortage of employees who are tech-savvy and have the appropriate digital skills.
As well as impacting research and development (R&D), this could also have an effect on life science marketing, as candidates are not able to get to grips with the latest digital promotional strategies.
According to the June 2023 Public First report, which was commissioned by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), having digital and data skills was one of the most important priorities for companies in the sector.
Comments from Martin Anderson, founding director of Carrot Recruitment, compound these findings.
He told Pharmaceutical Technology that companies are increasingly hoping to fill healthcare and medical communications roles with those who have relevant digital skills.
“Instead of outsourcing digital roles, like UX designers and web designers, they’re doing it in-house,” Mr Anderson remarked.
Additionally, there is growing demand for those experienced in artificial intelligence (AI) in the life science sector.
GlobalData, which is the parent company of Pharmaceutical Technology, revealed there was a 407 per cent increase in pharmaceutical generative AI postings between April and July 2023, demonstrating the speed at which this area is growing in the industry.
However, candidates are likely to be lacking in the appropriate skills, as there was a drop in the number of graduates being recruited or trained during the pandemic.
The economic crisis has also created a “lacuna in terms of the mid-level skillset”, as the sector has not been able to advance digital training among employees.
The UK might also be falling behind in terms of R&D, thanks to a delay in joining the Horizon Europe programme, which sees the continent’s top research institutes working together, due to Brexit.
Research Centre Aims To Nip Next Pandemic In The Bud
Date Posted: Monday August 7, 2023
Porton Down in Wiltshire has had a long history as a top government research centre, often carrying out secret research into chemical and biological weapons as a means of helping defend the UK population against their potential use.
However, the role has expanded into wider research into all sorts of pathogens, including potential and actual pandemic-causing diseases. Now, the site has become the host of the new Vaccine Development and Evaluation Centre, which aims to build on the role its scientists played during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The plan is not just about trying to develop variant-tackling Covid-19 vaccines, but to be able to develop new vaccines for a pandemic even before it has begun, such as a potential spill-over event from the H5N1 bird flu that has been ravaging avian populations across the globe.
It is also concerned with a possible ‘disease X’ – a pathogen that emerges suddenly in the way Covid did, and disease-resistant superbugs.
Commenting that Covid was “not a one-off,” UK Health Security Agency chief executive Dame Jenny Harries said: “We say it [Covid] was the biggest public health incident for a century, but I don’t think any of us think it’ll be a century before the next.”
The lab instruments used at Porton Down are hardly likely only to be in use there. Many other laboratories across the UK and beyond will be involved in similar research, sharing data and collaborating on projects. Finding ways to react very quickly to an emerging threat could be crucial in stopping a repeat of the widespread death and disruption of 2020-21.
Historians generally regard the last major global pandemic before Covid to be the 1918-19 influenza outbreak, originally known, inaccurately, as the Spanish Flu, due to the fact the country was not at war and reported cases more freely than other badly-affected nations.
Marketing Lessons Learned From The Most Off-Putting Product
Date Posted: Tuesday July 25, 2023
First impressions are important in nearly every field of existence. A first impression is what will get a startup off the ground, forge a strong relationship or help assure a patient that they are in safe hands.
In life science marketing, first impressions are even more important, as people will not take a chance on products that could affect their health if they are not convinced quickly that it is safe and effective.
One of the greatest examples of a product getting this first impression so badly wrong is Rejuvenique, an electric facial mask that initially debuted in 1999 with claims that it could use electrodes to stimulate the face, tone it and reduce wrinkles.
These claims are exceptionally dubious in the first place since the product never received safety approval, but most people simply could not get past the utterly frightening appearance of the product itself, which was shaped like an exceptionally blank, disconcerting mask with electrodes on the inner side.
This did not create the impression of a relaxing, comfortable lifestyle product and instead resembled a mask from a work of horror fiction. Even celebrity endorser Linda Evans describes the mask as reminiscent of the mask worn by Erik, the Phantom of the Opera.
At this point, few were willing to invest in the product, and those that did found that the mask was heavy, uncomfortable, and painful to use, with few users reporting much impact on the skin.
Whilst electrical stimulation has been used by therapists in the past to treat conditions such as facial palsy, it is typically seen as ineffective compared to other treatment options even when used by professionals in clinics.
It did not sell particularly well and whilst it does have a degree of infamy, this is the result of the off-putting initial appearance of the product and the poor way it was marketed rather than any stated or actual claims.
Life Sciences Firm Planning A Leathery Revolution
Date Posted: Tuesday July 18, 2023
A life sciences firm based in the north east of England is planning a revolution in the food and fashion sectors, which it hopes to achieve via the pharmaceutical industry.
3D Bio-Tissues, which is based in Newcastle, has already caused a stir with its patented supplement CityMix, from which it has proved possible to grow a steak in a lab without using animal serum.
Now, Business Live reports, the firm is planning to use the same process to grow leather artificially and is targeting bio-pharma companies in its endeavours. It wants to partner with enterprises working in areas such as gene therapy, stem cells and regenerative therapy.
This plan was announced in a statement to the Stock Exchange by parent group BSF Enterprise plc. It revealed partnerships have already been agreed with Benzol to distribute City-Mix in Germany, plus an unnamed Fortune 500 company with which “3DBT has also engaged directly” and is “one of the leading global suppliers to pharmaceutical companies”.
It added that “one of the world’s leading stem cell companies” is also considering using City-Mix.
Should the partnerships be successful, there may be widespread demand for the products, as this could have a major impact on the world of fashion, footwear and sport. It may, for example, make it possible for vegetarians and vegans to enjoy playing cricket with a ball made from synthetic leather.
The array of potential partnerships shows just how much potential new life sciences innovations have to change markets and open up new avenues of opportunity, provided the life science marketing supporting them is effective enough.
Work to create meat in a lab has been an idea many have pursued as a means of preventing the slaughter of animals for meat without everyone having to go vegetarian.
The world’s first lab-grown burger was developed at Maastricht University in the Netherlands ten years ago, with the product being cooked and presented at a news conference in London and tasted by various food researchers and critics.
Animal rights campaign group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals endorsed the development as a means of ending the farming of animals for meat.
A Brand Name Bankrupted A Health Food Company
Date Posted: Monday July 10, 2023
In the world of life science marketing, where the perception of health is key to so many successful campaigns, it is important to not only develop products with strong health-focused brand identities but also to be willing to be flexible to changes in the market and the world at large.
One of the most infamous cases of a company that managed to collapse as a result of being inflexible was Jeffrey Martin Incorporated, which had in 1981 bought a popular brand of appetite-suppressing sweets intended to be used as a way to help people with diets.
Initially launched in 1937 according to a trademark application by The Carlay Company, the sweet was popular in no small part due to the endorsements obtained by Irving Crull, president of Dow Chemical who had bought Campana Corporation who had bought The Carlay Company.
Mr Crull knew Bob and Dolores Hope, as well as acting power couple Tyrone Power and Linda Christian, and together they managed to spread what had become known as a Reducing Plan that helped people to lose weight.
By the time Jeffrey Martin Inc. had bought the rights, it was thought that the sweets could become more popular, but there were two problems.
The purchase went through in 1981 and the product was known as Ayds Reducing Plan Candy.
By 1981, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus and its associated Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) had been recognised by the United States Centre for Disease Control.
The disease, which was believed to be incurable and untreatable and often cause significant weight loss due to the wasting effects of AIDS’ advanced stages, immediately drew comparisons to the weight-loss sweet of the same name.
Initially, the company was flippant, claiming that sales had increased and that the sweet had existed for nearly half a century so the disease should change its name.
This attitude backfired immeasurably. Sales halved as the association with one of the most devastating pandemics in history hurt sales, and Ayds was sold to the DEP Corporation, which briefly changed its name to DietAyds before cutting its losses.
The Failed Life Science Innovation That Birthed An Opera
Date Posted: Monday June 26, 2023
Given the fast-paced world of medical innovation, it can take a lot for a drug or device to get noticed and that can lead to wildly different outcomes for potentially life-altering technology.
Some innovations, with the help of life science marketing and extensive research, can change the world as we know it, whilst many others end up as scientific dead-ends that languish in obscurity until the concept is rediscovered once the technology has caught up to the concept.
In some cases, however, an idea can prove to be so baffling that some refuse to believe it was ever invented, and others write entire operas about how it was devised.
Such is the story of the Blonsky Device, a concept for a machine that would help assist with births via the use of high-speed centrifugal forces.
The idea, in theory, was that the mother in labour would be strapped to a circular table that would be rotated extremely quickly, theoretically making giving birth quicker and easier by creating enough force to assist the mother, although it is unclear exactly how it would have worked in practice.
George And Charlotte Blonsky, the childless married couple who invented the machine in 1965, loved children and wanted to help women who could not give birth normally but did not necessarily want a caesarean section.
During a visit to a zoo in the Bronx, they were told by a zookeeper that elephants spin around before they give birth, sparking their idea to use spinning forces to help mothers.
The problem was that the zookeeper was wrong, and whilst the surprisingly elaborate Gigeresque sketches of the machine emphasised the safety of the mother and child, complete with a tiny net to catch the child being born, there is no proof that it would have worked.
The expensive, terrifying-looking machine was never made, but the invention would receive an Ig Nobel prize in 1999 and be the subject of an opera, The Blonsky Device, in 2013.
Govt Invests £650m To Improve The UK Life Science Sector
Date Posted: Wednesday June 21, 2023
The government wants to support developments in the life science sector by providing a £650 million package for the industry.
Chancellor of the exchequer Jeremy Hunt recently revealed the Life Sci For Growth package, which it hopes will improve commercial clinical trials, bring medicines to patients more quickly, speed up manufacturing, improve skills and boost infrastructure.
Mr Hunt said: “These are businesses that are growing our economy while having much wider benefits for our health – and this multi-million pound investment will help them go even further.”
Up to £121 million will be put towards commercial clinical trials, and £48 million will be invested in scientific innovation to prepare for potential future health emergencies.
As much as £250 million will encourage pension schemes to invest in life science companies and £154 million will be used to increase the UK’s biological data bank, which will help with scientific discoveries.
The government also intends to bring the NHS, charities, academic professionals, industry experts and local communities together, so they can share best practice.
Plans to make more lab space available and improve rail connections between Oxford and Cambridge are also in the pipeline.
This announcement comes after Mr Hunt spoke at the Treasury Connect conference at Scale Space, regarding digital technology, green industries, life sciences, advanced manufacturing and creative sectors.
He mentioned the “tremendous strength” of the UK’s life science industry, which has helped make it the largest in Europe.
To help maintain this position, investment also needs to be ploughed into material science marketing to ensure the new developments are adequately promoted.
How Has Life Sciences Research Developed Over Time?
Date Posted: Thursday June 15, 2023
Life sciences help us to learn more about a wide range of different topics from biotechnology to the development of new pharmaceuticals and drugs, as well as giving us insights into the inner workings of the human body such as genetics.
It is a fascinating industry that helps us to understand much more about the way the world works and how the world around us grows and changes as us humans do and there have been many advancements over history which have had a huge impact on scientific research.
Many life science breakthroughs have drastically changed the way we view the world and how it works, such as the discovery of vaccinations, research into how genetics work as well as understanding viruses and disease and how they spread.
Without these advancements, humanity would likely have suffered at the hands of disease and nature itself. Being able to grasp and understand these topics has given us the tools to advance our healthcare and provide much needed support and treatment for many people.
In more recent years, the invention of sophisticated and advanced technology has revolutionised the life sciences industry and has allowed a deeper insight than ever before into the inner workings of the world and into the human body.
We are not able to collect and monitor data in real time, create programmes which test and develop new theories and examine new research. There have even been AI advancements which have revolutionised the way we produce and trial new medications and drugs.
Due to all this new technology, research into life sciences is now advancing at a much faster rate and will likely continue to do so for many years to come. So much has already been discovered and achieved that it is exciting to think of what more will come.
In need of life science marketing? Get in touch with Voicentric today.
The Importance Of Effective Marketing In The Life Sciences Industry
Date Posted: Tuesday May 30, 2023
The life sciences industry is a fast paced and innovative industry which deals with everything from medicine to technological advancements.
There is so much completion that effective marketing is essential in ensuring your products or discoveries are chosen over other competitors.
Effective life science marketing is essential to help companies work through the constant barrage of new information and discoveries.
Working in such a busy industry means that there is constant competition and in order to be heard over the noise, effective and innovative marketing is necessary to ensure your company stands out amongst the crowd.
By using compelling and targeted marketing strategies, you are able to better sell your products and ideas and gain more interest amongst the sea of others in such an overcrowded marketplace.
This also helps you to build a more well-known and reputable brand. By having consistently great marketing strategies, you will be recognised and build a good reputation within the industry.
This can help to ensure that you are always noticed and taken into consideration, instead of being overlooked. Being a trusted and reputable company in the industry can help to ensure that you stay at the top of the chain.
By being a leading company, you also gain the ability to further engage with other professionals and customers and patients, making you a voice of reason and education.
This builds your power and can help to grow your company, hopefully allowing you to become one of the leading companies in the industry, therefore securing your future as a key part of the life sciences industry.
Effective marketing enables you to grow and climb the ladder of the industry, allowing you to navigate the world of life science as one of the leading companies and voices in the crowd.
The Role of Life Sciences in Advancing Medicine and Healthcare
Date Posted: Saturday May 20, 2023
Life sciences play a crucial role in advancements in medicine and healthcare research and much of what we understand today is due to research in this field.
We continue learning more about the human body all the time, showing us new ways to treat and manage a range of diseases and issues and helping us to discover a range of new medications and treatments.
Life science research can help us to further understand the way many diseases work, grow and spread. This is especially useful when developing new treatments for diseases such as cancer, as they are constantly changing and evolving.
By learning more about how these diseases work and how they affect the human body, we are better able to develop new therapies and treatments to reduce or treat them.
New drugs and medications, targeted treatments and therapies require testing to ensure they work and are effective, which cannot take place without intensive research and trial.
Life sciences can also help to create personalised, tailored medication and treatments. Looking closely as an individual can give us the knowledge we need to create a precise, personalised treatment plan which can better treat their individual needs and requirements.
This results in healthcare that is more efficient, effective and has fewer side effects, meaning a person can start their journey to getting better much easier.
All this targeted research also plays a huge role in disease prevention and protection. By looking more closely into diseases, how they spread and how they are treated, better advice can be given to the public on how to protect themselves and how to manage their symptoms.
By identifying symptoms and risk factors, health organisations are better prepared to develop preventative strategies which work to protect the public as best as possible.
For information on life science marketing, get in touch with us today.
Most Baffling Health Claims Made By Products
Date Posted: Friday May 5, 2023
Nothing is more important in life science marketing than the truth, no matter what your product is or who it is aimed at.
Part of the reason for this is that many life science products such as medicines and medical devices cannot be marketed to consumers directly, and doctors are only interested in the facts, not the sizzle.
However, whilst some examples are cases of bending the facts a little too far, other companies are far more egregious and snap the truth entirely in their pursuit of sales.
The Many Lies Of Kellogs
The cereal company Kellogs started by claiming their Corn Flakes could cure indigestion, so perhaps it is not surprising that they have been caught bending the truth many times.
Alongside this initial claim and the entire dubious premise of the Special K Nourish line, by far their worst offender was a US marketing campaign for Rice Krispies and Frosted Mini-Wheats, which got them into trouble with the FTC twice.
The first issue was a claim that the latter could boost attentiveness by 20 per cent; not only was this claim unsupported by evidence, but it is also unclear what kind of evidence could support it at all.
A few months later, the FTC took them to task again for claiming that Rice Krispies boost immunity, once again without any evidence.
It was a PR disaster for the venerable company, but not one that seemed to change their behaviour at all, given that they would get in trouble years later for making false claims.
The Shoe-Shape Lies
Two shoe companies tried to claim that their shoes would especially tone bodies and help people lose weight. Both Sketchers Shape-Up and Reebok EasyTone were supposedly shaped in such a way that it would turn a walk into an isometric workout.
It was a complete lie, and both companies paid multi-million dollar settlements.
Britain Aims To Rejoin EU Science Research Programme
Date Posted: Friday April 14, 2023
When it comes to life science marketing, the UK will hope there is much to sell and promote as a direct result of British scientific research. There has certainly been plenty of talk among ministers of making Britain a scientific research powerhouse, emboldened by the success of Oxford University and AstraZeneca in creating an accessible and effective Covid vaccine.
However, many have argued the UK is at a disadvantage in scientific research as a result of Brexit, since it has left behind bodies that help collaborate and fund research of various kinds.
As Politico reports, the UK is now seeking to rejoin the programme it left when Brexit was completed in 2020, including the €95.5 billion Horizon Europe funding scheme. However, the problem seems to be that the government wants to do this at a discount cost, despite not having to pay the fees it skipped since leaving the scheme in 2020.
The UK is arguing its case based on an estimate of how much EU funding would go to research in Britain, arguing that the figure warrants lower contributions.
Having recently had success in renegotiating the Northern Ireland Protocol (except when trying to get the DUP to back it), there has been optimism that under Rishi Sunak relations between the UK and the EU are being gradually reset.
However, the row over funding, dubbed by one EU official as “Margaret Thatcher style thinking” referencing the rebate to Britain’s overall contributions she won in the 1980s, may jeopardise this.
Sir Paul Nurse, director of the Francis Crick Institute, told MPs on the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee this month that Britain needs to rejoin the scheme, remarking: “If we don’t associate, I see us drifting off into the cold north-east Atlantic rather by ourselves.”
He said the ‘plan B’ of the proposed £14.6 billion Pioneer scheme to support research would not be an adequate replacement, declaring: “We will get very lonely and we will not actually have the influence in the world that is appropriate for a science superpower.”
How Synthetic Biology Helped To Develop Scientific Research
Date Posted: Friday April 7, 2023
Synthetic biology is a relatively new practice which has further enabled scientists to develop and produce new theories and research through synthetically engineering specific biological systems for the purpose of research.
The creation of new biological systems gives scientists the ability to synthetically engineer cells and organisms that have specific functions and properties. This allows for more targeted research and allows scientists to look at singular aspects and properties of a biological system in more depth.
In turn, this has led to an improved understanding on how these systems function and work. By allowing researchers to manipulate and change the conditions in which these systems work, they can study isolated aspects of a larger system in different ways.
Through this, scientists have been able to develop new theories and even treatments for a range of conditions and diseases. Without synthetic biology, it may have taken a lot longer to find the perfect conditions to conduct the research necessary to produce these treatments.
This has accelerated the speed in which new treatment options are being found and has opened the door for many to receive help for conditions previously thought to be difficult to treat.
One of the most notable achievements of synthetic biology is the discovery that immune cells which can be used to treat cancer can be engineered. This biological therapy helps to teach the body to recognise and attack cancerous cells.
There are several applications of immunotherapy, such as using antibodies, inhibitors and vaccines and it can be used alongside other forms of cancer treatment depending on the patient to ensure it is as effective as possible.
Synthetic biology has opened an entirely new world of research and there are sure to be new and exciting breakthroughs in the future thanks to this incredible practice.
For life science marketing, contact Voicentric today!
How One Of The Most Famous Health Campaigns Ever Fell Fowl
Date Posted: Wednesday March 29, 2023
Given the restrictions on life science marketing directly to patients, the most famous pieces of marketing material tend to take the form of public information films (PIFs) or public service announcements (PSAs).
As far as PSAs go, arguably the most famous PSA in history because of its surreality, bluntness and repetition was “Frying Pan”, often known simply as “Your Brain On Drugs”.
It was created by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America (now Partnership to End Addiction), a collection of advertising professionals who made a coordinated effort to try and unsell street drugs during the era of the War on Drugs, Drugwatch and Just Say No.
All of these different campaigns used different tactics. Some used celebrity endorsements such as a young pre-Space Jam Michael Jordan. Some campaigns were “very special episodes” of popular television shows, and some campaigns attempted to use surreal metaphors.
Frying Pan’s approach was through the use of a blunt metaphor. The frying pan was drugs, the egg was your brain, and so the implication was that your brain on drugs was fried and destroyed.
This upset the American Egg Board, which claimed that it unfairly connected eggs, which during that time were having issues with a widespread salmonella outbreak, with dangerous substances.
It was repeated and syndicated extensively to the point that 90 per cent of American children were aware of the advert, 88 per cent believed occasional use of cocaine was dangerous (up 10 per cent) and even drug dealers were using the term “let’s fry an egg” as a term for using.
However, ultimately the programme succeeded in every marketing metric going but arguably was not successful at stopping people from using drugs.
Part of the problem is that the connection between recreational drugs, addiction and the horrific side effects is both blunt and surreal, with an aggressive tone to its rhetorical question that invites a lot of questions.
Some people saw the advert and noticed people who took drugs that were not immediately harmed, which created a dissonance that damaged the power the advert could have.
More recent campaigns, such as FRANK’s Pablo the Mule Dog, focused more on the facts about drugs, allowing young adults to learn about their effects and why certain drugs are dangerous.
What Were The Best Healthcare Marketing Campaigns?
Date Posted: Wednesday March 22, 2023
Advertisement is everything in the modern world and this is true for all aspects of life, including medicine and healthcare. In a competitive market, it’s vital that healthcare giants market effectively to ensure their products reach their target audience.
There are some great examples of healthcare marketing campaigns that did everything they set out to and more, proving that great advertisement can be the key to ensuring your products and services receive the attention they deserve.
Bupa health insurance brought out an advertising campaign highlighting the importance of seeking help with your mental health. The ‘is it normal’?’ campaign aimed to destigmatise mental health and give people a reason to talk about it.
The video campaign was emotional, encouraging and eye-opening and captured the essence of the everyday struggles many people suffer with. This opened up conversations about mental health and inspired people to seek the help they needed.
Colgate’s Made For Greatness ad campaign was innovative and creative and was a new and unusual way to advertise an everyday health product, toothpaste.
It is unexpected that a toothpaste commercial would inspire and encourage people to achieve their goals, however, this is exactly what Colgate managed to do. The ad campaign was a huge hit and the toothpaste remains one of the top brands globally.
Volterol is a medicine which helps to soothe back and joint pain and is used by many to aid daily life and reduce discomfort. Their ‘The joy of movement’ campaign highlighted the importance of living life to its fullest.
Inspirational and relatable, this campaign aimed to bring attention to just how important movement is and the funny, lighthearted advertisement was a huge hit in both showcasing the product and the benefits of using it to help with daily life.
For life science telemarketing, contact Voicentric today!
Budget ‘Set To Give Big Boost To Life Science Research’
Date Posted: Wednesday March 15, 2023
The provision of life science facilities in the UK is expected to grow following the announcement of new measures to bolster the sector in the Budget.
According to the Evening Standard, property experts anticipate increased demand for space to establish laboratories following the decision to give to small and medium enterprises in life sciences investing over 40 per cent of turnover in research and development without yet turning in a profit of 27p for every £1 invested.
This initiative was welcomed by head of the UK BioIndustry Association Steve Bates, who told the paper: “Our sector is growing at a rapid pace and the spring Budget will put extra firepower behind start-ups.”
Speaking about new bases being established in London, he added: “From Canary Wharf to White City, we are seeing the creation of really exciting new jobs in the capital and fantastic investment opportunities.”
Similarly, tax partner at PWC Aiden Sutton said the initiative should “stimulate accelerated investment and perhaps a virtuous circle as more facilities must be built and fitted out to house these activities”, while British Property Federation director of policy Ian Fletcher also predicted a major rise in demand for property to host research efforts.
Of course, an expanding and thriving life sciences sector also means life science sales should increase too as more research leads to new discoveries and provides many more innovations and products to bring to the market.
Evidence of this kind of increased demand and development of property for the purpose of providing more science labs has been provided by British Land, which has been developing a master plan for the Canada Water area of London.
In conjunction with partner AustralianSuper, it has instructed architects Stanton Williams to design a 300,000 sq ft building to house more life science research space as part of the blueprint for the district.
The Lessons Learned From Banned Health Adverts | Voicentric
Date Posted: Saturday February 18, 2023
In the world of life science marketing, the best way to advertise a product, medicine or healthcare device is to be clear. Explain what it is, what it does and how it can help people, either through B2B marketing to healthcare institutions or B2C directly to consumers.
However, despite the rules for marketing being very clear and the Advertising Standards Agency being quite quick to enforce its rules on adverts that breach them, either by making an unsubstantiated medical claim, advertising banned medicines or breaching a different type of rule.
However, much like how every mistake is an opportunity to learn, every banned advert has a lesson on how to market effectively without pushing it too far.
Nurofen Back And Joint Pain
At one point popular ibuprofen brand Nurofen tried to sell targeted pain relief products by claiming they had a mechanism to target specific areas of pain in the body.
This is not how painkillers work, and the advert was banned by the ASA, which had a domino effect that took out the entire industry of target pain relief tablets. The Nurofen joint pain title only appears on pain relief gels where the claims can be at least slightly more substantiated.
The lesson here is simple; don’t lie.
Oppo’s Superfood Snafu
Superfoods are a highly controversial subject at the best of times, with a lot of wildly unsubstantiated claims being made when the reality is that most of these so-called “superfoods” are at best slightly more nutrient-rich than most and are in no way a substitute for a balanced diet.
One company to fall (or perhaps get pushed) into this trap was ice cream company Oppo Brothers, which used the terms superfoods and healthy whilst referring to ingredients that did not at that point have authorisation for what they claimed.
Ultimately the adverts were banned and apparently, the complaint was made by Perfect World, a rival low-fat ice cream brand that wanted to target a competitor.
Whilst rivalries cannot really be stopped in the world of sales and marketing, it is always best to lead with what you know is true and correct, and be careful to read the rules if your claims get close to healthcare ones.
Lessons To Learn From Inspiring Health And Medical Marketing
Date Posted: Tuesday February 7, 2023
The world of life science marketing is split down the middle, with strict regulations meaning that many medical products, drugs and devices are advertised comprehensively to medical professionals instead of customers as is the practice in the United States.
Medical adverts aimed at customers, therefore, tend to be either public information films that were commissioned by the government, or otherwise focused less on selling a product and more on raising awareness of conditions and services available.
When done right, a health marketing campaign can be highly influential, and with that in mind here are some lessons that can be learned from health, safety and medical marketing successes.
Dumb Ways to Die – Metro Trains Melbourne
One of the most popular and successful public information films ever, to the point that many people do not realise that it is about railway safety, Dumb Ways to Die is a catchy jingle that highlights the dangers posed by the railway network alongside other outlandish actions to take.
According to Metro Trains, it managed to reduce near-miss accidents by 30 per cent within a year and was viewed over 334 million times in total, as well as winning many industry awards.
The lesson learned is the power of viral marketing and framing. Many people did not even realise it was a public information film until the very end but this did not stop the message from being effective.
Heartburn and indigestion are conditions that many people deal with but may not understand the mechanics of or how to relieve themselves of that discomfort.
As a response to this, Gaviscon had a range of adverts that depicted their heartburn relief medication as firefighters cooling down the heartburn’s metaphorical flames.
Whilst such a depiction needs to be undertaken with care not to misrepresent what a medication does, adverts work best with dynamic, simple visuals.
Are Warnings About Britain’s Life Sciences Warranted?
Date Posted: Monday January 30, 2023
Britain’s life science industry may be in better health than some think, despite some warnings about its future.
The Daily Express, normally an ardent supporter of Brexit, has reported on warnings that Britain’s ambition of being a life sciences giant in the years to come may now be in jeopardy after it was removed from the European Union’s £80 billion Horizon Europe scheme, a key source of funding for innovative science research.
It said it had been provided with evidence from innovation funding consultancy Ayming UK that the departure of the UK from the Horizon scheme will lead to three quarters of science research businesses moving operations abroad. The paper warned this could undermine plans set out by science minister George Freeman to enable the UK to gain “science superpower status”.
This gloomy prognosis might suggest the UK’s life science sales pipeline could soon be reduced to a trickle, but the latest reality on the ground might suggest a different story.
For instance, life sciences firm ValiRX has just taken up laboratory and office space at the MediCity Nottingham facility, Business Live reports. The company, which specialises in the areas of cancer therapy and women’s health, has previously operated virtually and outsourced testing, but can now do it in-house.
In addition, there are cases of EU-based firms extending their presence in Britain, rather than reducing them. For instance, Insider Media has reported on the case of Austria-based firm Weiner Bio-One, which has had a UK subsidiary since 1989, but has now extended its presence by investing on a major new storage and office space near Stroud to add to its nearby facility at Stonehouse.
While the latter firm is investing in distribution and administration rather than research, it may still be seen as a sign that the life sciences sector will still be heavily involved in the UK. In the meantime, it remains to be seen whether new government funding sources will emerge to successfully replace the money lost from the Horizon Europe programme.
How Medical Public Information Films Teach Life Science
Date Posted: Monday January 9, 2023
Given the interconnected nature of public and private health companies, life science marketing often takes a very different approach in the UK than in other countries.
A lot of marketing related to healthcare is undertaken by or commissioned by UK government departments, often taking the form of the Public Information Film.
These PIFs, which were made by the Central Office of Information (COI) from 1946 until 2011 and by several non-profit organisations before and since, convey information in somewhat unique and often shocking ways.
Medical information, in particular, was presented in ways that would provide critical information on how to spot a disease or medical emergency in a way no other media could.
Here are some of the more infamous examples.
There were several famous adverts about the horrible viral infection rabies, a disease that is almost always fatal once its symptoms start appearing.
The two most famous of these were Rabies Means Death and Rabies Kills.
The first specifically warns against smuggling animals into the UK, because of the risk of spreading rabies, using a familiar tactic of juxtaposing a fairly normal scene with a quite graphic depiction of someone in the latter stages of the disease. It was chilling, disturbing and highly effective.
Another, more straightforward example was Rabies Kills, a simple animation with instructions on what to do if accosted by a stray animal when in a foreign country, with a great transition from the green and white cross associated with a first aid kit to a black Christian cross to symbolise death.
Ring A Ring o’ Roses
Familiarity and subversion are highly effective marketing tools, and during the 1990s, the Health Education Authority took full advantage of this to highlight the dangers of childhood diseases if a child is left unvaccinated.
There are several, but the most effective is Ring a Ring o’ Roses, in no small part because of how well-known the original rhyme is and how disturbing the distortion makes it.
Research Discovery Finds Existing Drugs Can Treat Kidney Condition
Date Posted: Monday January 2, 2023
Acute Kidney Injury, or AKI is a condition that often arises as a consequence of other illnesses and can have major long-term health consequences, but a new study has fund existing drugs used to treat other conditions may provide relief.
The discovery has emerged from a study by scientists at the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Cardiovascular Science. The work started with the fact that AKI sufferers have high levels of endothelin, a protein that causes inflammation and blood level constriction.
Responding to this, they trialled drugs normally used to treat conditions with similar symptoms such as angina and high blood pressure on mice with elevated levels of endothelin. This was found to improve the long-term outlook. The results were published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
Crucially, the use of the drugs over a period of four weeks helped inhibit the endothelin-A receptor that caused AKI to progress to chronic kidney disease (CKD), which has longer-term life-limiting effects on patients. Among the drugs used were endothelin-A receptor antagonists and Verapamil.
This suggests that life science sales of angina and high blood pressure could increase as medics use them to treat AKI patients and reduce progression to CKD.
Speaking about the need for a treatment to prevent AKI progressing to CKD, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation Professor James Leiper said: “Impaired kidney function that results from acute kidney injury can also increase a person’s chance of developing and dying from heart and circulatory diseases,” adding that it is “vital we find ways to reduce this risk.”
According to the NHS, CKD progresses to kidney failure in only one out of 50 cases and can usually be controlled with drugs and lifestyle changes such as better diet, but it can also increase the risk of serious cardiovascular problems such as heart attacks and strokes.
Trial To Compare Stem Cell MS Treatment Against Four Leading Drugs
Date Posted: Sunday December 25, 2022
A new trial is set to research whether stem cell transplantation can provide an effective remedy for more aggressive forms of multiple sclerosis (MS).
Funded by the National Institute for Health and care Research and Medical Research Council, the £2.3 million StarMS study run by Sheffield University could transform the treatment of MS. The trial will compare the relative effectiveness and safety of autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (AHSCT) with that of four commonly used and effective drug treatments.
It will build on the MIST trial, which showed stem cell transplants could reverse some disability in certain patients and could be more effective than drugs. MIST also showed that AHSCT was more effective in reducing the risk of disability in those where MS was more active.
Should the treatment prove more effective than the four drugs, it will inevitably be at the forefront of a major life science sales and marketing campaign as treatment providers seek the technology to carry out such therapies, with 100,000 sufferers in the UK alone and over two million globally.
Around 200 patients are set to be recruited for the trial, which will see AHSCT compared with Alemtuzumab, ocrelizumab, ofatumumab and cladribine, none of which were around when the MIST trial took place.
Commenting on the trial, consultant haematologist at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Professor John Snowden said: “We hope to determine the exact place of AHSCT in the modern treatment pathways for patients with severe MS.”
He added that the study may also shed light on the “fundamental immune system abnormalities that cause MS in the first place”.
MS is listed by the NHS as one of the most common causes of disability among younger people. The condition is usually diagnosed when patients are in their 20s, 30s and 40s.
It is between two and three times more common among women than men.
Scottish Government Sets Out Life Sciences Export Plan
Date Posted: Thursday December 15, 2022
Already accounting for 80 per cent of turnover in the sector, exports in areas such as heath tech and new medical devices could see much more growth, according to trade minister Ivan McKee.
Hailing the fact that the sector in Scotland is “already an export success story, with the majority of its products destined for the overseas market,” he stated: “There is huge growth potential, and we want to do everything possible to support the industry as it looks to expand and target new markets.”
Mr McKee added: “The US has been identified as a priority market for pharma services, medical technology and digital health – based on the scale of the market, ease of doing business and openness to innovation.” However, the minister noted that the focus would not be limited to trying to increase exports to America, with the rest of the world also seen as offering potential growth.
As well as seeking to maximise export opportunities, other priorities include promoting “innovation and expertise” to help firms enter and grow in major export markets and the holding of networking events to help companies share stories of success and best practice.
The plan has been drawn up between officials at Holyrood, Scottish Development International and the Industry Leadership Group for Life Sciences. It is part of a wider plan to raise exports to 25 per cent of Scotland’s gross domestic product by 2029.
This strategy, known as ‘A Trading Nation’, was originally launched in 2019. It is not directly linked to or contingent on the Scottish government’s economic case for independence, a matter on which the Supreme Court has just ruled Holyrood does not have the unilateral power to call a referendum.
New GDPR Regulations For The UK
Date Posted: Sunday December 4, 2022
During the recent Conservative Party conference which took place between October 2nd-5th, it was announced that the UK will be scrapping the EU’s GDPR regulations in favour of new UK regulations.
GDPR, or general data protection regulations, are in place to ensure companies and organisations protect personal data correctly and also provide proof of this protection to ensure consumers are protected and have control over their data.
After leaving the EU, the UK decided to replace old regulations with their own new ones. However, it has been confirmed that the government is pausing a data reform bill in order to rethink and redraft legislation regarding GDPR.
Changes in GDPR regulations could affect businesses nationwide as any amendments made would have to be adhered to by said businesses, so their entire data protection systems would have to be reviewed.
On the whole, the new UK regulations adhere largely to the EU’s, but several amendments have been made to consent for online data tracking, scientific research, public sector data sharing and also changing regulations for small UK-based businesses.
While the changes may be small, it could end up being costly for many businesses and also affect trade with countries within the EU and the European economic area.
Since leaving the EU, there has already been an overhaul of GDPR, so any new changes will be taking place after businesses spent time and money investing in compliance only four years ago.
Regardless of how long the new legislation is paused for, it is likely that the changes will start being implemented soon and businesses will need to amend their practices in accordance with the new regulations.
Lab-Grown Blood May Represent Huge Breakthrough
Date Posted: Saturday November 26, 2022
New techniques that can create artificial blood in a laboratory may help revolutionise treatments and resolve problems of shortages of supply, especially for those with rare blood groups.
The first trial of such blood has been undertaken at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, with volunteers being injected with red blood cells that had been grown in a lab from stem cells donated by healthy donors.
If the trial is successful in providing viable cells that perform their tasks well for longer, it could raise the possibility of providing treatments for those with sickle cell blood disease as well as rare blood types. Such an innovation may feature heavily in life science sales as it could be adopted around the world to help patients with rare blood types or conditions.
Should the artificially-generated cells last longer in the body than the cells already there, which because they are fresh they are hoped to do, this could bring the further benefit of reducing the frequency with which patients with rare conditions might need transfusions, which will reduce the iron overload that such operations can bring.
Professor of cell biology at the University of Bristol and director of the NIHR Blood and Transplant Unit in red cell products Ashley Toye commented: “This is the first-time lab grown blood from an allogeneic donor has been transfused and we are excited to see how well the cells perform at the end of the clinical trial.”
The prospect of being able to manufacture blood could also help organisations like the NHS when there are shortages of blood. An amber warning was issued in October for England, leading to the cancellation of some non-urgent operations. There was a particular shortage of O positive and O negative blood types.
A lack of blood has been a concern since the pandemic, as many people have been less likely to visit towns and cities where the blood donor centres are located.
The Marketing Successes Of Drug Repositioning
Date Posted: Saturday November 19, 2022
The concept of drug repositioning is an essential part of life sciences, as it allows for medications that have already been subject to clinical trials to be used to try and treat other conditions, sometimes to great success.
Drug repositioning as a strategy is primarily used to help treat rarer conditions as the research costs are much lower than the typical costs for developing a new medicine, and because they can often skip clinical trial steps, can also be released to the public faster.
Whilst much of the work is in research, drug repositioning often requires effective life science marketing to present the existing medication as a viable treatment for a rare condition or one that had previously had very few viable treatments.
Here are two major examples of marketing helping with successful drug repositioning.
The Rehabilitation Of Thalidomide
The medication thalidomide was at the centre of the biggest man-made medical disaster in history, as ineffective drug-testing methodology in the 1950s led to a medication that caused birth defects to be offered as a cure for morning sickness.
Between 10,000 and 20,000 children were affected, with compensation payments being made to this very day.
However, thalidomide was found to be a very effective treatment for leprosy, a painful and potentially life-threatening nerve condition. An Israeli doctor used it despite its ban in 1964, and over 30 years later it would be approved by the US FDA and was advertised as Thalomid, albeit under strict conditions.
Matters Of Heart And Body
In the mid-1980s, Pfizer was attempting to develop a drug for treating angina called sildenafil, but after a few small-scale trials, a rather unusual side effect was found, which led to further study for its effects on erectile dysfunction.
Up until this point, the only effective treatment for ED had been injections of papaverine, which due to the needle made it largely impractical for situations where someone would need treatment for ED.
The medical compound sildenafil turned out to work quite well and by 1998 was approved by the FDA, leading to several highly effective advertising campaigns, most notably by famous footballer Pele.
Most Infamous Examples Of Public Information Marketing
Date Posted: Wednesday November 9, 2022
One fascinating subset of life science marketing that is commonly seen but not as commonly commented on is marketing material that is not directly advertising a product but instead is providing a piece of healthcare information.
The most common example of this is known as the public information film (PIF), which was typically commissioned by the government to provide advice, information and warnings on a wide variety of subjects.
The subject matter varied widely, from not mixing different types of tyres, a series of films describing what to do in the event of a nuclear attack, to the dangers of children getting trapped in fridges
However, the most interesting, and some of the most infamous, were healthcare-related PIFs, which explained new symptoms, how to avoid serious injury and sometimes even basic first aid.
One of the very first of these was Coughs and Sneezes, directed by the father of PIFs Richard Massingham about the danger of sneezing and coughing in public without a handkerchief.
The somewhat humorous tone led to the videos getting a cult following, and because the films were produced by the Central Office of Information and could be freely used, they were often seen during times when a channel could not get enough adverts to fill a break.
A common trend of these was to provide information on a potential health hazard, such as Malaria or Rabies, which were relatively rare conditions to most people living in Great Britain and therefore were helpful to remind people to watch out for particular conditions and either get travel vaccinations or be careful.
Much of the advice suggested in PIFs is very basic, albeit with often ludicrously exaggerated results and a reliance on shocking and grotesque imagery, but that highlights the effectiveness of these campaigns for getting their message across.
This was especially helpful for campaigns such as the AIDS monolith, which was a major PIF campaign about the dangers of HIV, then an incurable pandemic but with a combination of major information campaigns and more effective antiretroviral medications has not only reduced cases dramatically but also made the condition manageable.
What Can Be Learned By The Worst Medicine Advert?
Date Posted: Monday October 24, 2022
The most important maxim to bear in mind when creating life science marketing campaigns is that clarity and truth must supersede every other aspect of the advertisement.
Part of this is for legal reasons; prescription medication and medical devices cannot be advertised at all, but even products available over the counter must be able to substantiate any health claims that they make.
As the late Christopher Hitchens pointed out, evidence is the key; if a claim is made with no evidence, it can be dismissed with no evidence as well.
One especially dubious product was mindful of this fact and made sure not to make any health claims it could not substantiate. In fact, it did not say anything at all.
HeadOn was a topical product produced initially by Miralus Healthcare that claimed to remove headaches once it was applied to the forehead on its website, although not in its marketing.
Famous sceptic James Randi called it a “major medical swindle” and the Better Business Bureau’s National Advertising Division, the American counterpart to the Advertising Standards Agency, objected to an initial claim that the product provided “effective” headache relief.
HeadOn had no medical claims it could use, so it did not use any.
Technically it did not lie; HeadOn was designed to be applied to the forehead, and is available without a prescription, given that the product is almost entirely made of wax.
This also means it has no side effects, primarily because it does not have any effects
According to Miralus Healthcare, this advert worked best with focus groups as the repetition helped them to remember the brand, but everyone else believed it to be annoying, with the repetition more likely to induce headaches than HeadOn is likely to help them.
It was one of the earliest adverts to receive a lot of attention through social media parody, with a parody even appearing in the mockbuster film Disaster Movie in 2008.
Microsoft Joins ‘Largest Ever’ Health Research Project
Date Posted: Monday October 10, 2022
The life sciences sector has received an ally in the form of technology giant Microsoft, as it recently revealed plans to join the UK’s largest health research programme.
Microsoft Cloud will be used to store data in the Our Future Health project, which will use the information to develop new treatments, diagnostic tools, and prevention measures for common diseases.
Andrew Roddam, chief executive of Our Future Health, said: “We’re delighted that Microsoft will be working with us as a key technology partner and providing our cloud services.”
He added: “This will be an integral part of Our Future Health, underpinning so many important systems that are essential to the running of the programme and ultimately helping to create one of the most detailed pictures we’ve ever had of people’s health.”
Microsoft’s Azure cloud will hold the data of five million volunteers from around the country, which will then be analysed to look for the leading causes of dementia, cancer, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, and diabetes.
Researchers will use bioinformatics and biomedical research tools, such as genomic analysis, when looking at the health information of volunteers. All the data retrieval and storage will comply with data protection laws.
The goal of Our Future Health is to create a really detailed picture of public health in the UK, so researchers can help scientists develop more effective tools for prevention, detection and treatment of terminal conditions.
By improving the understanding risk factors, medical professionals can better target those who are more susceptible to certain diseases.
Give us a call today to find out more about lab instruments telemarketing.
What We Can Learn From The Most Off-Putting Health-Related Marketing Campaign
Date Posted: Wednesday September 28, 2022
There are many complexities to life science marketing at a business-to-customer level as opposed to business-to-business, as you need to catch a customer’s eye and explain how a sometimes complex product or concept can help to improve their lives.
There are plenty of examples of times life science companies have gotten this right, but one of the most fascinating examples of how to get every element of a marketing campaign wrong comes from the 1999 facial stimulation product Rejuvenique.
The premise, dubious and potentially dangerous as it was, was that you put on a mask with gold-plated contact points that would electrocute your face in specific points to help create a more toned, youthful look.
Aside from suggestions that this not only does not work but according to facial palsy websites may actually cause more harm than good, the mask was not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration which would have had jurisdiction over the product.
What made all of this worse and what turned a dubious concept into a collective horror show was its marketing in pretty much every aspect other than the smart decision not to put the product itself on the box.
The face mask is inherently off-putting as a design, with a pale pallor and distinct lack of features that whilst claimed in advertising and infomercial slots to be reminiscent of Raul the Phantom of the Opera is more reminiscent of the slasher film villain Michael Myers from Halloween.
The other side, with its exposed electrical contacts, is even worse, resembling an implement of torture more than a device a human being would willingly strap to their head.
The advertising slots featuring Linda Evans from the TV show Dynasty attempt in their copy to describe the contacts as “cushions” and the electrical shocks as the equivalent of “eight sit-ups a second”, but this is juxtaposed with its inherently off-putting appearance.
Ultimately Rejuvenique shows that an audience deserves more credit than it often receives from some types of advertising campaigns. No amount of linguistic gymnastics or use of celebrity endorsements can get past the inherent uncanny effect the product provides.
Malaria Vaccine Hailed As ‘World Changing’
Date Posted: Sunday September 11, 2022
The new jab could be rolled out as soon as next year after trials in Burkina Faso showed it to be 77 per cent effective in preventing the disease. While it is not the world’s first malaria vaccine – last year saw the World Health Organisation (WHO) agreeing to the use of a pioneering jab developed by GSK – it is cheaper to make and can be produced on a larger scale.
It is set to be manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, which can produce 100 million doses a year.
By hitting 80 per cent resistance to infection in the higher adjuvant group and 70 per cent in the lower adjuvant group in the trials, it met the WHO criteria for 75 per cent efficacy. The vaccine will be chiefly aimed at young children, who are by far the most vulnerable to the disease.
While life science marketing can help pharmaceutical firms achieve strong profits from the roll-out of effective medications, this is by necessity not always through the use of expensive treatments. Low-cost medications that can be easily afforded by poorer countries or funded through international aid packages will often make a critical difference in health outcomes.
Hailing the potential impact of the vaccine, director of advocacy at Malaria No More UK Gareth Jenkins said: “Today’s R21 vaccine results from Oxford’s renowned Jenner Institute are another encouraging signal that, with the right support, the world could end child deaths from malaria in our lifetimes.”
Although anyone bitten by a malarial mosquito can catch the disease, figures for cases and mortality show how Africa and young children bear the brunt of its impact.
According to the WHO, in 2020 there were 241 million cases of the disease across the globe, with 627,000 deaths. 95 per cent of cases and 96 per cent of deaths occurred on Africa and 80 per cent of those dying in the region were children under the age of five.
Research Finds Blood Pressure Medication Works At All Times Of The Day
Date Posted: Friday August 26, 2022
Research funded by the British Heart Foundation on the efficacy of blood pressure medication has found that it is equally effective whether it is taken in the morning or during the evening, ending a long-standing life science marketing debate.
The clinical trial findings, presented at the European Study of Cardiology Congress meeting in Barcelona, Spain, disproved previous research that suggested that medication that lowers a person’s blood pressure might be more effective if taken in the evening.
Instead, the trial suggests that the time of day has no impact on its effectiveness, and people can feel safe taking their blood pressure medication during any convenient time for the user.
Given that blood pressure medications are among the most widely prescribed in the country, used to help lower the risk of strokes, heart attacks and other related conditions.
The trial, known as Treatment In Morning versus Evening (TIME), asked 20,000 people who were taking one form of blood pressure medication to specifically take it either in the morning or at night, with researchers following these people’s lives for the next five years.
They wanted to see if anyone suffered from a heart attack or a stroke, as well as note down anyone who died due to circulatory diseases.
Ultimately, the results showed that there was no statistically significant difference between the two; 362 people in the morning group had a cardiac event, stroke or died compared to 390 in the evening.
This is an important finding because the previous research had led some people who took medication for their blood pressure to skip taking that medication if they were unable to do so in the evening, believing it was more dangerous to take it at the wrong time.
Instead, they can now take this medicine whenever it is convenient for them and help reduce the risk of circulatory diseases.
Three Adverts That Show The Pitfalls Of Marketing Medicines
Date Posted: Saturday August 6, 2022
Arguably the single most complex area of life science marketing is in attempts to market medicines.
Part of this is based on the law; according to both the Advertising Standards Agency and the Human Medicines Regulations, prescription medication cannot be marketed directly to customers, limiting marketing to products that can be bought on shelves.
However, whilst many adverts are clear about the effects of their products, some either lack that clarity or manage to showcase one of the potential pitfalls found when marketing products designed to help people feel better.
One of the oddest advertising failures out there, the Tom Hiddleston-led advert for multivitamin Centrum in China would seem to have all the makings of success.
Take a film star known for being a bit of a heartthrob, have him be romantic and nice, and stick a bottle of vitamins into the frame. Surely nothing can go wrong, right?
Unfortunately, the silent protagonist, first-person perspective and Tom Hiddlestone’s baffling pauses, capped off by him almost slamming the bottle into the middle of the table makes him come off as surprisingly creepy.
One common issue with many adverts is that in their attempt to sell a brand rather than a product, they forget to explain what it is they are actually selling.
Interestingly enough, the Lorna Nickson-led Oral-B toothpaste advert has the exact opposite problem, assuming the audience has never seen a toothbrush before and relying on every single hackneyed trope of dental advertising, right down to biting an apple at the end.
Keeping your advert simple is a great way to ensure you stay on-brand, on topic and get your message across as clearly and succinctly as possible.
The makers of migraine relief product HeadOn understood this so greatly that their advert has exactly five spoken words in it. However, they are spoken so repetitively and so aggressively that they caused more migraines than they helped soothe.
Research Teams Develop Breakthrough Method To Grow Food Without Sunlight
Date Posted: Tuesday July 19, 2022
A pair of research teams have discovered a way to create food without the need for sunlight through a highly efficient artificial photosynthesis method.
The teams based at UC Riverside and the University of Delaware published their findings in the journal Nature Food, with the discovery also spreading throughout many major life science marketing publications.
Photosynthesis is one of the most important biological processes on the planet, with light, carbon dioxide and water being converted into oxygen, and sugars. This, by extension, grows the food we eat.
However, according to UC Riverside, only one per cent of this energy actually ends up in the plant, making photosynthesis remarkably inefficient for how important it is.
The solution they found was to use an electrocatalytic process that converts carbon dioxide, water and electricity into acetate, one of the main components of vinegar, that food-producing organisms can then consume to grow.
In a study comparing photosynthesis to this two-step process powered by solar panels, the researchers found that it is 18 times more efficient to use solar energy to power artificial photosynthesis than the traditional biological process.
The experiment attempted to grow a range of organisms, including green algae, mushrooms (using the fungus mycelium) and yeast, the latter of which can be produced 18 times more efficiently than the traditional method of cultivating sugar taken from corn harvests.
Other crops that the team believe could be grown this way include tobacco, tomato, cowpea, green pea, canola and rice, the latter of which highlights the potential major benefits of doing so.
With climate change causing considerable damage and fundamental changes to the places that are currently used for agriculture through droughts and floods, global food security relies on developing methods to grow more food with fewer resources and in otherwise unsuitable spaces.
This could also potentially lead to more ambitious space missions, as efficient artificial photosynthesis provides a potential method to produce food that is nutritious, palatable and more plentiful than current methods.
Tributes Paid To Cancer Research Fundraiser
Date Posted: Friday July 8, 2022
Tributes have been paid to the late Dame Deborah James, who raised millions of pounds for research into bowel cancer after being diagnosed with the disease in 2016.
Dame Deborah, who was awarded the title by Prince William in May, has died from the disease at the age of 40, but not before helping to raise nearly £7 million for Cancer Research UK, Bowel Cancer UK and the Royal Marsden Hospital – a specialist cancer treatment facility.
The cash was raised through the Bowlebabe Fund, which she set up after her diagnosis.
Dame Deborah had been a head teacher before her diagnosis, but became the host of the You, Me and the Big C podcast to raise awareness about cancer. The BBC, which hosted the podcast, has paid its own tribute to her in a documentary called ‘The Last Dance’.
Bowel Cancer UK chief executive Genevieve Edwards aid Dame Deborah showed “incredible energy” and a “marvellous knack of making things happen”.
While increased awareness of the possible symptoms of bowel cancer – her last words in the final podcast were “check your poo” – may save many lives through earlier diagnosis, the research funding could go a long way to helping the life sciences sector find new drugs to enable people to live far longer.
Among drugs that may have a positive impact is Panitumumab, a drug Dame Deborah was given herself. It has been shown in new trails to extend life by up to three years. It has been offered by the NHS in combination with chemotherapy since 2017. It works on a form of bowel cancer known as RAS wild Type, which accounts for 55 per cent of cases.
The new data on the effectiveness of the treatment was presented this month at the annual American Society of Clinical Oncology conference in Chicago.
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New Study Lets Us See How Animals See
Date Posted: Thursday June 30, 2022
The University of Arkansas has undergone a study to extend our knowledge of how animals see, specifically how they view colour, providing us with new information about how animals process different wavelengths of light and how this becomes vision.
The study has revealed new information about how different kinds of animals view the world. Interestingly, we are now aware that animals that have adapted to land and large open areas are able to view a much wider spectrum of colour than their ocean and forest-residing relatives.
This is likely due to those that live above land in open habitats being exposed to far more light and therefore a broader range of colours. However, those living in darker areas such as under the water or in heavily forested areas have limited vision due to the lack of light able to reach them, thus meaning the range of colours they are able to perceive is much smaller.
Researchers also looked into the hypothesis of whether or not animals adapt to view the colours present in their natural habitats, but further research has shown that while this may be the case, there are several physiological factors that also affect how they see colour.
Research shows that invertebrate and vertebrate animals use entirely different cells in order to see and these cells work differently in each animal in order to turn wavelengths of light into vision through neurons in the brain.
This study has shown that different species of animal view the same world in completely different ways. It also shows how evolution relies heavily on the environment these animals live in and how different environments can entirely change the way we and other animals function.
A huge number of species of animal were studied, 446 to be exact, meaning a very broad spectrum of animals was used in the study in order to gather information from a wide range of animals, making the study more reliable.
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AstraZeneca’s CEO Given Knighthood
Date Posted: Tuesday June 14, 2022
The chief executive officer of AstraZeneca has received a British knighthood for his services to the country’s life sciences sector.
Pascal Soriot was named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2022 list, being picked for his leadership in the global response to the Covid-19 crisis, with the biopharmaceutical firm developing the vaccine, which has now been delivered to 180 countries worldwide.
Mr Soriot said he was “truly humbled” by the achievement, stating: “As an Australian citizen it is a great privilege to receive this award and an honour to work with so many outstanding people around the world dedicated to following the science in order to bring medicines to patients.”
After joining AstraZeneca more than ten years ago, he has helped transform the company, increasing its global presence and launching it as a world leader in innovative medicines.
He was also critical in establishing the Discovery Centre in Cambridge, with state-of-the-art research and development facilities.
Most notably, the company developed a vaccine against Covid-19, of which more than three billion doses have been administered worldwide.
It has also supplied Evusheld, which was developed to protect the most vulnerable against coronavirus, thanks to its long-acting antibody combination. A recent trial showed that Evusheld provided “significant protection” against a severe reaction to Covid-19.
Mr Soriot has been spearheading the Health Systems Taskforce of the Sustainable Markets Initiative, which was established by Prince Charles. This involves him working with world leaders to deliver sustainable healthcare.
Chair of AstraZeneca Leif Johansson commented that his “personal dedication” to patients, the company and colleagues “make this a fitting honour”.
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UCL Top In UK For Life Sciences Research
Date Posted: Sunday May 15, 2022
University College London (UCL) has been named the best facility in the UK for its research in medicine, health and life sciences.
According to the Research Excellence Framework (REF), which grades the quality of study across universities around the UK, 93 per cent of the research at UCL was given either a 4* rating, which is regarded as ‘world leading’, or 3*, otherwise known as ‘internationally excellent’.
REF 2021 awarded UCL a grade point average of 3.5 out of 4, representing an improvement from the last REF in 2014 when it achieved 3.22.
Chief executive David Probert of UCLH, which partners with UCL, stated these are “outstanding results”, adding: “It is fantastic to see this continued recognition for world-class research that makes a huge impact in the real world.”
The university achieved top grades for social sciences, as well as medicine, health and life sciences.
REF bases its results on the quality of research outputs, such as publications, impact beyond academia, and the environment that supports research.
UCL president and provost Dr Michael Spence commented on the “impressive outcome”, saying: “The result is that we are not only delivering research of an exceptionally high quality but also using it to make a real, tangible difference to lives and societies worldwide.”
Among the latest studies UCL has been partaking in is research regarding abnormal blood clotting for long-Covid sufferers.
The findings were recently published in the journal Blood Advances, revealing that blood abnormality was four times more likely in those who had continued health difficulties 12 weeks after having Covid-19.
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£1.6m Investment For Scottish Life Sciences
Date Posted: Thursday April 28, 2022
The life sciences industry in Scotland has been given a big boost recently, after a MedTech firm received £1.6 million from investors to expand its business overseas.
Carcinotech, which is based in Edinburgh, will be able to speed up its commercialisation and create partnerships with leading networks in Europe and North America, Edinburgh Evening News reported.
Manufacturing 3D-printed tumours developed from cancer stem cells, primary cells and established cell lines, it wants these to be used for clinical trials in a bid to advance treatments for patients.
Although Carcinotech, which is situated at the Roslin Innovation Centre, is already connected with Cancer Research UK; CRO, a big clinical research firm based in the US; and other global pharma organisations, this injection of cash will allow the company pursue the “next phase of growth”.
Founder and chief executive of Carcinotech Ishani Malhotra said this stage will “involve building international partnerships, growing the team, and appointing a scientific advisory committee to support the work of the main board”.
TriCapital, along with Gabriel Investments, Eos Advisory, SIS Ventures, Gabriel, Alba Equity and Scottish Enterprise all invested in the company, believe it could make a big difference in cancer research.
Chairman and managing partner of TriCapital Syndicate LLP Moray Martin stated Carcinotech is “one of the most exciting early-stage companies to come out of Scottish life sciences sector in recent times”.
He added there is already “traction and momentum” for the organisation as it aims to grow with this investment opportunity.
Eos Advisory partner Ana Stewart also described Carcinotech’s technology as “pioneering”, adding it has the “potential to make a significant impact in discovery, screening and pre-clinical testing”.
Carcinotech now plans to increase its presence in Europe and the US, maintaining Scotland’s reputation for its world-class life science research and development.
Chairman of the company Albert Nicholl said: “It’s great to see Carcinotech making an impression in international markets.”
“Ishani and her team are now positioned to step up activity in Europe and North America, and it’s great for the company to be doing that with such a supportive group of investors,” he added.
This has been just one of the recent advancements for Scottish life sciences, as Kynos Therapeutics from the University of Edinburgh has received £9 million to expand its research team.
The Scotsman reported Epidarex Capital, IP Group and Scottish Enterprise is giving £6.5 million in equity financing, while Kynos Therapeutics will also receive a £2.5 million Innovate UK grant for phase one of the clinical trial of kynurenine 3-monooxygenase (KMO) inhibitor.
Immune-metabolic specialist Kynos Therapeutics is intending to commercialise drug research on KMO, concentrating on using the treatment in critical illness after surgery, in inflammatory conditions, and in cancers where inflammation is preventing immune recovery.
It was previously part of a co-development programme with pharmaceutical company GSK, and has several KMO inhibitors that it has licenced exclusively from the University of Edinburgh.
Speaking with the news provider, chief executive officer of the company professor Damian Mole said the organisation intends to improve patient health “by developing our programme in the therapeutic area of inflammation and immunometabolism”.
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Kenya Vaccine Shortfall May Highlight Covid Treatment Need
Date Posted: Tuesday April 19, 2022
A key factor for the pharmaceutical sales sector in the near future may be the provision of drugs to fight Covid, not just for particularly vulnerable patients in the west like the elderly, but also a wider section of the population in countries with low vaccine take-up.
For the life science sales sector, that is not necessarily going to involve sales directly to countries, especially poorer nations in the developing world but to agencies providing aid to such nations in the form of extra medical treatments to combat the virus.
One such possible case could be in Kenya, where the country’s health minister Mutahi Kagwe has tweeted that 840,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine have had to be destroyed after expiring on February 28th.
The vaccines had arrived in January via the Covax scheme and while this should have provided enough time to distribute them, the ministry said that henceforth it would only accept supplies with at least four months before expiry.
A key issue noted by Mr Kagwe was vaccine hesitancy. He said: “We continue to witness vaccine hesitancy attributed to rumours and misinformation especially around fertility concerns.”
With a large proportion of the population of Kenta and other African nations unvaccinated and vulnerable to infection without any prior immune memory, the chances of serious disease are higher and it may be that international efforts will need to focus on the new antiviral drugs that have been developed to help combat the disease.
According to the World Health Association, as of March 18th a total of 10.93 billion vaccines had been administered across the globe. However, with some people in developed countries having had as many as four jabs, that amounts to only 57 people per 100 globally who are fully vaccinated.
In Africa this drops to just 12.35 per cent, with Kenya faring slightly better at 14.7 per cent. The rate is below one per cent in countries such as Chad and Burundi.
The Complexities Of Health Influencer Marketing
Date Posted: Tuesday April 5, 2022
Whilst the overall world of marketing has seen an increase in the use of influencers, the situation is more complex for life science marketing, particularly in the fields of health, beauty and fitness, where there is a wide range of influencers and businesses working with them.
However, whilst an influencer producing sponsored content for other fields such as technology, entertainment and other similar fields has its own issue, an influencer posting about healthcare can have potentially major ramifications for the health of their followers.
This can have legal implications as well, as a recent legal case against a social media influencer accused of misleading people with eating disorders with nutrition and fitness plans starkly shows.
The issue with influencer marketing is that because the concept is relatively new compared to other forms of advertising, which means that the focus of organisations such as the Advertising Standards Agency has been focused more on disclosure and labelling.
However, some precedents have already been set which track with the Blue Guide presented by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Specifically, rule 12.18 in the ASA code (or rule 5.7 in the MHRA Blue Guide) states that any advertising of a medicine to the general public should not contain recommendations by scientists, healthcare professionals or celebrities to avoid encouraging people to take products they do not need.
This became an important factor in the case against Sanofi UK and influencer This Mama Life in 2019 when the latter advertised a sleeping aid on her Instagram account and ruled that due to her following she was a celebrity for the purpose of the code.
Exactly where the line is drawn can be vague sometimes, especially when it comes to beauty and fitness supplements that in some cases count as either medicines or medical devices.
Ultimately, as with all other forms of marketing, the best way to market products is with evidence and data which supports the claims that have been made, ensuring that you can use influencers to endorse your product, and making sure they are aware of what they can and cannot say.
Appeal To Expand Newcastle Life Sciences Centre
Date Posted: Thursday March 24, 2022
The dominance of London, Oxford and Cambridge in the life sciences field is increasingly being challenged, with a new bid being made this week to boost Newcastle’s status as a hub for this field.
As Business Live reports, Invest Newcastle is taking a delegation to the MIPIM property conference in Cannes to call for further investment to build on the success of the Biosphere at Newcastle Helix.
The Biosphere was launched in 2019 with public funding from Newcastle City Council, adding to the city’s existing Life Centre and providing additional laboratory facilities for the life sciences sector. It is already home to 25 life sciences firms, but could expand further with private sector cash.
Invest Newcastle director Jen Hartley has already said there is a need for new buildings at Newcastle Helix to enable existing firms located there to expand and others to come in.
She explained that the delegation will spend its time at MIPIM “talking with influential investment and real estate delegates from across the world about opportunities that exist in Newcastle and at the same continuing to promote the wider region and its strengths”.
Ms Hartley added that the biosphere has not just provided jobs, but helped keep graduates in the Newcastle area and grown the area’s reputation for life science research, concluding: “Securing private investment will be critical to the growth of the sector.”
Chair of the North East Local Employment Partnership Andrew Moffatt said the life sciences sector is a “major growth area for our economy” and the plan is to use the North East Health, Life Sciences and Medicines Manufacturing Strategy to double both the number of job and businesses the sector provides for the region by 2030.
Should the mission succeed, the life science marketing sector may find it is increasingly aiming to provide equipment for labs based in the north east and away from the traditional centres further south.
It’s not just on Tyneside that the Oxford-Cambridge-London ‘golden triangle’ is being challenged by other regions.
Speaking to Insider Media’s Midlands Health Sector Investment Opportunities online forum, Dr Kath Mackay, director of life sciences at Bruntwood SciTech said the region has a “wealth of opportunities” to offer.
She added: “It’s about telling that story right and being very ambitious about how we see the sector developing in the region.”
Dr Mackay highlighted the £210 million Birmingham Health Innovation Campus Bruntwood SciTech is developing jointly with the University of Birmingham. A ten-year masterplan will see a ten acre campus being developed with 700,000 sq ft of laboratory, office and storage space, as well as providing 10,000 jobs.
“We’re really excited to bring a significant life science campus next to the University of Birmingham and Queen Elizabeth Hospital,” said Dr Mackay.
She is not alone in her optimism about the Midlands. Dr Catherine Beech, chief executive of Exonate, noted that the old pattern of funding only being available in the ‘golden triangle’ is obsolete and the time will come when firms “wouldn’t dream of having their head office in Cambridge instead of Nottingham or Birmingham.”
At present, Exonate does have its main offices in Cambridge. But its labs are in Nottingham and it seems that as the life sciences sector grows and government levelling up policies aim to spread opportunity, its increasing geographical diversification looks assured.
UK And Switzerland Push For Horizon Access
Date Posted: Saturday March 5, 2022
Major education groups, including Universities UK International, EPFL, ETH Zurich, and others, have called for an ‘open and collaborative research and innovation landscape’, as the UK’s participation in the Horizon Europe programme hangs in the balance.
The ‘Stick to Science’ initiative is urging for collaboration in science to take priority before politics, to create a research and innovation (R&I) landscape that is free from political barriers.
It comes as the participation of non-EU members UK and Switzerland in the Horizon Europe R&I looks uncertain. City AM reports that the UK is drawing up plans to spend £6 billion over the next three years on a new science fund, should the EU continue to block entry to the European research programme.
Initially, the EU had agreed to let the UK join the seven-year €95 billion (£80.4bn) programme post-Brexit, but then blocked entry following rows over Northern Ireland.
In a Stick to Science launch press conference, the president of the ETH Board, Michael Hengartner, said: “In a sense, therefore, this is a call to all political leaders in Switzerland, in the UK and Brussels, in all EU member states. Please help us work better together. Please make sure that science can act as a bridge.”
Ludovic Thilly, the chair of the executive board at Coimbra Group, an association that represents over 40 universities across Europe stressed that scientific cooperation cannot be “held hostage to bilateral politics”.
He said that a decade of cooperation with British and Swiss partners could be jeopardised, and a time when global challenges have never needed so much international cooperation.
According to The Pie News, it has been estimated that allowing the UK and Switzerland entry to Horizon Europe will add another €18 billion to the programme.
Vivienne Stern, the director of UUKi, said that the UK feels like it is running out of time to finalise an association with Horizon Europe.
“Throughout the Brexit process we, and colleagues from all over Europe, argued that it was in our common interest to be part of this programme,” she said.
The Stick to Science campaign takes the form of an online petition that requests the European Council, Parliament, Commission, and EU member states recognise that ‘advancement in R&I is best achieved when all actors in science and innovation work together across geographic boundaries’.
The petition urged the EU to rapidly reach association agreements so that the UK and Switzerland can begin to contribute scientifically and financially.
Paul Boyle from Universities UK said that it would be a great disadvantage to the other European countries and they will be unable to collaborate in the same way, meaning significant financial costs.
“The UK and Switzerland obviously contribute quite a lot into the Central Court and that will be reduced, which means they will be less science being conducted under these programmes,” he explained.
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The Truth Behind Common Medical Myths
Date Posted: Thursday February 24, 2022
One of the most important concepts in life science marketing is clarity. For a new medicine or piece of MedTech to be successful, the concept must be clearly, concisely and accurately explained as well as how it can benefit patients.
This is important because if your evidence is unclear it can give a mistaken or misleading impression of what a particular discovery can do, leading to concerns, controversies and hesitancies which are unnecessary and potentially dangerous.
Here are some examples of common medical myths and the truth behind them.
We Do Not Use Just Ten Per Cent Of Our Brains
A theory misattributed to Albert Einstein amongst many other popular scientists, the idea that the vast majority of our brain matter remains unused and thus could be activated if we only knew how is in defiance of brain mapping and other tools which highlight that all of our brain matter is used nearly all the time.
The exact origin of the myth is unknown, although it was popularised by Lowell Thomas in the forward to the highly popular self-help book How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie, attributed to Harvard psychologist William James.
Mr James did not say this, instead noting when discussing child prodigy William Sidis that people rarely meet their full mental potential, which was then misinterpreted by the 1920s self-help movement.
Reading In The Dark And Looking At Screens For A Long Time Can Destroy Your Eyesight
The idea of square eyes and blurred vision after sessions of reading in suboptimal conditions can create the impression of damaged eyesight, but in both cases these symptoms are temporary and a connection has not been found between the condition and the two situations.
People Should Drink Eight Glasses Of Water A Day
Hydration is important to avoid the risk of dehydration, but the eight by eight rule (eight eight-ounce glasses of water per day, or two litres) is a myth with a rather convoluted history.
The earliest mention of a figure close to eight glasses was the US National Research Council’s Food and Nutrition Board, which claimed that people should take in 2.5 litres of water per day, but also notes that most foods, especially fruit and vegetables contain water themselves.
In general, as long as you do not feel thirsty, you are drinking enough water.
Dundee Councillors Urged To Back Life Sciences Innovation District
Date Posted: Monday February 14, 2022
Councillors in Dundee have been urged to back plans for a life science innovation district in the region that could bring investment and jobs.
According to a press release, it is hoped that the proposed life science innovation district could be centred at the current Dundee Technopole site, between Hawkhill and Blackness Road, and adjacent to the University of Dundee.
Other potential sites include land at the Medipark at Ninewells Hospital, public and privately-owned land at the city’s Technology Park and James Hutton Institute.
Innovation districts are defined zones in cities where public, private and academic partners work together to attract entrepreneurs, start-ups and business incubators.
Councillors were asked to agree to start discussing marketing, development, and governance arrangements with the University of Dundee, Scottish Enterprise, and private sector landowners, to assist and transform under-developed areas and grow key industry sectors.
Convener of Dundee City Council’s city development committee Mark Flynn said: “Life sciences is one of the most important high-value growth sectors for the greater Dundee area and currently employs more than 1,700 people.”
Flynn added that the region has an internationally recognised reputation for excellence and attracting investment into new companies, and the city council wants to build on this by exploring the creation of an innovation hub with its partners.
“A facility like that could offer greater opportunities for collaboration and economies of scale to accelerate commercialisation of research, attract new private sector investment into life sciences and create jobs.”
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WHO Backs Arthritis Drugs In Covid Fight
Date Posted: Friday February 4, 2022
The Word Health Organisation (WHO) has given its backing to the use of some anti-arthritis drugs in the treatment of Covid-19.
It has backed Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor Baricitinib and interleukin-6 (IL-6) inhibitors for use after medical research found they were effective in helping patients battle severe disease. However, its studies established that two other JAK drugs, Ruxolitinib and Tofacitinib, were ineffective. In addition, the use of Tofacitinib produced significant side-effects.
The drugs are normally used to block enzymes and treat rheumatoid arthritis. The WHO studies revealed Baricitinib and IL-6 reduce the need for ventilation among seriously ill patients while providing no serious side effects.
Study co-author Dr Michael Jacobs at University College London said: “The drug baricitinib is strongly recommended for patients with severe or critical covid-19 in combination with corticosteroids.”
He added: “Their strong recommendation is based on moderate certainty evidence that it improves survival and reduces the need for ventilation, with no observed increase in adverse effects.”
Fellow author Dr Leticia Kawano-Dourado noted that while vaccination has helped greatly reduce the numbers of people needing hospital treatment, it “remains of interest” to carry on researching therapies for treating Covid among very sick patients, due to the possibility that further mutations may follow Omicron and evade vaccine protection.
The news comes as the Omicron variant continues to sweep around the world, although the wave swiftly peaked in South Africa, where it was first found, and appears to have now done so in the UK as cases have fallen consistently since almost 245,000 cases were recorded on January 4th.
While the lower severity of the strain and the benefits of vaccines have helped keep hospital admission levels well below previous levels in European countries, the United States and Canada are currently experiencing their highest numbers of hospitalisations following a post-Christmas surge in numbers.
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New Medical Device For Neurodegenerative Disease Set For Launch
Date Posted: Saturday January 22, 2022
A new medical device that can be used to aid the diagnosis of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s is set for a worldwide commercialisation drive, reports. Two groups, Shanghai Accurature Diagnostics and ClearSky, have entered into an agreement to develop and promote the PD-Monitor, with a focus on Asian markets.
Professor Stephen Smith, founder of ClearSky, said: “As a company focused on research and development (R&D), we’re delighted to enter into a commercial agreement with Shanghai Accurature Diagnostics to tackle a huge market such as China.”
He added: “At the same time the arrangement enables us to focus on continuous product development work, from user interface improvement of our existing products to covering exciting new territories, such as dementia.”
Parkinson’s can be a difficult disease to diagnose by clinical assessment, and the PD-Monitor allows for more accurate diagnosis and monitoring of the condition. It consists of a device fitted to the finger or thumb, which contains sensors that can transmit reading to a portable computer. The data is then analysed by specialist software.
Jackie Ho, CEO and founder of Shanghai Accurature Diagnostics, added: “Accurature has the vision to become the leader in China for the provision of novel diagnostic tools and services for healthcare professionals, helping them to make better decisions when it comes to medication for their patients.”
is a progressive neurological condition which affects about 145,000 people in the UK alone. In larger countries with aging populations such as China, it is thought that up to half the world’s cases will develop there by 2030.
At the simplest level, it’s caused by a lack of dopamine, which allows the brain to co-ordinate movement. The body is unable to produce it, because the necessary nerve cells have died. The condition develops gradually, and early signs may be missed. There are a range of symptoms, and each person can be affected in different ways.
According to the charity Parkinson’s UK, the current tests available include:
- magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scanning
- dopamine transporter chemical scan, known as a Dat Spect Scan, DaTSCAN or FP-CIT scan
- metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG) scan of your heart
- lumbar puncture – a simple procedure to test the spinal fluid that surrounds the brain
- electrical recording (EMG) of the urethral or anal sphincter – to check the health of the muscles and the nerves that control them
- special recordings of your pulse and blood pressure, known as autonomic function tests (AFTs)
The main symptoms of Parkinson’s include tremor, most often in the hands, legs, or voice. They can happen when the patient is relaxed, or moving around. Rigidity of the muscles is another main sign of the condition, which may be apparent in stiffness, cramps, difficulty turning over in bed, or trouble writing or fastening buttons.
Although as yet there is no cure, there are a range of drug treatments and therapies which can ease the symptoms and delay the progress of the disease.
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Lateral Flow Test Demand May Surge Amid New Rules For Double Jabbed
Date Posted: Wednesday January 12, 2022
People who have had two coronavirus vaccine jabs will now need to take lateral flow tests for up to seven successive days if they are identified as contacts of those who have tested positive for the virus, under new government rules.
The measure changes the previous step of making those with two jabs exempt from having to take any action if they were a close contact of a positive case, following last summer’s ‘pingdemic’ caused by the Delta wave.
Ministers have imposed the new rules as the Omnicron variant spreads rapidly across the UK, especially in London, where it now accounts for a third of cases. A key reason for this is that the variant has been identified as having significant capacity to infect even those with two jabs, even though vaccination is still expected to provide substantial protection against existing disease.
Because of this, demand for lateral flow tests may surge as the Omicron wave spreads, providing life science marketing opportunities for producers.
Although positive tests could disrupt the Christmas plans for many people, others may be reassured that the tests are giving them the all-clear to spend the festive season with their loved ones in the knowledge they will not pass the virus onto them.
The government said the measure “aims to reduce pressures on people’s everyday lives by replacing the requirement for Omicron contacts to isolate for ten days”.
Unvaccinated people do not have the option of taking these tests, and must isolate for ten days whether they have tested negative or not.
The spread of Omicron has also seen the government focus heavily on booster jabs, with new data indicating that while two jabs offers little protection against Omicron, three gives 75 per cent protection against symptomatic disease.
Over 23 million people have now had a booster, with current rates of third jabs running at over 500,000 a day.
The Golden Rules For Medication Advertisements
Date Posted: Monday January 10, 2022
One of the largest parts of life science marketing, especially when it comes to business-to-consumer marketing takes the form of advertising products.
As would be rightfully expected, there are strict rules and guidances that surround what you can and cannot say when advertising over the counter medicines to the public, governed not only by the Advertising Standards Agency but also the law.
Here are some of the most important rules to follow when making medication marketing materials.
Be Clear In Communications
A golden rule in all science communication is to be as clear as possible when talking about healthcare, particularly in the case of common conditions.
The ASA code for non-broadcast advertising materials, specifically in section 12.4, requires that marketing not use “unfamiliar scientific words” to describe common conditions.
For example, this could include using the term ‘acute viral nasopharyngitis’ instead of the common cold, or dihydrogen monoxide to describe water.
This is exceptionally important, as being unclear or relying on jargon can cause unnecessary confusion and in some cases disproportionate concern.
Do Not Advertise Prescription Medication
In the United States, a common statement in advertising is “talk to your doctor” in connection to prescription medication. In fact, when Viagra was first launched as a prescription-only medication, it had a major marketing push that would be illegal in the UK.
Section 12.12 of the ASA Code is very clear that treatments and medicines that are only available on prescription cannot be advertised to the public.
Do Not Make Promises You Cannot Keep
One of the most dangerous words you can write in marketing communications is the word ‘guarantee’. Section 12.19 of the Code specifically forbids writing about guaranteed positive effects, safety or side effects, simply because research does not work this way.
There is always the potential, however slight, for a medical product to have a side effect or not work for a certain person because everyone is different, and even large-scale clinical trials cannot provide
Prince Charles Opens £1bn Life Science Centre
Date Posted: Friday December 31, 2021
Life science research and development (R&D) in the UK has been given a significant boost after Prince Charles opened a new £1 billion facility.
AstraZeneca is behind the huge centre, which will accommodate 2,200 research scientists when in full operation, and include artificial-intelligence driven technology, advanced robotics, and high-throughput screening.
Pascal Soriot, chief executive officer at AstraZeneca, said the facility has been created to “drive the next wave of scientific innovation”.
“Our new Discovery Centre in Cambridge raises the bar for sustainable R&D and global collaboration across our industry. It will allow us to break new boundaries in the understanding of disease biology, bring life-changing medicines to patients and power the next stage of our company’s growth,” Mr Soriot stated.
DISC will contribute to AstraZeneca’s goal to discover and develop next generation therapeutics – such as nucleotide-based, gene-editing and cell therapies – and specialise in precision medicines.
This is one of three AstraZeneca R&D centres, with one in Gaithersburg, Maryland, in the US, and another in Gothenburg in Sweden. Thanks to its integrated teams and fast decision-making, it has created one of the most productive life sciences pipelines.
As a result of this, more than 1,000 manuscripts were published last year, including 138 high impact peer-review journals – a significant increase from the one produced in 2010.
It has clearly invested heavily in its life science sector over the last decade, spending more than $7 billion (£5.25 billion) a year in R&D.
AstraZeneca hopes the new facility, which is located within the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, will increase its leading levels of productivity even further.
Cambridge was a strategic choice for the centre, as the life science cluster in the city is the most productive in Europe. There are over 400 businesses and 20,000 employees working in the sector there, and it has produced more patents than anywhere else in the UK.
Prince Charles was given a tour of the new facility by the chief executive and chairman Leif Johansson, as well as other senior leaders.
The building itself has been designed with 174 boreholes for natural geothermal energy, four ‘hybrid cooling towers’, and a ground source heat pump. These have been added to reduce its output, saving enough energy to provide power to 2,500 homes.
AstraZeneca’s new building meets the world’s highest environmental standards, and has a ‘saw tooth’ roof design, providing as much natural daylight as possible, thereby reducing the need for electricity.
This will help the bio-pharmaceutical company meet its Ambition Zero Carbon program to produce zero carbon emissions from its operations by 2025 and to be carbon negative just five years later.
More than 170 countries across the world have received the inoculation, which was created by AstraZeneca in collaboration with Oxford University, and 175 million doses have been given to lower- and lower-middle-income nations.
Mr Soriot stated the jab has resulted in: “Our vaccine has played a key role in tackling the biggest public health emergency of our lifetime: an estimated million lives saved, 50 million infections prevented, two billion doses delivered.”
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New £50m Building For Oxford Vaccine Hub
Date Posted: Friday December 17, 2021
A donation of £50 million will see the creation of a new Oxford University building, which will become home to the world-leading Jenner Institute team, who were behind the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine.
BBC News reports that the donation, which has come from Serum Life Sciences Ltd, will be Oxford University’s largest-ever gift for vaccines research. Other leading Oxford teams – such as those developing a malaria vaccine – will also eventually move into the new building, which will be named the Poonawalla Vaccines Research Building.
Serum Life Sciences is wholly-owned by the billionaire Poonawalla family, the owners of the Serum Institute of India, who have dedicated their life’s work to the development, manufacture and supply of affordable vaccines to low- and middle-income countries.
The Poonawalla Vaccines Research Building will share infrastructure and support facilities for scientific research and academic teaching with the recently announced Oxford University Pandemic Sciences Centre.
Combined, they will form a unique hub that aims to contribute to global pandemic preparedness and responsiveness.
The new building will become the new headquarters and main laboratory space of the Jenner Institute, the world-leading academic vaccine institute named after Edward Jenner, the father of vaccination.
Natasha Poonawalla, the chairperson of Serum Life Sciences, said: “Vaccines save lives, and the development of vaccines has been the lifelong focus of the Poonawalla family. We are committed to developing and supplying vaccines to people who need them most.”
She added that in order to make it happen, the organisation has built many scientific collaborations with the world’s leading research institutes, but the donation to build the new life sciences hub will help take the research to the next level.
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Top Tips For Explaining Life Science Breakthroughs To A General Audience
Date Posted: Thursday December 16, 2021
Scientific research is exceptionally complex, and deals with specialist concepts that are difficult for even scientists outside of a specific discipline to understand, let alone the public at large.
Despite this, explaining scientific breakthroughs and life science marketing is of vital importance, and ensuring the implications and limitations of a discovery are broken down for a general audience is important to avoid misinterpretation.
One need only look at Ben Goldacre’s book Bad Science to find just a few examples of what happens when reporting and disclosing scientific news is left to people who do not have a clear understanding or ability to interpret the findings.
With that said, it is possible and highly beneficial to explain breakthroughs to people outside of science, and here are some top tips to help this happen.
Start With The Summery
From a journalistic, marketing and press standpoint, many research papers are written in the wrong order, in that they start with complex details that, when devoid of context, are not easily understood and are prone to misinterpetation.
A great model to use is the inverted pyramid, or the news pyramid, where the most important parts of a story are explained first to give context for the later parts that come at the end.
Essentially, this is putting the conclusion or the answer first and then building up to how the conclusion was reached later.
Clarify Any Jargon Or Abbreviations
One of the biggest issues in scientific writing is that a concept in science that uses a certain term often can be conflated by a more general definition of the term.
This is very far reaching and a prime source of misinterpretations.
For example, even the concept of a scientific theory is confused, as whilst most scientists understand that every piece of scientific knowledge is a theory justified with evidence, non-academic circles use the term as a synonym for “educated guess” or “idea”.
Rely On Imagery
A general audience is often unable to see the meaning of particular results, so it is up to a paper writer to provide examples, descriptive analogies and metaphors.
For example, people may not understand the implication of wind speed, but they would understand the difference between a barely perceptible breeze and a strong gust.
Top Tips For Marketing Healthcare Innovations
Date Posted: Wednesday December 8, 2021
Healthcare, pharmaceuticals, MedTech and life sciences marketing is a difficult field, as due to the nature of the products for sale, the priorities for marketing teams are in many cases considerably different from marketing other products.
With organisations such as the Advertising Standards Agency having very specific rules about what you can and cannot write in advertising material about a product, as well as different medical innovations having very different audiences, here are some top tips when marketing healthcare products.
If your product is a medical device as defined in the law as any device that is used for:
- diagnosing, preventing, treating, monitoring or lessening the effect of a disease or injury,
- investigating, replacing or modifying part of the anatomy, or a bodily system,
- controlling conception.
You need to follow the MHRA’s guidelines to ensure they are safe and suited for the purpose they were designed for, such as providing adequate clinical data from trials and investigations.
Know Your Audience
Are you planning on selling your product, technology or service to individual patients or doctors?
Much like how selling to a business is different to selling to an end-user, selling your product to doctors will involve a different process than creating a product that patients can pick up at a pharmacy.
Selling to doctors involves personal communication, meetings and pitching your technology, responding effectively to feedback, whilst selling to consumers is about emphasising what your product does and how it can help people in their everyday lives.
Use A Multifaceted Approach
There are a lot of marketing tools out there that can get your product attention, such as social media, print media in relevant publications, video, radio and television advertising, and direct marketing.
Tailor your messaging to the strengths of each media you opt for and consider the reach and demographics your product is aimed for.
For example, given that many social media platforms have younger demographics, if you have a product intended to help people struggling with medical conditions that primarily emerge later in life, it may not be financially prudent to invest heavily in advertising on certain platforms.
Government Pledges £5bn For UK Health R&D
Date Posted: Monday November 29, 2021
The Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced his latest Budget on Wednesday 27 October and announced that the treasury has committed to spending £5 billion on health-related research and development before 2025.
The funding forms part of a pledge to raise spending on R&D in the UK to £22 billion a year, but the Chancellor also announced during his Budget presentation that he will be moving the goalposts on his target, pushing it back by two years to 2026/27.
The funding has been broadly welcomed by industry groups, although the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) expressed concerns about how the money will be spent, according to Pharmaphorum.
“Increasing health-specific research to £5 billion is a positive signal that the government remains committed to this agenda, despite the delay in when we will reach £22 billion a year of public investment in R&D,” said an ABPI spokesperson.
They added that there is still clarity needed on how the government plans to fund institutions such as the MHRA and NICE, but the measures to boost investment in life sciences and research in the UK announced in the Chancellor’s Budget would be well received by the APBI’s members as they look towards R&D investments in the medicines and vaccines of the future.
The ABPI also welcomed the announcement by the Chancellor that R&D tax reliefs would be reformed to ‘support modern research methods’, which was an opinion shared by the UK’s BioIndustry Association (BIA).
CEO Steve Bates OBE said: “Thanks to the UK’s life sciences sector, which has developed essential COVID-19 vaccines, diagnostics and medicines that have enabled the re-opening of our economy, the Chancellor was able to make important spending commitments in this Budget, which we welcome.”
Bates added that modernising R&D tax reliefs to include data and cloud computing is necessary for life sciences companies to be able to discover and develop life-changing therapies for patients.
The £5 billion commitment does contain funds earmarked for specific uses, such as £95 million for the Office for Life Sciences to help deliver the government’s Life Sciences Vision, and funds to launch Boris Johnson’s healthcare missions in cancer, obesity, and mental health, as well as addressing the systematic barriers to the access and uptake of state-of-the-art innovations in the NHS.
The manufacture of medicines, diagnostics, and vaccines will receive £354 million for research into health resilience, while also creating new roles within the UK life sciences sector.
It was also announced that £2.1 billion is to be spent on IT upgrades and digital health technology to support the ‘innovative use of digital technology so hospitals and other care organisations are as connected and efficient as possible’.
This funding is part of a wider £5.9 billion capital investment in the UK’s National Health Service to help clear the record backlog of patients who are waiting for treatment.
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World Health Organisation Gives Posthumous Award To Henrietta Lacks
Date Posted: Thursday November 11, 2021
One of the most important people to modern medicine and the source of the first “immortal” cell line that has been a vital part of medicine, pharmaceutical research and life science marketing ever since has been given a posthumous award in honour of her contribution to medical history.
The award was bestowed upon Henrietta Lacks, who unwittingly became one of the most important people in the modern history of medication when she sought treatment for cervical cancer in 1951.
Researchers, without her knowledge or consent and defying the Common Rule of informed consent, took biopsies from her, which led to the HeLa cell line, a cloned cell line that continues to be used to this day.
The number of breakthroughs Mrs Lacks enabled is almost too many to count, but includes breakthroughs in diagnosis and treatments for human papillomavirus (HPV), the development of a vaccine for polio, multiple drugs used to treat various cancers and HIV, and research into Covid-19.
The WHO Director-General’s Award attempts to right the historic wrongs that were caused to Mrs Lacks and her legacy, particularly the way the global scientific community attempted to hide the real story behind Mrs Lacks and the cell line.
The award was given to Lawrence Lacks Sr, Mrs Lacks’ son and one of the last people in her family to know her personally. Mr Lacks, 87, received the award surrounded by other family members, which included many of Mrs Lacks’ grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
He said that the family was moved to receive the award, and are thankful that her contributions to society are finally being honoured given the impact she has had on the world in the 70 years since her death.
Study Reveals Development Of First Living Medicine To Fight Antibiotic Resistance
Date Posted: Friday November 5, 2021
A “living medicine” designed to treat antibiotic-resistant bacteria has been created to help battle against a growing number of superbugs.
The study was published in Molecular Systems Biology, and its findings were claimed by its researchers to be the first step for developing medicines to fight infections found in medical implants.
The aim is to tackle biofilms, colonies of bacteria that coalesce on a surface and can become resistant to antibiotics by protecting the bacteria in the centre of the film.
To tackle this, the Barcelona-based team modified a common strain of bacteria to produce two specific enzymes. One of these dissolves biofilms and the second works to attack the cell walls of bacteria, allowing other immune responses to work more effectively.
Having tested the system on infected catheters in mice, their next step is to use the modified system to treat breathing tubes and stop the risk of dangerous infections in repository systems that arise as a result.
The principle behind the use of these treatments has existed since 2015, but the expense and potential danger of administering them through currently established meant that their use was far more limited than it should have been.
By having a living medicine battle the infection, it reduces both costs and negative side effects, particularly once the logistical aspects such as production, manufacturing and life science marketing have been completed.
The next step is to ensure that the bacteria can be produced at the scale necessary to make it an effective treatment, with a proposed start date for clinical trials in 2023.
Research Team Create All-In-One Diagnostic Patch
Date Posted: Friday October 29, 2021
A team based at the University of California, San Diego has created a precision diagnostic patch that combines several biological and biometric sensors together for the very first time.
The revolutionary skin patch, which was reported on in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering, allows for a single patch the size of a nicotine patch that uses both ultrasonic sensors and electrochemical sensors.
The former are used to measure heart rate and blood pressure, whilst the latter measures multiple biomarkers, such as cholesterol levels, glucose, alcohol, blood cell counts and lactate counts.
Part of the reason this has never been done before, and indeed an issue with a lot of multipurpose diagnostic equipment is cross-talk between the various sensors, where one sensor accidentally records information from another sensor.
This was the fundamental problem the Theranos blood-testing machine could never solve, but in this case, the team replaced the liquid ultrasound gel they had been using with a solid ultrasound gel, as well as a centimetre of space between the sensors.
As well as this, the team factored in the issue with natural bending and flexing the patch would go through by using an industrial solvent called toluene and glueing all of the sensors onto a plastic substrate, which stopped the flexing from affecting the information recorded.
In testing, with people wearing the patches on their neck, the patch produced measurements that matched those produced by currently-used monitoring devices such as a blood pressure cuff, glucometer and breathalyser.
Currently, there are issues with signal resolution, and the necessary space to avoid cross-talk has led to the patch being quite thick and cumbersome. However, it has proved the principle of all-in-one diagnostics and could have a major effect on telehealth and life science marketing.
The Biggest Disruptive Innovations In Life Science History
Date Posted: Thursday October 21, 2021
The world of life sciences is one that highly prioritises fast-moving innovation and disruption to the existing way of doing things.
To a degree, this desire for disruption is at the centre of medicine, as new medicines, medical devices and approaches serve to make previous approaches obsolete, and life science marketing is on hand to show the masses why this new approach changes everything.
This is why, for example, leeches are not used in medicine outside of very specific surgical procedures (such as after tissue grafts). Medical innovations and changes in our knowledge base have made the concept of leeching and bloodletting obsolete.
With this in mind, here are some of the biggest disruptive innovations that changed the face of life sciences.
Minimally Invasive Surgery
Less an individual innovation and more an overall approach to surgical treatment, the development of arthroscopic and laparoscopic surgical techniques helped to completely change how many medical conditions are treated.
In the past, open surgery was the norm but since the early 2000s, its use has become far more limited, given that scarring is minimal, recovery times are faster and there is a reduced risk of complications with minimally invasive surgery.
Open surgery is still used for many types of neurosurgery, but the focus of medical professionals is to use the least invasive option wherever it is available.
Cardiac arrhythmia is where the heart beats too quickly or too slowly, which can cause heart palpitations, lightheadedness, strokes, heart failure and even sudden death in some cases.
Before the development of electronic devices that could help to manage a heart rate, people with an irregular heartbeat lived in pain and fear, but the development of the pacemaker from its initial discovery in 1889 until its first use in 1958 has kept people alive for years, if not decades more.
In fact, the very first patient to receive a pacemaker, Arne Larsson lived to the age of 86, outliving the inventor and surgeon who provided him with that change.
Smallpox used to be a very common, highly infectious and highly fatal disease, with a mortality rate of up to 35 per cent.
However, vaccination, a more controlled form of a variolation tradition that had been used for hundreds of years, found that if a person was infected with a less harmful part of a virus or bacterium, the body could resist future attempts at infection.
This concept would become widespread and lead to the worldwide eradication of the disease, with the final known fatal case occurring in 1978.
The Human Genome Project
One of the most ambitious projects in scientific history, the Human Genome Project was a worldwide attempt to create a complete genetic blueprint for human beings.
This was achieved by determining the order of DNA bases, making a map that showed the locations for particular genetic information, and creating linkage maps to track inherited traits.
This knowledge, more than most, transformed modern life sciences as we know it, allowing for the study and treatment of rare diseases, improve diagnostic procedures and help to predict and stop diseases before they progress.
What Is The Hippocratic Oath?
Date Posted: Monday October 18, 2021
One of the core principles of the entire medical world, from practising doctors to pharmaceutical manufacturers to life sciences marketing dates back to the earliest days of structured medicine.
The Hippocratic Oath, named after the Greek Doctor Hippocrates of Kos who was believed for a long time to have written it, is the earliest known statement of medical ethics, and whilst it has been since superseded by more formal ethics boards, establishes principles that are still followed today.
It was originally written at some point between 500BC and 200BC, although the first partial fragments of the text date back to 275AD and the oldest full version to the 11th Century.
Interestingly, the line most commonly associated with the Oath, “primum non nocere” (“first, do no harm”), does not appear in the original oath, although very similar lines are in the original text, such as “I will abstain from all intentional wrongdoing and harm”.
This aspect is seen to be the first core rule of medicine that underpins the behaviour of all doctors and medical practice. Medical intervention can in some cases be dangerous and risky for a patient, and it is better to avoid intervening in cases where it can do more harm than good.
The oath’s most commonly cited version provides the example of not providing poisons to people when asked to do so or to use a knife to help people suffering from kidney stones, given the risks involved in primitive surgery.
As well as this, the original oath bearer must hold their teacher equal to their parents, share their money when they are in need and teach medicine to their family if they want to learn it for free, and teach only their family, their teacher’s family and other medical students who have taken the Oath.
Beyond this, the Oath also demands equality of treatment. They must not harm anyone, regardless of gender or status, and must not divulge the secrets of anything they see or hear whilst practising medicine.
These core principles are still felt in the world of medical ethics today and shaped the Declaration of Geneva used by many doctors to this day.
Blackstone’s BioMed Realty To Double UK Life Sciences Portfolio
Date Posted: Thursday October 14, 2021
BioMed Realty, a Blackstone portfolio company has plans to invest £850 million to effectively double its UK portfolio, it has been announced.
Business Wire reports that BioMed Realty has purchased the 15-acre Cambridge International Technology Park (CITP) site from Abstract Securities, as well as a 27-acre plot at Granta Park from The Welding Institute.
The company has said that the two sites will be used to develop 800,000 sq ft of new laboratory space, which will double its current life sciences real estate in Cambridge.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “This investment is hugely welcome news for Cambridge and the UK as a whole. The city was home to some of the country’s greatest scientific discoveries and I’m confident that the support of Blackstone’s BioMed Realty will mean there are many more to come.”
He said that the jobs created by the investment are just what the UK want to see more of – high-skilled and future-facing, and reflecting on what the UK does best.
Bill Kane, the president of the east coast and UK market at BioMed Realty, said that state-of-the-art life science facilities are a crucial component to the speed at which life science research is accelerating.
“These new developments at CITP and Granta Park will provide much-needed life science space for existing and new companies, further advancing Cambridge as a global home for research while supporting the local economy.”
James Seppala, the head of real estate in Europe at Blackstone, a global investment company, said that life sciences are one of the company’s highest conviction investment themes, and together with BioMed, the firm is committed to growing this area of investment in the long term by providing the high-quality space needed to bring life-saving products to market.
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Government’s Treasury Connect Supports Life Sciences
Date Posted: Tuesday October 12, 2021
Chancellor Rishi Sunak recently spoke at the launch of Treasury Connect, an event intended to bring together fast-growing tech businesses with investors and politicians to spur innovation in areas such as fintech and life sciences.
Speaking at the launch conference, Sunak announced that he gave his blessing to a multibillion-pound trend that has seen foreign private equity firms snap up British businesses, saying this was “good news for the economy.”
He went on to say: “We’ve always been an economy that benefits from investment in it. I would view it as a sign of confidence in the UK. It’s good news for our economy.”
The Treasury Connect conference, held in East London, was the first of its kind, with Sunak bringing together the CEOs of the UK’s biggest investors and tech firms, including Funding Circle and Monzo, with Sunak leading four sessions on access to finance, Fintech, talent, and life sciences. Sunak spoke ahead of the Treasury Connect conference:
“I am delighted to bring some of our biggest tech firms and investors together today to celebrate UK technology and expertise at Treasury Connect,” he said. “These firms have huge economic potential and play a critical role in our future prosperity – creating high-skilled jobs and boosting the economy as part of our Plan for Jobs.”
Sunak went on to say: “Investing in these companies has the potential to accelerate innovations that will transform UK industry, develop new medicines and strengthen our position as a science superpower.”
Morrisons, which is the fourth-largest supermarket in the UK, is getting closer to a £7billion takeover by US private equity group, Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, and would be joining a list of household names that have already been taken over by private equity firms since the start of the pandemic in 2020. ASDA has already been taken over by private equity, alongside roadside assistance company AA.
At the conference, Sunak said the government was creating “the conditions for the UK to host tech businesses capable of rivalling Silicon Valley giants.”
In May 2020, the Government stood behind the sector by launching the Future Fund, which has so far supported nearly 1,200 firms in digital tech and life sciences, with a £1billion investment to date. Future Fund’s aim is to ensure that investment keeps flowing to the UK’s most innovative businesses, giving taxpayers equity in top-performing start-ups.
The latest date, released by the British Business Bank, shows the scheme is working, with some of these early investments now turned into stakes in high-growth firms, including healthcare company Cipher Surgical Limited, who developed keyhole surgery products, and Ripple Energy, a firm that allows customers to own shares of a wind farm.
“The Future Fund helped keep investment flowing to high-growth UK businesses during the pandemic,” said Catherine Lewis La Torre, the CEO of British Business Bank.
“Over £1billion of convertible loans were issued to more than 1,000 firms, and over 150 companies have already seen this funding convert to equity,” she continued. “The continued success of companies, such as those supported by the Future Fund, will be essential in ensuring the UK retains its world leading position in science, innovation and technology.”
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How Are New Medicines Developed?
Date Posted: Thursday September 16, 2021
A core part of life science marketing is about signposting new products, medical technology and pharmaceuticals to ensure that people who need or would benefit from new medicines have access to them as soon as possible.
The process of developing a new medicine can take years, from an initial theory or discovery to manufacturing, clinical trials and final approval and sale.
On average, the journey of a medicine that makes it to market can take 12 years and while entire books have been written on a drug’s journey from discovery to pharmacy shelves, here are the main steps that all medicines will go through.
The first step, and the stage of development that has gone through the most change over the past century, is how we discover new medications that may have the potential to treat diseases.
In the past, this happened purely by luck, which formed the basis for traditional medicines that worked but without people at the time knowing exactly why they worked.
Eventually, the active ingredients found in these traditional remedies were found and isolated, and this formed the basis of classical pharmacology: the screening of compounds and the use of chemical libraries to look for therapeutic effects.
After the human genome was sequenced, a new process known as reverse pharmacology became widely used, a method of drug discovery focused on a target molecule that is believed to cause a disease or disorder and then look for candidate molecules that help create the desired effect.
Once a candidate is found, the active compound that provides the therapeutic effect is synthesised and modified to increase its potency as much as possible and then the medicine can start to be developed.
Preclinical trials are about testing the drug with the aid of computer models and lab-grown cells to determine the following about a new medicine:
- How it is absorbed, distributed, metabolised and excreted (ADME) by the body,
- How it works and the benefits of taking it.
- The best dosage and way to administer it (tablets, injections, liquid, creams, inhalers).
- Any side effects or other harmful results.
- Whether the effect of the drug is different depending on age, gender, race or ethnicity.
- Whether it interacts with other medication.
- Whether it is better or worse than similar drugs used for the same treatment.
This turns a potential compound into a medicine that can be used, but most compounds fail at this step by either being too dangerous or not working well enough.
The next step is the development of clinical trials, which are undertaken in a safe, effective manner to ensure that they are safe to use and work the way the preclinical trials suggested they should.
Typically there are three phases to a clinical trial:
- Phase I – also known as a pilot study, this involves a very small number (usually less than 100) of healthy volunteers who will take the drug to essentially confirm how it works and whether it is safe.
- Phase II – The second phase involves less than 500 patients who receive either the new drug, the current standard drug or a placebo, depending on the nature of the trial.
- Phase III – A wider trial of up to 5,000 patients, undertaken under very strict ethical guidelines and in preparation for approval and full-scale production.
In order to sell a medical product in the UK, it must be approved by the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). This is an involved application process, that may be expedited depending on the applications and necessity of the drug in question.
Once it is approved for use, it can be sold subject to the conditions of that approval.
What Can Be Done To Accelerate The Growth Of Life Sciences?
Date Posted: Friday August 20, 2021
The life science industry has played a tremendous part in helping millions of people over the past two years, and the government has noticed.
In July, they posted their Life Sciences Vision documentation, which highlighted their grand plans for the industry over the next ten years.
Whilst the vision document is broad, it consists of four main areas of development for the life sciences industry:
- Taking advantage of the UK’s research infrastructure as well as accessing health and genomic data.
- Improve access to innovation across the NHS.
- Create the perfect environment for life science businesses to begin, to grow and to be invested in.
- Address major global healthcare challenges.
In order to accomplish all of this, the government is making £1bn available to help life science marketing, sales and initial research, which can be vital to help with fields such as time-intensive drug development.
With this in mind, here are the life science industry’s main priorities in order to further boost the growth of an exciting industry.
Life sciences are not like other industries. Lean startup principles that focus on minimum viable products and quickly getting to market irrespective of quality are impossible given how long research and development takes to produce medicines, medical aids and medtech.
Part of this is the result of capital availability, a lack of which has seen many UK life sciences companies rely on US investment and eventually relocate closer to their investors overseas.
Speed Up Approval
The timespan for medications to receive approval from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) varies wildly, from a matter of months to over ten years at times.
This can cause issues not only for patients awaiting a new treatment but also to investors who will only see a return once the drug is on the market.
The government aims to assist with this by taking advantage of NHS data to aid in research and clinical trials, as well as establishing an integrated licensing and access pathway to cut the time it takes for new medicines to make it into the hands of patients.
Having skilled life science professionals is key to any potential levelling-up strategy, and so a key part of the growth of the industry is ensuring that people have as many pathways as possible to enter the fast-paced industry.
Part of this will be providing potential startup founders with the knowledge and skills to become so-called ‘clinical entrepreneurs’ that have the particular skills needed to run an effective life science business.
The other half will come from the ground floor, developing life science apprentices out of school leavers, providing skills, training and qualifications to become major parts of the future of the industry.
Speeding Up Construction
Much of the proposed plans rely on infrastructure, some of which will be built out from the systems created during the greatest public health crisis facing the country in a century.
The vision document specifically looks at the creation of specialist hubs that would appear across England, with genomics hub in Manchester and a diagnostic research centre in Liverpool being named as examples.
This will rely on upgrading existing life science assets and efficiently building new manufacturing hubs for a rapidly growing industry.
Database Of Human Protein Structures Released
Date Posted: Wednesday August 11, 2021
The most important database since the mapping of the human genome has been released freely and openly, revolutionising the life sciences industry overnight.
The collaboration between the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and Google-owned artificial company DeepMind, has led to the release of a database of over 20,000 3D structures that are believed to represent every protein expressed by the human genome.
The Alphafold Protein Structure Database, which is freely available to view and use to the scientific community, would double the number of high accuracy structures available, and expand our knowledge of the human genome significantly.
This is a revolution for life science consulting, as understanding these proteins that are the building blocks of every biological process in every living creature, and enable vital biological research work to be considerably accelerated.
The AI system was the subject of two papers in the journal Nature, which provides more detailed information on the system and how it functions.
The database provides the protein sequence and a 3D predicted model, colour coded based on AlphaFold’s per-residue confidence score (pLDDT).
The system takes full advantage of the sophisticated AI system known as AlphaFold, which can use a protein’s amino acid sequence to predict what shape it will become, and has been heralded by DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis, PhD., as one of the biggest contributions AI has made to scientific knowledge.
Before the use of AI, protein shape predictions were made through years of painstaking experimentation, which themselves were incredibly expensive.
This work was not in vain, however, as it formed the knowledge base that AlphaFold would be trained with.
Machine learning is a relatively simple concept that allows for incredibly complex tasks to be automated, reducing the amount of time testing and creating predicted protein shapes from years to mere months.
It starts by providing correct data to the system to allow it to understand what to look for before it works on the particular task at hand.
AlphaFold’s systems have already been used previously to create medicines to treat neglected diseases, as well as increase our understanding of the biology of SARS-CoV-2.
Outside of biology, the Centre of Enzyme Innovation used AlphaFold to allow for the chemical recycling of single-use plastics that pollute our environments.
Currently, the database includes over 350,000 structures, with protein structures for the fruit fly, mouse, malaria parasite and E.coli.
DeepMind plans to continually update the database and AlphaFold system as they continue to improve and upgrade both the software and hardware that powers it.
The system has limitations, generally a result of the complex interplay between different protein structures and the dynamic changes in structure often seen by proteins. It also is not designed to predict mutations.
The ultimate aim over the next few years is to expand its coverage to include almost every single protein that is known to science, which totals 100 million structures in the UniProt database.
This would eventually, DeepMind claims, lead to every single protein known to science having a high-quality 3D model available to it.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning have been major talking points in the life sciences industry, with stories of a bread-recognition system that could detect cancer cells making headlines earlier this year.
Daily Covid Cases Top 50,000 As Vaccinations Slow
Date Posted: Friday July 30, 2021
The number of positive Covid-19 tests has passed 50,000 a day for the first time since January, while the number of daily first doses continues to bump along at a fairly low level.
A figure of 51,870 cases was recorded on Friday (July 16th), with 717 people being admitted to hospital and 49 deaths.
While the mortality rate from Covid remains low – mainly because it is largely unvaccinated young people who are catching it – the number getting their first jab has slowed considerably from previous months, when hundreds of thousands a day would be getting their inoculation.
The latest daily figures showed 61,681 first jabs, up on previous days but still leaving 12.4 per cent of the adult population unvaccinated. This may suggest vaccine hesitancy or outright hostility has left a proportion of the population not taking the jab when they could have done so.
While it is likely almost all of the 87.6 per cent who have had the vaccine so far will get the second jab, this may not quite provide the level of herd immunity needed to curb the virus in the UK.
Part of the reason is the geographically uneven nature of vaccinations. Newly available map data has shown that many urban areas have much lower vaccination rates than the average. For example, fewer than 70 per cent have had their first jab in Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Nottingham and Coventry.
In London, the situation is even worse, with five boroughs recording first vaccination rates below 60 per cent, the worst being Westminster at 55.3 per cent.
Part of the reason may be generally younger populations in major cities, but a particular concern has been the low take-up among black and Asian ethnic minority groups. This could lead to significant pockets of persistent infection as the virus will spread more easily in some areas.
This is evident when different city districts are compared. For example, the lowest rates in Manchester are in central and inner south parts of the city, which have large student and minority ethnic populations. A similar pattern can be seen in Birmingham.
More rural areas tend to have much higher areas of inoculation, although only one English district – Eden – has hit 90 per cent.
The Scottish situation is more promising, with over 90 per cent having had a first jab in rural counties and the rate at over 80 per cent in the four largest cities – Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee.
With the UK about to open up again, metro mayors have been insisting that people continue using face masks on public transport and many retailers have taken the same line with people coming into their stores.
With the third wave now expected to peak in early August before declining again, hopes for herd immunity may depend in part on a very low re-infection rate. While catching Covid once does not offer lifelong immunity in the way infections like measles do, it may be that it does offer immunity, at least for some time, for most.
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UK Life Sciences Vision Sets Out 10-Year Strategy
Date Posted: Thursday July 15, 2021
The UK Government has published a bold new strategy to build on the successes of the Covid-19 response within the life sciences sector, and to tackle major long-term healthcare issues such as dementia and cancer. It promises to accelerate the delivery of life-changing innovations to patients.
The strategy, titled Life Sciences Vision, was co-developed with businesses and industry experts to set out a healthcare mission for the next decade. The focus will be on preventing, diagnosing, monitoring, and disease in the early stages. The development and adoption of new drugs, diagnostics, medical technology, and digital tools will be a priority.
In particular the pace of research into dementia treatment will be expediated. Currently, more than 920,000 people in the UK are living with dementia, and this is expected to rise to over a million by 2024. The majority of these people are over the age of 65, but it is thought that 40,000 people under 65 also have a dementia diagnosis.
The Life Science Vision will also seek to enable early diagnosis and treatment of cancer and work on the development of cancer vaccines. Treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease will also be fore-fronted. Other strategies seek to reduce mortality rates from respiratory diseases, and increase the understanding of mental health conditions.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “We are indebted to the ingenuity of UK life sciences and its pioneers, with the discovery of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and the seamless collaboration between our scientists, industry, regulators and NHS saving millions of lives during the pandemic.
“We must make sure this is the norm and use this new way of working to search for life-changing breakthroughs against diseases such as cancer, dementia and obesity, as we have done with COVID.”
The strategy is part of the government’s wider levelling up agenda, which aims to reduce the inequalities between the richest and poorest parts of the country.
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What Is The UK’s COVID Vaccine Booster Plan?
Date Posted: Thursday July 8, 2021
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has confirmed he will be setting out a plan for the government’s COVID-19 vaccine booster programme within the next few weeks. However, health bosses say that planning needs to start now, as it will be a logistical nightmare for the NHS to run the scheme while it deals with the health challenges brought by the winter months.
The news comes as COVID-19 infections are rising again as the Delta variant becomes the dominant form of the coronavirus in the UK, despite 80 per cent of the population now having received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to .
Why are booster jabs being considered?
At the time of writing, there have been 75 million doses of the vaccine administered in the UK, with 32 million people having received both jabs, which equates to 48 per cent of the population, according to .
Multiple studies have shown that the Oxford/AstraZeneca and Pfizer/BioNTECH vaccines, the two most commonly used vaccines in the UK, offer very strong protection against the coronavirus after receiving both doses.
However, experts are wanting to provide people, in particular, the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions even more protection against the virus with a third ‘booster’ dose.
How is the scheme working?
The Department of Health announced earlier this year that it was launching a study – the world’s first – into the effectiveness of a booster dose, and thousands of volunteers have now received a booster dose in the CoV-Boost study, which is being led by the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, with £19.3 million worth of government funding.
The study will be trialling seven vaccines and will be the first of its kind in the world to provide vital data on the impact of a booster dose on patients’ immune responses.
Researchers want to understand how effective the third dose of a vaccine is, and whether or not mixing the jabs of two different companies has any impact on this outcome.
Anyone eligible for a booster jab will be likely to attend a vaccination site in the same way they got doses one and two.
Why has the scheme not been rolled out yet?
The study will be taking place at 16 National Institute for Health Research-supported sites across England, as well as at Health and Care Research Wales and NHS Research Scotland sites. There will be a total of 2,886 patients and participants getting booster vaccination from early June.
All the participants will be monitored for the duration of the study to check for any side effects, and they will have blood samples taken so that immune responses can be measured on day 28, 84, 308, and 365, and a small number of participants will also have blood tests at other times.
All sites will have an electronic diary for all participants that will send alerts to the team in real-time if needed and a 24-hour emergency phone to a doctor on the study, who can provide further clinical advice.
Although the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation is likely to approve the scheme, it will not make a final decision until it has examined all the findings from the study.
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100 Days Mission Collaboration For Future Pandemics
Date Posted: Wednesday June 30, 2021
A landmark collaboration between governments and the life sciences industry has been announced, stepping up collective efforts to tackle global pandemics in the future and save lives from diseases.
At the G7 Health Ministers’ Meeting, hosted by the UK as part of the G7 Presidency, company representatives and CEOs backed the ambition of the 100 Days Mission, as set out by the pandemic preparedness partnership.
An agreement was made to work towards a plan to develop high-quality diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics in just 100 days after the identification of a new pandemic threat.
All participants at the G7 health event on life sciences, which included representatives from some of the biggest life sciences companies in the world, recognised how important it was to sustain political and industry leadership between outbreaks, as well as how essential it is for public and private sectors to collaborate when dealing with complex global health threats.
The pandemic preparedness partnership intends to make sure the world is better protected against pandemics in the future through the implementation of a comprehensive set of actions required to achieve the ambitious target of 100 days.
To deliver this, new vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics should be part-developed before the next pandemic begins, involving innovation and collaboration between companies, academic and medical researchers, global health organisations and regulators.
The last year and a half have seen collaborative working in this way to deliver a host of safe and effective vaccines for coronavirus, developed in record time. More than two billion vaccines have been rolled out worldwide to tackle the virus, very little of which was known about just over 12 months ago.
Sir Patrick Vallance, government chief scientific adviser, said: “The first 100 days in a pandemic are crucial to changing the course of a disease. In those 3 months, diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines are key weapons.
“Given the extent of the social, economic and health impacts caused by COVID-19, the 100 Days Mission is rightly ambitious and sets a goal for us to which we can all aspire.”
The G7 (Group of 7) forum is the only one of its kind where the most influential and open societies, and advanced economies come together for collaborative discussions. Leaders have been gathering together each year since the 1970s, along with the heads of the EU.
The seven members are the UK, the US, Japan, Canada, France, Germany and Italy, as well as the EU. In previous years, action has been taken to save 27 million lives from AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, to support the education of millions of children in the world’s poorest countries, and to strengthen the global economy and combat tax evasion.
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Can AI Be Used To Develop New Medication?
Date Posted: Tuesday June 15, 2021
Artificial intelligence and machine learning have become ever more intriguing parts of life science marketing, as well as research and development, but one area where we may potentially see a giant leap forward in their use is in biotech.
One company claims that they can use machine learning principles applied to genomics to create new drugs to treat a wide variety of diseases, and given that they have just received over $43m in Series A funding, it appears that investors share that belief too.
The theory behind machine learning being able to brute force some of life sciences’ greatest questions is not entirely new. AI has been increasingly used in the diagnosis of cancer cells in patients, diagnosing heart conditions and strokes, among many other functions.
The aim of the company, a Singapore and San-Francisco based company known as Engine Biosciences, is to develop two software platforms that can help test billions of gene interactions and test these gene interactions in diseased cells.
The first is NetMAPPR, which is a searchable platform that tests drug targets and gene combinations that are integral to tackling diseases.
The other is CombiGEM, which exponentially speeds up the experimentation process by allowing for hundreds of thousands of gene combinations to be tested quickly and with a higher rate of accuracy, with successful tests further increasing the accuracy of future experiments.
Currently, the business has created a pipeline of novel treatments for tackling ovarian, breast and liver cancers, and this extra funding is set to allow them to future explore other disease areas and progress their drug discovery programmes.
Oxford Properties Invests In UK Life Sciences Sector
Date Posted: Friday June 11, 2021
Global real estate investor Oxford Properties has completed its investment in the life sciences sector in Europe by acquiring 310 Cambridge Science Park. Cambridge Network reported that the organisation has been focusing on building a “substantial and dedicated life sciences business” since 2017.
This acquisition in the UK is the organisation’s seventh in the life sciences space since the beginning of 2021.
However, this is just the beginning of Oxford’s investment in the life sciences sector in Europe. The company revealed it intends to deploy some £1.2 billion of investment in European life sciences assets in the coming five years.
It already holds a life science portfolio in North America that is worth $1.1 billion. It intends to focus on building its life science property portfolio in Europe using various entry points to the market, including investments in platforms, direct property acquisitions and developments, and via debt.
An article for Building Design recently noted that developer British Land and consultant Alinea are targeting the life sciences sector this year as well.
British Land is reportedly looking to diversify its portfolio following the pandemic, which has seen it take a hit. As a result, it is targeting tenants in the life sciences sector, as well as exploring opportunities in the logistics market.
Founding partner at Alinea Mark Lacey told the publication that he believes the life sciences sector will be “massive” for London. “King’s Cross is a bit of a bullseye for life sciences because of the Francis Crick Institute, the Wellcome Trust and the universities around there,” he explained.
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Government Develops Framework To Ensure Microbiology Labs Have Essential Supplies
Date Posted: Tuesday June 8, 2021
Public Health England, in conjunction with the UK Health Security Agency and the microbiology sector of life sciences, has created a framework that is aimed at building up resilience to future viral and bacteriological threats.
This framework, as supported by the Cabinet Office and the Department of Health and Social Care, aims to provide access to sample analysis scientific equipment, diagnostics tools and research and development for various infectious disease studies.
It has been opened to all academic, charitable and public sector bodies and has been split into four primary funding segments;
- Diagnostic services, equipment and consumables
- Equipment, consumables and services for research and development
- Commercialisation, product development and manufacturing
- Diagnostic testing
The third section in particular highlights that the scheme is aimed not simply at research but at life science consulting and marketing that can turn medical discoveries into products and focuses on the entire development cycle of a medical product.
The final stage is aimed at improving collaboration between private and public sector clinical laboratories and allows for greater testing capacity to be made available as and when it is required.
In total, 170 supplies are involved and access to the framework provides access to these suppliers.
The need for expanding testing capacity has been seen through the rapid development of a vaccine for Covid-19 over the past year, and the trials and studies that have taken place since then to confirm the efficacy and safety of the vaccine.
According to PHE data, the vaccination programme has prevented 13,000 deaths from its launch at the end of 2020 up until 9th May 2021, with every person in the country expected to have been offered a vaccine by July.
The current testing platform has also provided information on how effective the vaccine is against variant strains, with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination being 88 per cent effective compared to its 93 per cent effectiveness against the most dominant strain in the UK.
This framework follows up on the initial Public Health England Microbiology Framework that was launched in 2016 and follows other funding and grant drives in the life sciences sector.
The head of scientific procurement, Nilesh Pattani, was particularly keen to stress the importance of Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS), a process of determining the entire DNA sequence of a person or organism in a single scan.
This can, in turn, be used for diagnostic purposes and can be used to spot and prevent diseases from progressing significantly.
Microbiology is a grouping of various different disciplines involving microbes and microorganisms. Along with bacteria and viruses, it also includes fungi, algae and protozoa, and is focused on how to diagnose, prevent and treat diseases that spread via microbes.
The primary technique used in microbiology is polymerase chain reaction tests (PCR), which is one of the two main technologies used to diagnose Covid-19, alongside the much faster lateral flow tests that have come onto the market more recently.
These developments highlight the importance of the life sciences sector in general and microbiology in particular, as well as the Government’s interest in ensuring life sciences research is as accessible as possible.
Millions Pledged By Government To Turn UK Into “Life Sciences Superpower”
Date Posted: Thursday May 6, 2021
Over £37m has been pledged by the government into new life sciences projects and data-driven initiatives, the Health Secretary announced at an industry conference.
In his speech to the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced his plan to turn Great Britain into a “life sciences superpower”, which in turn would help the UK embrace innovations to transform people’s lives over the next decade.
This includes £37m worth of investments into genomics projects, studies on how the body’s genes influence how we grow and develop.
This included £17m worth of investments in research and life sciences marketing looking into several different genomics sectors, exploring public attitudes to these projects and how much potential value they have to the health service.
These include newborn sequencing, which would check a newborn child’s genetic makeup to look for potential health problems soon after they are born.
As well as this, the funding would look into increasing genomic cohort data sets to ensure that the information used matches the diverse population of the UK.
This funding would also focus on new approaches to cancer diagnosis, aiming to use a greater knowledge of genetics to diagnose people faster.
These initiatives, along with others that have received funding, are focused primarily on how genomics can be used as part of standard diagnostic procedures to help doctors make better, faster decisions about a patient’s treatment.
The rest of the funding, worth £20m, is set to be invested in life sciences research, focussed specifically on taking advantage of health data to boost clinical research in the UK.
This includes setting up an infrastructure to help invest in clinical trials and make them easier and quicker to set up and deliver.
This service, known as “Find, Recruit and Follow-Up”, aims to create a data-driven service that helps make finding suitable trial subjects quicker and easier to find.
Furthermore, this funding is earmarked for helping to develop medicines, vaccines and MedTech, by helping to fund state of the art research and studies that focused on the early detection of diseases.
This speech comes after the announcement of the Medicines and Diagnostics Manufacturing Transformation Fund, which offers capital grant funding for manufacturers of medicines, diagnostic products and MedTech.
The scheme, worth up to £20m, is intended to help boost the medical manufacturing base of the UK, helping innovative technologies to scale up, manufacture on a mass scale and get medical products into the hands of consumers.
This does not include research and development, but instead the costs of installing equipment, building facilities and developing manufacturing bases to ensure they reach a commercial scale.
The ABPI’s chief executive, Richard Torbett, called the announcement a recognition of the part the life sciences sector has to play plans to turn the UK into a scientific superpower.
He further described the announcement as putting the UK “at the cutting edge” of healthcare by focusing on initiatives that further the development of personalised healthcare.
Applications Invited For £20m Fund To Grow Life Sciences Sector
Date Posted: Friday April 23, 2021
A £20m fund intended to support the manufacture of medicines, diagnostics, and MedTech in the UK opened for applications on the 7 April, according to a press release by the UK Government. The fund was originally announced in November 2020 by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson, as part of the efforts to boost the post-pandemic economy.
Business and Industry Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “Our life sciences sector is world leading and its incredible response to COVID-19 has reminded us of the crucial importance of the sector to the UK.”
The full title of the scheme is the Medicines and Diagnostics Manufacturing Transformation Fund. It aims to put the UK in a leading global position, and strengthen its ability to respond to future pandemics. The fund should also help to level up the economic landscape of the UK, as two-thirds of life science manufacturing jobs are outside of London and the SE.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “This £20 million investment will harness the best in UK manufacturing and fund cutting-edge medical technologies to protect the British public in 2021 and beyond. This will not only boost the UK’s already strong vaccine and medicine portfolio but support top quality, local jobs across the country […].”
The UK life sciences already supports 256,000 jobs, and generates £80bn of turnover annually. It has world-class staff and facilities, and a global reputation for innovation and quality. This put the country in a good position for vaccine research and development, and the results are reflected in the success of the vaccination programme.
It is hoped the funding will encourage the development of new technology, innovation, and building of more facilities, and the exploration of greener manufacturing processes. The government is particularly keen for the UK to have a resilient science manufacturing capacity, that can robustly and swiftly step up to the challenges of the future.
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Biotech Start-up Moves Into Oxford Trust’s Wood Centre For Innovation
Date Posted: Thursday April 15, 2021
Samsara Therapeutics, a biotech start-up, is the first company to take up laboratory space at The Oxford Trust’s Wood Centre for Innovation, Labmate Online reports. The new life science laboratories have been built in response to the extra demand for biotech workspace that has emerged during the past 12 months.
The Oxford Trust is a local charity dedicated to supporting science and enterprise. The Wood Centre for Innovation offers a range of flexible workspaces, from research and development facilities, labs and workshops, to private offices and co-working spaces. The facilities are situated in Headington, at the heart of one of the UK’s leading technology clusters.
The £0.5m development is partly funded by the government’s Local Growth Fund, which was secured by the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership. There is a significant demand in the area for lab space from new science and tech start-ups.
Samsara Therapeutics is an early-stage drug discovery company. Their research includes developing therapies for extending healthy aging and treating age-related and genetic diseases such as Alzheimer’s. The company was founded in 2018, and also has bases in Oxford and Boston.
Steve Burgess, CEO, The Oxford Trust, said: “A warm welcome to Samsara who will join us at the Wood Centre for Innovation later this Spring. A biotech start-up working on breakthrough research is exactly the type of company the Trust continues to support and help on their journey to success.”
“We would also like to thank OxLEP for their continued support of not just The Trust and our charitable aims but Oxfordshire’s innovation ecosystem. With this national government funding we are able to quickly pivot to meet the significant demand from companies such as Samsara needing specific lab space.”
The state-of-the-art facilities at Headington are set in 15-acres of woodland, and easily accessible from the clinical research site at The University of Oxford’s Old Road Campus. They are also near to local hospitals, and Oxford Brookes University. If the development proves successful, The Trust hope to expand the site in the future.
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Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala To Invest £800 Million In UK Life Sciences
Date Posted: Tuesday April 6, 2021
Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Company has agreed to invest an initial £800 million in UK life sciences over a five-year period as part of the first focus of the UAE-UK Sovereign Investment Partnership (SIP).
According to a GOV.UK press release, the long-term investment agreement was signed with the Department for International Trade and the Prime Minister’s Office’s recently-established UK Office for Investment (OfI) and is expected to build on existing UK-UAE trade and investment ties that were worth £32 billion in 2019.
Mubadala’s investment commitment will be added to the UK’s £200 million Life Sciences Investment Programme announced last year, which will enable more UK life sciences businesses to scale and grow.
Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, managing director and group CEO of Mubadala, said: “The UAE and UK are aligned on the importance of global action on critical priorities such as healthcare innovation and delivery, climate change and the sustainable growth of high-skilled industries.
“Coordination on investment and global innovation ecosystems is vital to enabling progress against these challenges and presents a significant post-Covid economic opportunity for the UK and UAE.”
He added that Mubadala is already a long-term investor in UK innovation and growth, and the new partnership will provide a platform to allocate stable capital to priority sectors as part of a future-focused investment relationship.
According to a statement released by the UK Government on 24 March, the Ofl and Mubadala ‘will work together to identify commercially viable opportunities for investment into the sector’.
UK’s life science industry generates an £80 billion annual turnover and is the employer of over 250,000 people. The industry is expected to benefit from improved links in life sciences research, education and closer ties between the UAE and UK.
UK International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said: “The UAE is an important trading partner for the UK and home to some of the world’s largest and most experienced investment companies.
“It’s fantastic that we are collaborating more closely in the industries of tomorrow like science, tech and green growth, so we can build back better and deliver an investment-led, jobs-led recovery from coronavirus.”
The SIP will invest across a number of tech and innovation-led sectors across its global portfolio, which spans more than 50 countries, over a five-year period.
The investment into sectors such as energy transition and infrastructure will support job creation here and in Abu Dhabi, strengthen national research and development capabilities, and develop new mutual areas of collaboration.
Mubadala will also connect UK industries to research and innovation initiatives across its global portfolio spanning more than 50 countries, which has a major focus on innovation and technology-led sectors, including composite manufacturing, semiconductors, renewable energy, biotech and urban mobility.
The SIP’s inaugural life sciences investments are expected to complete later this year.
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Variants ‘Set To Determine Course Of Pandemic’
Date Posted: Thursday March 18, 2021
The length and direction of the Coronavirus pandemic is set to be determined by the new variants that arise and the effectiveness of the life sciences research community in coming up with vaccines to defeat them, an infectious diseases expert has said.
Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota Dr Michael Osterholm said the US faces a “whole new ball game” because if the new variants that have emerged, with some having the potential to reduce the effectiveness of vaccines.
Speaking to CBS News, he said: “We are, I think for the moment, in the eye of a hurricane with regard to the good news, the vaccine’s coming.”
However, he added, a “big challenge” now is the B117 variant coming from Europe. This version of the virus emerged in Kent last September and has already spread to many countries.
This is not, of course, the only variant of concern, with several others having emerged, including worrying strains from South Africa and Brazil that appear more resistant to vaccines.
“It’s all going to be about the variants and the vaccine, and that will determine where we’re going to be next year, the year after, and the year after that,” Dr Osterholm remarked.
This suggests life science consulting services could be much in demand over not just the months to come, but several years.
Part of the problem is the potential for more variants to arise in countries that are either failing to curb the spread with social distancing measures and other restrictions, or because low numbers are being vaccinated.
The US is expected to join the UK in being one of the first to vaccinate all willing adults, with president Joe Biden pledging this week to offer every adult a jab by May 1st. Britain is expecting to do so by late July.
However, the situation is not so healthy elsewhere. Continental Europe is lagging well behind with vaccinations, with the majority seeing an increase in cases at present and central Europe suffering a notable surge. The Kent variant is one major factor alongside the slow rate of immunisation, with some countries, such as France, suffering from high levels of vaccine scepticism.
The risk of more variants emerging from elsewhere remains high, with Brazil – already identified as producing two new variants of concern – currently suffering a severe surge in infections that threatens to overwhelm health services.
While one variant has emerged in South Africa, the country is at least receiving vaccines and thanks to the global Coxax system, these are now making their way to other nations across the continent. But Tanzania’s Covid-sceptic president John Magafuli – who has been allegedly suffering from the virus himself – has denied the ongoing presence of the virus in his country and has not signed up to Covax.
The danger that some countries may be beset by public attitudes, sceptical politicians or slow vaccination programmes that give the virus scope for new mutations may be the biggest threat to global health. It may indeed be that finding vaccines to beat these new variants will be the decisive factor in ending the pandemic sooner rather than later.
Budget Raises Concerns Regarding Medical Research
Date Posted: Thursday March 11, 2021
The reaction to the most recent 2021 budget in the medical research and life science sales has been mixed, with many praising the funding being placed in research and development as it pertains to Covid-19, but also raising concerned that charity-funded research may be left out.
The 2021 Budget, unveiled in early March, includes an extra £5m in mRNA manufacturing to create a vaccine library, £22m on a study exploring the effectiveness of the different vaccines available, as well as £28m on increasing vaccine testing and clinical trials for future variants of the virus.
As well as this, a UK-wide “Future Fund: Breakthrough” worth £375m aims to invest in innovative companies in the field of life sciences, as well as clean technology, quantum computing and other major technological research points, so long as they aim to raise at least £20m in funding.
However, at the same time as this, R&D tax credits for small and medium-sized businesses will be capped at £20,000, and charities have raised concerns that there is a lack of support for research funded outside of government grants.
The British Heart Foundation released a statement on the same day the budget was released, raising concerns that charity-funded research, which in the case of heart diseases funds the majority of noncommercial research, was not being supported.
Public health has not received any further investment in this budget outside of the Covid-19 response, which has also been highlighted as a point of concern.
With charities and public health services both being impacted by the continuing circumstances, it remains to be seen whether further investments will be made to help protect vital services.
Virtual Pavilion To Showcase UK Life Sciences Launched
Date Posted: Thursday March 4, 2021
‘UK Healthcare Pavilion’, a first of its kind virtual platform that showcases UK healthcare and life sciences has been launched.
According to a press release, the innovative website will provide news, insights, and interviews from a wide ranger of key opinion leaders and policymakers, who will present their views on a variety of topical subjects in the sector, and showcase the life science strengths that the UK has to offer.
The new platform will support UK companies to increase export opportunities, as there will be a searchable directory of UK companies alongside the platform that provides overseas buyers with a simple and intuitive way to identify and engage with UK industry and healthcare organisations.
It will also list the UK’s most prestigious private healthcare providers. The platform has gained the support of key government and healthcare stakeholders, which will also be aiming to attract inward investments.
Paul Benton, managing director, international, at the Association of British HealthTech Industries (ABHI) said the association was ‘delighted’ to have collaborated with software developer Virti and other stakeholders in bringing the UK Healthcare Pavilion to life.
“We know how special the UK’s healthcare and life sciences sector is, but there has never been a single front door that showcases its true breadth and capabilities. Throughout the pandemic, organisations have also told us how they are struggling to connect with global audiences due to the closure of physical borders,” he said.
“From there, the idea for the site was developed, to create a ‘go-to’ marketplace for visitors looking to discover, connect and innovate with the UK healthcare and life sciences sector.”
The UK Healthcare Pavilion is supported by government departments, including the Department for International Trade, Invest Northern Ireland, Scottish Development International and the Welsh Government, as well as UK consulates, embassies, and industry bodies around the world.
There is also a mix of trade and clinical associations that have put their support behind the platform.
These include the Royal College of Surgeons, Royal College of Physicians, The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), the British Dental Industry Association (BDIA), the UK BioIndustry Association (BIA), GAMBICA (The UK Trade Association for Instrumentation, Control, Automation and Laboratory Technology), Medcity, OneNucleus, the AHSN Network and The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.
Minister for exports, Graham Stuart MP explained that the UK has become a global leader in life sciences and healthcare innovation, as broadly experienced across the NHS, academia, industry and policy.
“We have great heritage in these areas and take a uniquely collaborative approach, giving us strong foundations to build on as we push the boundaries of scientific discovery. This is even more significant as we work to combat COVID-19 around the world,” he said.
“The Pavilion will provide a brilliant platform for UK healthcare businesses to export their goods and services overseas, sharing the very best that Britain has to offer.”
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Report Hails Covid Collaboration As Way Of Future
Date Posted: Tuesday March 2, 2021
The way different pharmaceutical firms have worked together on research aimed at stemming the tide of the Coronavirus pandemic provides a clear example of how firms in the industry should work together in the future, a new report has argued.
Novartis UK argued that such an approach could “unlock” the potential of the UK life sciences sector, enabling more medical discoveries to be made and greater patient-centric treatments to be developed.
Its New Possible report said prime examples of how collaboration worked effectively was in the area of testing existing drugs to test their potential effects on Covid.
In the reports introduction, Novartis managing director Chinmay Bhatt said: “By looking back at examples of progress we’ve made in responding to COVID-19 so far, we can help realise a Golden Era of successful collaboration.”
Should this optimistic prognosis be fulfilled, the life science sales pipeline could be very busy as the sector leaps ahead in the UK, boosted by the success of discoveries like the usefulness of Dexamethasone in fighting Covid, the development of the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine and the diagnostic capacity that has helped identify new variants of the virus.
Listing its own collaborations, Novartis noted that it co-chairs the Covid-19 therapeutics Accelerator programme, which is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome and Mastercard. It is this body that has helped accelerate progress in testing repurposed drugs for Covid and making progress with a vaccine.
It is not just Novartis predicting a potentially bright future for the UK life sciences sector.
In an editorial, PharmExec suggested 2021 could be a ‘banner year’ for the industry, not least because the trade deal agreed with the EU not only boosts British firms, but enables partners in the EU to tap into areas where the UK excels, such as genomics.
Speaking to the website, Laura Barrell, senior associate in VWV’s pharmaceuticals and life sciences team, said there is “no doubt” Britain leads the way in the sector.
She also identified AI, automation and clinical research platforms as areas where Britain is a world leader.
Britain Close To Securing UAE Life Sciences Investment
Date Posted: Friday February 19, 2021
The UK is close to securing a huge investment in its life sciences and biotech sector, as talks continue over a public-private partnership involving the UEA sovereign wealth fund.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has been working on completing details for the project, which would see the fund giving a “turbo boost” to the sector in the UK.
Known as the Life Sciences Investment Programme, it would be backed by £200 million from the government and £400 million from the private sector, including the £168 million state-funded Mudabala investment company.
The UK government is keen to build on the country’s biotech and life sciences sector, particularly in view of the major role it has played in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic. This reputation may make the sector a key source of economic growth as long-term solutions may be needed to deal with the Coronavirus, such as new treatments and research into modified vaccines to beat mutant strains.
Among the government bodies involved in the project are the Treasury, the British Business Bank and the new Office for Investment. A Treasury spokesperson said: “We remain committed to providing £200million funding to the Life Sciences Investment Programme, to unlock additional investment in our world-leading life sciences sector.”
The Financial Times stated that the Mudabala side of the project is being managed by Khaldoon Al Mubarak, chairman of the company and a key man for managing relations between the UAE and the UK.
A source at Mudabala told the news provider a deal was a possibility, but for now it was “just one option, down the road”.
However, the UAE has already invested heavily in the UK, including the London Array offshore windfarm and the London Gateway.
Khaldoon Al Mubarak is himself the chairman of City Football Group, which is centred on Premier League Football Club Manchester City. The club was taken over in 2008 by the Abu Dhabi United Corporation, using ruler Sheikh Mansur’s wealth to subsequently bankroll the team.
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Jazz Pharmaceuticals Buys UK Cannabis Therapy Firm For £5.3bn
Date Posted: Wednesday February 17, 2021
GW Pharmaceuticals, a UK pharmaceutical company that specialises in cannabis-derived treatments for epilepsy has been bought by Ireland-based Jazz Pharmaceuticals in a $7.2 billion (£5.3 billion) takeover.
According to Life Sciences IP Review, the deal will allow Jazz to move beyond developing treatments for sleep disorders and cancer by adding GW Pharmaceuticals’ Epidolex, a cannabis-based drug that was approved in the US in 2018 or use in patients aged two years and older with rare childhood-onset forms of epilepsy.
GW Pharma has said that the deal with Jazz will help create a neuroscience therapy powerhouse. The combined organisations will bring highly complementary expertise to 19 clinical development programs across neuroscience and oncology, including in sleep, epilepsy, movement disorders, psychiatry, haematology and solid tumours.
GW Pharmaceuticals, based in Cambridge, is a world leader in the development, manufacturing and marketing of novel, regulatory approved therapeutics for a broad range of diseases derived from its proprietary cannabinoid product platform.
Its lead product is Epidolex, which has been approved for use in patients aged one-year-old and over for the treatment of seizures that are associated with Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS), Dravet Syndrome and Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC), all of which are rare diseases characterised by severe early-onset epilepsy.
Epidiolex was the first plant-derived cannabinoid medicine ever approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The medicine has also been approved under the trade name Epidyolox by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for use with patients aged two-years-old and over for the treatment of seizures associated with LGS and Dravet syndrome in conjunction with clobazam and is under EMA review for the treatment of seizures associated with TSC.
Along with Epidiolex, the takeover will allow significant opportunities to pursue other indications within the epilepsy field, including other treatment-resistant epilepsies where significant unmet needs of patients exist.
There has been speculation about a take over of New York Stock Exchange-listed GW Pharmaceuticals for several years, and Jazz said the offer price represented a 50 per cent premium to GW’s closing share price on Tuesday.
Subject to shareholder and regulatory approval, the terms of the deal will see Jazz pay $220 per share, with $200 of that in cash and the rest in shares.
The US medical cannabis industry has been growing steadily and is expected to continue with predicted annual sales beyond $16bn (£11.7bn) by 2025, according to New Frontier Data, making it a very attractive takeover for Jazz. The transaction is expected to close in Q2 of 2021.
Bruce Cozadd, chairman and CEO of Jazz Pharmaceuticals, said: “Jazz is proud of our leadership position in sleep medicines and rapidly growing oncology business.
“We are excited to add GW’s industry-leading cannabinoid platform, innovative pipeline and products, which will strengthen and broaden our neuroscience portfolio, further diversify our revenue and drive sustainable, long-term value creation opportunities.”
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New Covid-19 Response Device Detects Airborne Virus
Date Posted: Monday February 15, 2021
Coltraco Ultrasonics has launched a new product which can detect the spread of airborne diseases, Lifescience Industry News reports. The Portascanner® COVID-19 device allows the user to locate and quantify leaks in ICU wards as small as 0.5mm in diameter.
The aim is to reduce the spread of Covid-19 in hospitals by making the essential process of maintaining negative-pressurisation on wards much quicker and easier.
The product was designed as a result of a UK Government COVID-19 Emergency Response Grant, which was funded by UK Research and Innovation. The funding was aimed at quickly developing new projects to address and mitigate the health, social and economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
The current practice on hospital wards is to measure total air permeability, but this is not able to give accurate volumes or locate them precisely. The Portascanner® COVID-19 device measures individual leak sizes and leakage rates, and uses the data to approximate the total air permeability for the entire ward.
The air permeability value allows the ICU ward to achieve negative-pressurisation, which is crucial to controlling airborne contagion. A survey from December 2020 showed that 56% of air samples taken from hospital corridors contained high levels of coronavirus.
Methods previously used to achieve negative-pressurisation were time consuming, disruptive, and costly, as patients had to be moved out, and tests carried out by third party contractors. Medics also had no way of identifying the location of the leaks, and had to rely on ineffective guesswork such as taping up doorframes and windows.
The new Portascanner® COVID-19 device can be used with minimal training. The lightweight hand-held product is simple to operate, allowing users to record, photograph, and export data. Hospital staff will be able to keep the buildings and patients safer, as well as having more time to dedicate to caring.
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Robotic Gamma Probe Approved For First Time In Europe
Date Posted: Tuesday February 2, 2021
Lifescience Industry magazine reports that Lightpoint Medical, the medical device company, has announced on 21 January 2021 that it has received CE Mark approval for SENSEI®, its robotic gamma probe. The company specialises in developing miniaturised surgical tools for advanced intra-operative cancer detection.
SENSEI® is the first instrument of its kind to be commercially available to European hospital systems. It is designed for precise intra-operative detection of sentinel lymph nodes, and also cancer metastasis through the lymphatic system. It can target many of the major types of cancer, such as prostate, lung, stomach, and gynaecological.
The SENSEI® probe was designed in close collaboration with top surgeons and nuclear medicine physicians. It provides a clear audible and graphic display, and can be integrated with an external display on surgical robotic platforms. The probe is single use and disposable, to eliminate the risk of cross-contamination.
The miniaturised probe (40mm long) is extremely manoeuvrable, and is able to quickly locate radioactive hotspots. The radio-guided system is attached by a 3-metre lightweight cable of 12mm standard diameter. It is designed to be minimally invasive, whilst maximising dexterity when used with an articulating grasper.
The new device has been widely endorsed by leading cancer surgeons worldwide. Robotic surgeon, Dr Jim Adshead, at the Lister Hospital, East and North Herts NHS Trust, comments:
“I am very excited about regulatory approval for SENSEI® and now eager to start using it in surgery. I have been closely involved in the development of the technology since early usability testing and I’m extremely hopeful for its potential in advancing the treatment of prostate cancer.”
Professor Declan Murphy, robotic surgeon at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, Australia, has also endorsed the device:
“I am delighted that SENSEI® has received CE Mark. Our team is very keen to start using the technology in prostate cancer surgery using the da Vinci robot. As a leader in research in robot-assisted prostate cancer surgery and molecular imaging using PSMA, we are extremely excited about the prospects for SENSEI® to improve outcomes for our patients.”
Lightpoint Medical is a UK company, but thanks to a partnership with the UK trade association ABHI, they have already successfully registered their device with the FDA, and it is currently authorised for sale in the US, which is the world’s biggest medical device market. The ABHI US Accelerator programme works to facilitate entry into market for UK companies.
Paul Benton, the ABHI’s International MD, commented:
“We are thrilled to hear of Lightpoint Medical’s latest achievement in obtaining CE for their ground-breaking miniaturised device.  With cancer rates increasing globally, the device offers a valuable tool allowing surgeons to detect cancer more accurately and is a fantastic example of UK innovation.”
SENSEI® locates cancer-targeted drugs for cancer metastasis detection, such as Prostate Specific Membrane Antigen in prostate cancer surgery. It also locates radioligands such as 99mTc-nanocolloid for sentinel lymph node detection. The CE Mark approval for the wider distribution of the device is for sentinel lymph node detection.
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Oxford University ‘Life And Mind Building’ Given Approval
Date Posted: Monday January 25, 2021
A huge, new ‘Temple to Science’ is to be constructed on the old site of an Oxford University building that was riddled with Asbestos.
A new ‘Life And Mind Building’ for the University of Oxford has been approved by Oxford City Council’s west area planning committee, and is to be built on the corner of South Parks Road and St Cross Road, and will house two departments of the university, Experimental Psychology and a new Department of Biology, combining Zoology and Plant Sciences, reports BBC News.
It is to replace the Tinbergen Building, the former home of the Psychology and Zoology departments, a mid-20th century concrete building that was full of Asbestos.
Council planning committee member Mike Gotch said: “In the middle of a pandemic we don’t need reminding that good science at Oxford can lead to some amazing results.”
The new building will be five storeys tall, and house a basement below ground, and will also connect to existing chemistry labs on South Parks Road.
At the corner of South Parks Road and St Cross Road, there will be a new open public space full of trees and sitting areas, and an amphitheatre that has access to the basements.
There will also be a cafe on the ground floor which members of the public can access, and a set of greenhouses on the roof to accommodate plant studies.
A letter from pro-vice-chancellor Dr David Prout to Oxford City Council in support of the plan said the new Life and Mind Building would be the ‘largest building project the university has ever undertaken’.
Anna Strongman, chief executive of Oxford University Development, said she was ‘extremely proud to be bringing forward’ the university’s first building project ‘in the wake of Covid 19’.
“When complete, it will provide students with a modern, state-of-the-art facility that helps continue the University of Oxford’s legacy as one of the world’s most pre-eminent teaching institutions,” she said.
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Approved Oxford-AstraZeneca Vaccine Administered To First Patient
Date Posted: Sunday January 10, 2021
Following its approval for use in the UK, an 82-year-old man was the first to receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for COVID-19 on the morning of Monday 4 January.
BBC News reports that Brian Pinker, a kidney disease patient on dialysis at Oxford’s Churchill hospital, was the first to receive the jab on Monday morning.
The retired maintenance manager said he was looking forward to spending his 48th wedding anniversary in February with his wife, Shirley.
Next in line for the vaccine was Trevor Cowlett, an 88-year-old music teacher, and the third was Professor Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group and a paediatrician working at the Oxford University Hospitals.
53,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab are being rolled out at six hospital trusts in Oxford, Sussex, Lancashire, Warwickshire, and two in London, then the bulk of the supplies will be sent to over 700 GP-led services and care homes.
The government, which has a goal of administering two million vaccines per week, hopes it will deliver tens of millions of doses within months. It is the second vaccine to be rolled out in the UK, after the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was first given to grandmother-of-four Margaret Keenan on 8 December.
“It isn’t about blame, it’s about how we collectively, as a society, keep this under control for the next couple of months… until the vaccines can make us safe,” said Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
“We obviously have the very positive news this morning of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine started to be rolled out – it’s a triumph of British science that we’ve managed to get to where we are, but this new variant does make it so much harder to control the virus in the meantime.”
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First Batch Of Pfizer/BioNTech Vaccines Arrives In The UK
Date Posted: Monday December 7, 2020
The first batch of a Covid-19 vaccine has been approved by the UK Government and has made its way to the UK.
This announcement from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) comes less than two weeks after joint vaccine manufacturers Pfizer and BioNTech reported that they had requested emergency use authorisations for a Covid-19 vaccine candidate.
The United Kingdom ordered 40 million doses, which due to the two-dose system of the vaccination is enough to innoculate 20 million people, and were the first country in the world to approve the vaccine.
The rapid development, testing and approval of the vaccine is a case study in life science consulting for how to respond to a pandemic on a global scale.
The next step after approval is distribution, and whilst there is a priority list, that may be complicated by the storage requirements of the vaccine. It needs to be stored at -70 degrees Celcius, which means the first vaccinations will take place in hospitals with medical freezers.
The first priority group is believed to be older adult care home residents, their carers with everyone over 80 and frontline workers in health and social care next in line. Given the storage requirements, it is possible these groups will overlap.
After this is everyone over 75, everyone over seventy or are considered extremely vulnerable, everyone aged over 65, everyone under this age with underlying health conditions, and then will continue in decrements of five.
The virus is taken in two doses, 21 days apart, with the immunity building from the 12th day and is complete by the 28th day after inoculation.
Pfizer Requests Emergency Authorisation For Vaccine In US
Date Posted: Wednesday November 25, 2020
Pfizer and BioNTech, whose COVID-19 vaccine has shown a 95 per cent efficacy rate, are submitting an emergency authorisation request to US authorities, which could see the coronavirus vaccine being made available to high-risk populations in the country by mid-December.
BBC News reports that the UK has ordered enough of the vaccine to treat 20 million people, and should have received enough to treat 5 million people by the end of the year, but the vaccine has not yet been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
The companies will submit an emergency use authorisation request to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is also seeking approval for their vaccine in other countries across the world including Australia, Canada and Japan.
Pfizer and BioNTech say they expect to produce up to 50 million doses globally in 2020 and up to 1.3 billion doses by the end of 2021. They also stated they will be ready to distribute the vaccine candidate within hours after authorisation.
The vaccine demonstrated an efficacy rate of 95 per cent in the companies’ phase 3 clinical study, and there were no serious safety concerns observed in the trial participants.
Pfizer and BioNTech’s submission to the FDA is supported by safety data from a randomised group of around 8,000 participants less than 18 years of age. It is also supported by data from around 38,000 trial participants who have been followed for an average of two months following a second dose of the vaccine candidate.
Dr Albert Bourla, Pfizer’s chairman and chief executive, said: “Filing in the US represents a critical milestone in our journey to deliver a COVID-19 vaccine to the world and we now have a more complete picture of both the efficacy and safety profile of our vaccine, giving us confidence in its potential.”
Ugur Sahin, the chief executive and co-founder of BioNTech, said: “As a company located in Germany in the heart of Europe, our interactions with the European Medicines Agency [EMA] are of particular importance to us and we have continuously provided data to them as part of our rolling review process.”
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70 New Businesses Created Via Life Sciences Incubator
Date Posted: Thursday November 19, 2020
MediCity in Glasgow, a life sciences incubator and accelerator, has revealed that it’s helped to create 70 new life sciences and med-tech companies in the past five years.
Insider revealed that the incubator has provided a substantial boost to Scotland’s now-thriving life sciences sector, helping to create 201 new jobs and attracting more than £26 million in private investment.
MediCity has taken an interesting approach to helping life science businesses get off the ground, the news provider explained, focusing its efforts on “coaching evidence-based entrepreneurship”. It has also provided a space for scientists to explore the commercial viability of their ideas without making substantial upfront investments.
The success of the MediCity model has seen similar incubators rolled out across other parts of the UK.
BioCity was behind the incubator and instrumental in adapting the lean start-up methodology, which has been used by businesses all over the world, to make it specific for the life sciences sector.
Speaking to the news provider, Colin Roberts, venture development director of BioCity Group, explained that MediCity has helped businesses across the medtech, health tech, digital health and healthcare and wellness sectors get started.
“By applying scientific rigour to the business process, residents are taught to revise, adjust and fine tune their approach to commercialisation as they would when driving forward the science behind their product,” Mr Roberts said.
The government invested £1 million in MediCity when it was established in 2015, with the figures in terms of the new businesses created and the output of the companies indicating that this was certainly a worthwhile investment in the Glasgow region.
It’s not only in Scotland where the UK’s life sciences sector has been performing well. Cambridge Network recently pointed out that the industry has “risen to the challenges posed by Covid-19 with exceptional innovation and collaboration across industry, clinicians, the NHS, academia and government”.
The publication highlighted the BioBeat annual Movers and Shakers in Biobusiness report, which was recently released and is now in its seventh year.
It picks out 30 leaders in the UK’s bioscience sector who have been particularly resourceful in the past 12 months.
Many of those featured in this year’s report have played an important role in the response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The theme of the 2020 report is “Connection for Strength” and women in the sector have taken particularly high profile positions within the study.
Chair of the UK Vaccine Task Force, trustee of the Francis Crick Institute and managing partner at SV Health Investors Kate Bingham told the publication that seeing so many women profiled in this year’s report will help inspire future generations of scientists to enter the sector.
Speaking about the women profiled, she said: “Each has contributed immensely to the UK’s world-class science, retaining talent, driving economic growth and improving patient care through the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond.”
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University Of Edinburgh Gets Government Funding For Bioscience Research
Date Posted: Monday November 16, 2020
The government has awarded researchers at the University of Edinburgh almost half a million pounds in funding to support their research into cutting-edge biotechnology.
In total, the university will receive £477,015 that will be poured into a project using biotechnology to produce high-value chemicals. These chemicals are suitable for use in a range of industries.
The reason the government is so keen to support this research is because it is expected to lead to sustainable manufacturing processes for many of the chemicals, which will decarbonise the sector and help to meet consumer demand for more sustainable products.
Iain Stewart, UK government minister for Scotland, commented: “This research is vital, reflecting the government’s UK-wide commitment to tackling climate change. We must keep striving to save our environment and I urge others to join us in this year of climate action.”
Professor Louise Horsfall, who is leading the projects at the university, explained that bio-based processes will be key to the development of new and sustainable chemical products.
Professor Horsfall also revealed that the university is working closely with several multinational companies, including Unilever, Ingenza and Diageo, to help develop products to go to the consumer market.
The funding has been awarded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), which last month allocated a total of £14 million in funding across four research programmes with “the ambitious goal of discovering new rules of life”.
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5 Cybersecurity Weaknesses Working From Home
Date Posted: Thursday November 12, 2020
From Thursday 5 November, the UK entered a second national lockdown, meaning that those who have been working from home since the first lockdown at the end of March will continue to do so for some time. Thankfully, the majority of affected businesses will have already overcome the logistics of enabling remote working
But there is still a range of vulnerabilities inherent in a remote workforce pose both GDPR and cybersecurity risks. These should be addressed by life science businesses immediately before they could pose a major risk to a company’s IT infrastructure from cybercriminals and falling foul of GDPR.
Let’s have a look at five of the biggest weaknesses in cybersecurity that could lead to data breaches and cyberattacks on your business.
Lack of enhanced cybersecurity measures
The rush to migrate to remote working in March may have left vulnerabilities when accessing business email accounts and the like. By enabling multi-factor authentication, there will be an extra level of protection and security, which has been implemented by many businesses with remote workers.
Inadequate Cloud Security
Many businesses took advantage of cloud hosting services to allow remote workers to access the company information and files to require to work, but it should not be assumed that the data held in the cloud is secure.
Always pay attention to the service agreements from cloud service providers, especially the security measures and practices in place to better understand the risks involved in using such a service.
Aside from the cloud, there will inevitably be a significant amount of data, that would generally be held on company servers, that has made its way to employee’s personal computers and mobile devices.
Also, keep in mind that any physical confidential documents that employees may require would likely not be stored securely, and now be kept on kitchen tables and WFH setups. Remote workers will also not have access to secure disposal facilities as they would at the office for sensitive documents.
Access To Sensitive Data
Businesses should review the permissions granted to remote workers on servers and cloud services to ensure that they only have access to the information they need. For example, your marketing teams do not need access to sensitive HR files. Check and reassess the permissions granted to your staff.
Focusing Only On The Technical
While there may be many technical solutions already implemented to improve cybersecurity, the human factor should not be neglected.
A remote workforce provides an opportunity for cybercriminals to explore any potential vulnerabilities via phishing scams. To reduce the risks of a cyberattack or data breach, businesses need to ensure that all staff receive appropriate training on cybersecurity and best practice methods.
As remote working is set to be a major factor for businesses, even post-COVID, businesses need to take additional steps to mitigate the risks, ensure GDPR compliance and safeguard their organisations for the future.
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UK GDPR Fines ‘Highest In Europe’
Date Posted: Tuesday November 3, 2020
The UK has imposed the highest fines for breaches of the GDPR legislation of any country in Europe.
That’s according to figures from BuyShares, with TechRound publishing the figures and noting that the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has imposed fines of €132.7 million in total for data protection breaches.
This is more than the total penalties issued by Germany and Italy combined, the news provider added.
It also pointed out that one of the reasons why the UK’s figures were so high was due to a particularly hefty fine levied on Marriott International, after a cyber incident exposed almost 340 million guests’ records. As a result of this incident, the ICO imposed a €110.4 million fine.
In total, GDPR fines across Europe stood at €344 million, although there are more fines for some high-profile companies that have been issued more recently. In the UK, British Airways (BA) has been hit with a €22 million penalty, for instance, while clothing firm H&M Hennes & Mauritz Online Shop was fined €35.2 million this month.
Earlier in October, IT Pro Portal shared the findings of research conducted by Exonar, which found that 39 per cent of GDPR fines issued in the EU were as a result of insufficient security. This was behind the BA fine, in addition to those levied on the likes of DSK Bank and Active Assurances.
Meanwhile, over one-quarter of fines were for unsecured and over-retained data. Marriott, as well as Deutsche Wohnen and 1&1 Telecom, were penalised for this offence.
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1921 Tuberculosis Vaccine May Help Prevent COVID-19
Date Posted: Wednesday October 14, 2020
Trials have begun on a one-hundred-year-old tuberculosis vaccine by UK scientists, to see if it can save lives from the coronavirus.
There has been evidence that the Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) vaccine, developed to fight tuberculosis in 1921, may be able to protect from other infections, and 1,000 people have been recruited to start human trials at the University of Exeter, according to The Guardian.
Millions of UK adults will have had the BCG jab as a schoolchild, but if the trial results are successful, they will need to be vaccinated again to gain protection.
Any enhanced resilience gained by the vaccine will wane over time, meaning anyone who received the BCG jab in their childhood will not have any protection from the virus. There has not been a routine BCG vaccination programme since 2005 due to the very low levels of tuberculosis.
The design of a vaccine is to train the immune system in a very targeted way to provide lasting protection against a specific infection, however, this process will also cause wide-spread alterations to the immune system.
These changes can then heighten the immune system’s response to other infections. Researchers are optimistic that the BCG vaccine could provide some protection against the coronavirus.
However, even if the results are encouraging, the BCG jab is not intended as a long term solution or cure for COVID-19. The vaccine will not train the immune system to produce the antibodies and specialist white blood cells that would recognise and fight off the coronavirus.
“This could be of major importance globally,” Prof John Campbell, of the University of Exeter Medical School, told the BBC.
“Whilst we don’t think it [the protection] will be specific to Covid, it has the potential to buy several years of time for the Covid vaccines to come through and perhaps other treatments to be developed.”
The Exeter trials are part of a global study that includes Australia, the Netherlands, Spain and Brazil, which involves 10,000 volunteers. The trial will be focussing on health and social care workers who have a greater chance of being exposed to the coronavirus, giving researchers faster results to see if the BCG vaccine is effective.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the World Health Organization, is one of the authors of a Lancet article saying the BCG vaccine has the potential to “bridge the gap before a disease-specific vaccine is developed”.
“This would be an important tool in the response to Covid-19 and future pandemics,” the article states.
The main objective is still to develop a vaccine that will specifically target COVID-19, there are currently ten such vaccines in the final stages of clinical research, including the promising Oxford University candidate.
If the BCG trials prove successful, and that the vaccine does provide defence against the coronavirus, it then could provide the world crucial time to develop a more effective and targeted vaccine to ultimately bring the pandemic under control.
It could also be rolled out in the case of future pandemics if it is found to protect against viral infections generally.
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What Impact Has Covid-19 Had On Scientific Research?
Date Posted: Wednesday September 30, 2020
The world of scientific research is one of constant evolution and revolution. The most recent one we have seen has been the implementation of artificial intelligence, machine learning and automation into laboratories.
Over the last decade, there has been a major expansion of automation in these fields, with a study showing almost 9 out of 10 (86-89 per cent) of biomedical papers use at least one form of automation method as part of its research.
However, with the significant effect the Covid-19 pandemic has had to the world of scientific research, will the expansion of automation become even more rapid in the name of safety?
The Shutdown Of Research
In March 2020, there were widespread lockdowns of a range of workplaces, which in the case of several laboratories not researching Covid-19 led to shutdowns of several months. This would have a significant effect on research, as well as the production and sale of lab instruments, telemarketing and the rest of the scientific research ecosystem.
However, many laboratories were able to adapt and incorporate remote services that allowed scientists to continue their research despite social distancing guidelines placing a halt on certain laboratories.
For labs working directly on diagnostics and research into Covid-19, automation became a vital tool to boost capacity, with automation tools being provided to several major lab projects.
The urgency that has been caused by the pandemic meant that automation was needed to scale up fast enough to process the many thousands of samples per day.
Reducing Barriers To Entry
Many scientists have understood for a long time that an automated approach to research is of significant benefit to research, as it allows exacting conditions to replicated and repetitive tasks can be programmed and completed at scale.
There is a major obstacle in the way of many labs incorporating automation and that is the huge cost of many laboratory systems. However, depending on the nature of the experiment, there is the potential of less expensive automated lab instruments that can perform basic research tasks without the need for expensive equipment.
The creative use of open-source electronic modules, basic robotic arms and 3D printers are effective as a basic introduction of automation to laboratories, particularly with the development of increasingly easy to use scripting interfaces.
Automation in the life sciences is only going to expand, particularly in the hunt for a Covid-19 vaccine.
It should be said, however, that at no point will automation and machine learning replace scientists and researchers. Ultimately, with AI and automation, they are only as effective and useful as the data that is provided to them.
To truly take advantage of an automated lab, the rest of the systems for data collection must also be suited to taking advantage of automatically generated data, to generate the types of insights that would make it worthwhile.
Robotic machinery, however, is incredibly flexible and an increased focus on usability has made programming and operating simpler than ever. There is a need for automation we have already seen in the Covid-19 experiments, and it has shown that the pandemic will lead to a leap forward for the automated lab.
VMIC Will Provide UK With A Shot In The Arm
Date Posted: Monday September 28, 2020
The UK’s first dedicated strategic vaccine development and manufacturing facility at science and technology-based Harwell Campus near Oxford has been granted planning permission.
The 7,400 square metre Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre (VMIC) will be a not-for-profit organisation and has taken the unique approach of being constructed while the planning work was going on behind the scenes.
Usually, under normal circumstances, the planning approval and construction of a development of this scale would take years, with construction commencing only when approval had been granted.
However, due to the coronavirus crisis, and the national and international significance of the VMIC, the Vale of White Horse District Council fast-tracked the application process, allowing work to begin before official permission was granted.
Dr Matthew Duchars, chief executive officer of the VMIC said: “This decision by the council gained us three critical months in our race to build a pandemic capable vaccine manufacturing facility, during which time we were able to go from a grass-covered site to completion of the superstructure.”
The government awarded an additional £93 million to the VMIC in May this year, to expand the facility’s capabilities, and fast-tracking the build of the facility to bring forward its operational readiness to 2021, a full 12 months ahead of the originally scheduled date.
VMIC has also invested in more technology to increase its manufacturing capacity 20-fold, to be capable of producing 70 million pandemic vaccine doses in 4-6 months.
The VMIC will be home to up to 6,000 people across 225 organisations, as well as representation for 30 universities.
It will be a pillar organisation within the Harwell HealthTec Cluster, which comprises of 58 organisations which collectively employ 1,250 people.
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Groundbreaking UK Health Projects Receive government Funding
Date Posted: Friday September 18, 2020
The government has awarded £32 million in funding for a number of groundbreaking health projects that are set to help transform NHS healthcare delivery.
According to a UK.GOV press release, the new projects to receive the funding are innovative new technological approaches that aim to transform treatments and care in the NHS by 2050, aiding in helping people’s quality of life as they age.
The six projects to have received the funding include non-Invasive Single Neuron Electrical Monitoring (NISNEM), a walk-through cancer diagnosis, multi-modal hearing aids, robotics muscles, quantum imaging for monitoring of wellbeing and disease in communities, and ‘U-care’ which will exploit new laser, optical fibre and imaging technologies.
Science Minister Amanda Solloway announced the projects as part of a keynote speech on research and development at London Tech Week 2020, following the launch of the government’s R&D roadmap in July 2020, which detailed plans to make the UK attractive to the world’s scientists and researchers to work and live.
Revolutionary cancer diagnosis
InlightenUs, the walk-through cancer diagnosis project, which is led by the University of Edinburgh, is to receive £5.4 million to use a combination of infra-red lasers and artificial intelligence (AI) to produce high-resolution 3D images to help identify diseases in patients quickly.
The project is also in partnership with the universities of Nottingham and Southampton. The new research will be developed for use in hospital wards and GP surgeries and aims to scale up to airport-style X-ray scanners by 2050, which will be able to detect structures often hidden in the human body that can reveal tumours.
emPower, led by researchers at the University of Bristol and will receive £6 million for the development of artificial robotic muscular assistance to help people who have lost muscle capacity, such as patients who have suffered a stroke or who are living with degenerative diseases like sarcopenia and muscular dystrophy.
The use of such highly targeted robotics will overcome the limitations of current wearable assistive technology of regenerative medicine. Usually, these wearables can be bulky and uncomfortable for the user to wear, and often need two people to put on and take off. Users have reported that the movements of the wearables are too slow.
Through using robots, emPOWER will provide life-changing benefits for sufferers, restoring their confidence, independence, and quality of life, all while reducing the cost to the NHS.
MP Amanda Solloway said: “The pioneering projects we are backing today will help modernise healthcare, improving all of our lives now and into the future.”
“Today’s announcement is part of our ambitious R&D Roadmap and underlines our commitment to back our incredible scientists and researchers and invest in ground-breaking research to keep the UK ahead in cutting-edge discoveries.”
The funding is being delivered through the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), part of UK Research and Innovation, through the Transformative Healthcare Technologies for 2050.
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Merck Plans £1.3bn Hub in London
Date Posted: Tuesday August 25, 2020
US pharmaceutical firm Merck & Co have plans to build a £1.3 billion hub in London, opposite London’s King’s Cross Station. The company, known as MSD outside the US, aims to create the new centre close to the Francis Crick Institute, at the heart of the capital’s life sciences cluster.
Pharmaceutical Technology reports that MSD hopes to employ 800 staff on the 25,000 sq. metre site. If Camden Council grants planning permission, then construction could commence in late 2021, with staff moving in by 2025.
Current employees will relocate from MSD’s smaller premises in London and the firm’s offices in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire.
The company wants to create 120 new roles for scientists and researchers at the new hub, which is expected to be named the London Discovery Research Centre.
MSD originally announced plans for the centre back in 2017, which the government hailed as a boost for the economy leading up to Brexit.
The Financial Times reported that while the investment was never in doubt, MSD had trouble finding a suitable location in the area and a desire to be close to the life sciences centre and the Francis Crick Institute.
It will be the first non-US-based lab to perform early-stage research into new medicines, and scientists will be focussing on ageing-related diseases and neuroscience.
However, the plans have faced opposition from conservation groups, such as Save Bloomsbury, who described the planned building as a ‘monstrosity’ and one of the ‘ugliest and most inappropriate buildings proposed in recent times’.
Architect Allford Hall Monaghan Morris said it hoped the build would inspire young people in the area.
David Peacock, MSD managing director for UK and Ireland, said: “We currently view the UK as a world leader in developing science, driven by the long-term emphasis on building a strong research and development infrastructure.
“We look forward to being an active participant in the UK’s bioscience community.”
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Flu Vaccine To Support Second Wave of Covid-19
Date Posted: Thursday August 13, 2020
This winter the number of people reporting flu-like symptoms is predicted to triple. Now, as the colder months are fast approaching, there is concern that the prospect of seasonal flu circulating alongside Covid-19 could potentially overwhelm the NHS, and the government is hoping to take measures to prevent this.
Patrick Vallance, the UK’s Chief Scientific Adviser, commissioned an independent medical science research body, the Academy of Medical Sciences, to evaluate risk and devise potential solutions, which has resulted in the most extensive and comprehensive flu vaccination program in UK history. The government is now planning to vaccinate 30 million people to ease the pressure on the NHS.
“The key thing we identified was that there’s already a big backlog of work in the NHS as a result of Covid-19” said Anne Johnson, the Vice President International at the Academy of Medical Sciences, “so we have to make the NHS resilient to the pressures coming this winter, and one of the key elements of that was getting on top of the flu epidemic.”
In previous years, the NHS flu vaccines have only been available to people over 65 years of age, or people who have underlying health conditions, but this year will be different. From September onwards over 30 million people will be able to receive a free flu vaccination, including everybody over the age of 50.
This huge upscale of the flu vaccination program could be crucial in making sure that hospitals and intensive care units across the UK have sufficient capacity to cope with the rise of coronavirus cases we may see in the autumn and winter months.
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Government Announces Extra University Places
Date Posted: Monday August 10, 2020
Multiple industries, such as travel and hospitality, face major challenges in staying afloat as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown, but not all sectors are seeing setbacks. Some life science sales companies are attracting new investment, and the rising need for people to work in engineering, science and nursing has led the Government to make a very exciting announcement.
On Wednesday 29 July, Universities Minister Michelle Donelan confirmed that the Government has approved over 9,000 additional places at UK universities for engineering, science and nursing courses, to help deliver vital services and support the economy, as well as generating positive outcomes for students and the taxpayer. She said:
“These courses not only deliver some of the best outcomes for students, they will also be integral to driving innovation, helping our public services and building the skills the country needs.”
Bids for extra course places
Institutions were given the opportunity to bid for 10,000 additional places. At least 5,000 of these additional places needed to be for healthcare courses, and the remaining 5,000 were required to represent courses of ‘strategic importance’.
The bids for additional places were assessed on a number of factors, such as the quality of each provider, including rates of continuation and graduate employment rates. All of the bids that met the set criteria were accepted, and in total there were 3,859 eligible bids from 38 different providers for additional places on courses of strategic importance.
Allocating additional places
The additional 9,000 university places are spread over the three important areas of education.
The Government’s aim to drive an increase in science and innovation has seen it encourage people to take up STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) studies and subsequent jobs, and as part of this, 1,300 of the additional 9,000 university places are for engineering courses, 756 places are being added for bio-sciences courses, and almost 500 places for mathematics courses.
The pandemic has only highlighted our nation’s need for nurses, and this is reflected in the additional university places for healthcare courses. The government announcement includes a total of 5,611 places for healthcare courses at universities across England, with 3,803 of the additional places going to nursing courses, all with the aim of supporting the NHS.
Investing in the UK’s future
In June, Boris Johnson stated that investing in skills is crucial to our economic recovery post-coronavirus and the announcement of additional university places and boost to public sector jobs comes after years of cutbacks under austerity.
“We have seen more clearly than ever before the heroic efforts of our public workers during this pandemic,” said Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
He went on to say: “The fantastic teachers, police officers and NHS workers truly are the pride of the nation and embody the spirit of public duty that every one of us can aspire towards.”
The announcement for additional university places in engineering, science and nursing will help thousands of students gain more knowledge that will help them progress in life, will support our people’s health, safety and wellbeing, and will add economic value that will help to rebuild Britain.
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Inverness Medical Technology Company Creates 60 New Jobs
Date Posted: Friday July 24, 2020
Medical technology company ODx is expending its centre for scientific excellence in Inverness and creating up to 60 new roles, which include assembly technicians, lab, office and clinical staff.
According to Insider.co.uk, the new roles will support the development of a device that assists in the detection of the ability of urinary tract infections (UTIs) to resist antibiotics.
This technology is currently undergoing clinical studies and will help patients by getting quicker diagnosis and treatment, which will save NHS costs on hospital admissions, lab time, and reducing antibiotic prescriptions.
Where it previously took two to three days, ODx says it can provide treatment options within an hour.
Trade minister Ivan McKee said: “Scotland is recognised globally for its ground-breaking work in the life sciences sector and our existing investors play a huge role in this, so it’s wonderful to see one of them expanding in this hugely exciting sector.”
The firm currently employs 30 people and was started at Inverness Campus in August 2019 with a £1.75m investment from the Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).
Giles Hamilton, CEO of ODx, said: “We are delighted to start our next phase of recruitment in Scotland. We’re committed to supporting the NHS and communities in the Highlands, Islands and Moray.
“We hope the creation of these positions will also help bolster the local economy as we all tackle the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
There were 172,000 hospital admissions for UTIs in the UK in 2018, with 12,000 of those presenting chronic infections. Without a test for antibiotic resistance, there is unwarranted suffering and avoidable mortality.
ODx is now seeking people who suffer from UTIs to be volunteers and provide urine donations.
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Pandemic ‘Impacting’ Cancer Research Funding
Date Posted: Tuesday July 14, 2020
The effects of the global pandemic can be felt across all areas of society and will be felt for years to come, with the implications of the crisis far-reaching and potentially catastrophic for many.
Where medical research is concerned, coronavirus is affecting funding, which means that future breakthroughs could be prevented for illnesses such as cancer.
Cancer Research UK, for example, has just revealed that it could potentially be forced to slash £150 million annually from its research funding.
The organisation funds approximately 50 per cent of all UK-based publicly funded cancer research, so a reduced income will prevent possible breakthroughs but also have a huge impact on scientists and the research infrastructure that has taken decades to build.
The charity has now called upon the government to work alongside them in order to help bridge this funding gap. It has been suggested that, collectively, medical research charities form an essential part of the solution after the pandemic to help the economy recover, while making sure that the country is still on track to become a global science superpower.
Cancer Research UK Michelle Mitchell said: “Without a way to bridge this funding gap, we will have to make radical decisions about cutting life-saving research, which will severely impact our vision of seeing three in four people survive their cancer within the next 20 years. Ultimately, it will be patients who will suffer the consequences, which is heartbreaking.”
At the start of June, the charity confirmed that all its Race for Life events for 2020 would be cancelled outright because of the pandemic, with Ms Mitchell saying at the time that Cancer Research UK is expecting to see a 20-25 per cent fall in fundraising income this financial year.
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£102 Million Fund Announced For Emerging Life Sciences Firms
Date Posted: Monday June 29, 2020
Epidarex Capital, an international finance firm, has announced that it has raised £102 million for a fund to back emerging life sciences firms in the UK.
Insider reported that £50 million of the funding has come from the government, through the British Business Bank, with the remainder being provided by several universities, as well as the Strathclyde Pension Fund and several global investors.
The universities of Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Manchester and Glasgow have contributed to the fund, which will be used to support the growth of university spinouts and other new life sciences companies.
Sinclair Dunlop, managing partner at Epidarex Capital, commented: “Epidarex can now significantly expand and support its portfolio of UK life science startups with the potential to both transform patient outcomes and generate competitive investor returns.”
The fund will provide between £2 million and £5 million of initial investment for various life sciences companies within the UK.
Chief executive of the UK BioIndustry Association (BIA) Steve Bates told the news provider that Epidarex’s decision to be based in Edinburgh is an exciting opportunity to broaden investment in the country’s life sciences industry outside the south-east.
“Accessing world-class life science venture expertise is key to creating and scaling successful innovative UK life sciences companies,” he asserted.
Last month, the government launched its £500 million Futures Fund, which is designed to support high-growth and innovative businesses in the country to secure the investment they need during the Covid-19 pandemic.
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3D printed magnetic pills promise targeted cancer treatment
Date Posted: Monday June 22, 2020
Researchers at Sussex University looking at the development of 3D printed magnetic pills say they could pave the way for a new era of targeted therapies.
In collaboration with a team at The University of Texas at Austin, the group from Sussex University’s School of Life Sciences has used 3D printing technology and magnetic actuation to prove the concept of a drug release system triggered by magnetic fields capable of inhibiting the proliferation of cancer cells in vitro, according to Laboratory News.
The research is still in the initial phases, but the teams are working towards driving the drug delivery system to the required position in the body with the use of external means such as permanent magnets.
The innovative drug delivery system could help eliminate many of the harmful side effects caused by treatments such as chemotherapy, which damage neighbouring healthy cells, and also help clinicians calculate an optimum dosage of drugs.
In a study on the work published in the August edition of Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces, the group describes how it designed and built a magnetically triggerable device composed of a magnetic polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) sponge cylinder and a 3D printed reservoir containing the anticancer drug 5-fluorouracil.
The 3D printed device would be switched on and off as required through the use of magnetic fields. The study demonstrated how by varying the intensity of the magnetic fields, the internal magnetic sponge will be compressed to different ratios, this releasing different by specific amounts of the drug.
Furthermore, in vitro cell culture studies demonstrated that the stronger the magnetic field applied, the higher the dosage of the drugs released, and the greater inhibition effects on cancer cell growth.
Kejing Shi, doctoral researcher in Sussex University’s School of Life Sciences and lead author of the study said: “The device offers the potential for personalised treatment through the loading of a given drug in a particular concentration and releasing it within different dosage patterns.
“All results confirmed that the device can provide a safe, long-term, triggerable and re-utilisable way for localised disease treatments such as cancer.”
Dr Elizabeth-Rendon Morales, Senior Lecturer in Engineering at the University of Sussex’s School of Engineering and Informatics, said: “Fine-tuning and characterising the device performance allows the system being capable of releasing the drug within different dosage patterns thus, having the potential to offer personalized treatment.”
The study’s co-author Prof. Ali Nokhodchi, added that the device has the potential to be used in treatments for cancer, diabetes, pain, and myocardial infarction.
“This device has the potential to be used in treatments which require variable release kinetics where patients suffer from discomfort or inconvenience if they currently rely on untunable monotonic drug treatment.” He said.
The researchers said in a statement that this kind of smart treatment could be available for patients in hospitals within a decade.
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Future Fund Launches To Support Life Sciences Growth
Date Posted: Friday May 29, 2020
The government’s £500 million Future Fund was launched on May 20th, designed to help innovative and high growth businesses in the UK secure investment to help them navigate their way through the pandemic.
Companies based in the UK can now apply for convertible loans of between £125,000 and £5 million, covering everything from life sciences and technology to the creative industries.
The Fund will be open until September, delivered in conjunction with the British Business Bank. In addition, ministers have set aside £40 million to support innovative start-up firms, including an online farmers’ market platform and a virtual reality surgical training simulator.
And the rules of the Enterprise Investment Scheme have also been amended to provide tax relief to investors in high growth companies, which should protect investors in the Future Fund from losing relief on previous investments made before any investment through the Future Fund.
“Our start-ups and innovative firms are one of our great economic strengths, and they will help spur our recovery from the pandemic,” Rishi Sunak, chancellor of the Exchequer, said.
“The Future Fund will support firms across the UK to get through the pandemic by stimulating investment, so that they can continue to break new ground in technology and innovation.”
Welcoming the announcement, director-general of the British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association Michael Moore said the fund was “hugely significant” and it will help “build the bridge” between the serious challenges we face today through to the recovery period, enabling venture capital-backed businesses to first survive, then thrive.
“The post-COVID economy is likely to look very different to today’s. The global leadership of venture capital-backed companies in the digital, high technology and life science parts of the UK economy will be critical to the UK’s success and this government support will help them to do that,” he went on to say.
Earlier this month, Kate Bingham was appointed chair of the UK’s Vaccine Taskforce, set up by the government to find and manufacture a COVID-19 vaccine.
One of the long-term solutions to controlling the pandemic and saving lives is to accelerate the development of an effective and safe vaccine. Ms Bingham will coordinate the work that has already taken place in order to make sure that when a viable one is found it can be produced in mass quantities and safety administered in the UK and the rest of the world.
Matt Hancock said the government is determined to make use of the world-leading scientists we have in this country to develop a vaccine and Ms Bingham’s work will be critical in this. Her appointment, he went on to say, gives the UK a headstart in the discovery and manufacturing of a successful vaccine.
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Life Sciences Undergraduates Track Biodiversity From Home
Date Posted: Monday May 18, 2020
The 143 first-year BSc Biological Sciences students at Imperial College London would normally have found themselves at this time of year getting ready to explore the natural world, with assignments that would improve their understanding of biodiversity.
But with the coronavirus pandemic, and lockdown measures being introduced, chances to be ‘in the field’ and to study wildlife in their natural habitats vanished. The facility staff, adapting to remote working, quickly adjusted the module to offer a ‘Virtual Field Course’ for students.
The first task, the ‘Dawn Chorus’ project, begins in May 2020, and students, when it is safe to do so, are encouraged to record birdsong when they are out and about, or simply in their own gardens, noting variables such as time of day and weather.
Professor Emma McCoy, Vice-Dean (Education) in the Faculty of Natural Sciences, said: “In these uncertain times we could all be forgiven for feeling cut-off from the outside world. If you’re studying a Life Sciences programme at the College you likely feel doubly unsettled by our sudden alienation from nature.
“This refreshed module is a great example of what remains possible when the right expertise is combined with a focus on offering students enjoyable learning experiences, regardless of the global challenges we face.
“Through our campuses and our remote and online offerings, we look forward to providing current and new students fresh perspectives in their chosen disciplines.”
Students all across the globe are comparing bird diversity in many different habitats by counting the number of species heard in their recordings of bird song. Based on the data collected, species richness and diversity can be compared across different habitats.
Students will be using a single digital platform to upload their bird song data, but have been encouraged to delve deeper into identifying the species behind the audio recordings.
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UK Life Sciences Firms Working To Boost COVID-19 Testing
Date Posted: Monday April 20, 2020
The UK government has set an ambitious target of conducting 100,000 COVID-19 tests per day by the end of April, and the country’s pharmaceutical firms and diagnostics companies are stepping up to do what they can to make that happen.
New business collaborations between some of the country’s largest pharmaceutical businesses, such as AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), are being established to help test people, particularly frontline workers, to find out whether they currently have the virus.
One of the collaborations is between AstraZeneca, GSK and Cambridge University, where a new testing laboratory will be established to carry out 30,000 tests per day by the beginning of May.
Thermo Fisher, meanwhile, which is producing testing kits for COVID-19 and already supplying the UK, is looking at how it can scale up its production efforts to meet increased demand.
Health minister Lord Bethell commented: “We will do everything we can to tackle this virus and we are pooling all the resources from our world-leading life sciences industry, top universities and clinical leaders to overcome this together.”
The government has also set up an online portal where businesses can find out what the most pressing needs are in relation to the fight against COVID-19 and see where they may be able to provide assistance.
In addition, the government is seeking partners to develop an antibody test to determine whether people have immunity to COVID-19 after contracting the virus. Business consortium UK Rapid Test Consortium, which is made up of Oxford University, Abingdon Health, BBI Solutions and CIGA Healthcare, is working on this particular challenge.
Earlier in April, the government announced that the UK had launched the world’s largest randomised clinical trial of potential treatments for COVID-19, with the aim to recruit thousands of patients from across the UK’s hospitals to participate.
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Expansion Of Manchester Life Science Campus Approved
Date Posted: Wednesday April 15, 2020
Life science professionals in the north-west will be able to benefit from new offices, laboratories and facilities after an expansion to Manchester Science Partnerships’ (MSP) campus was given the go-ahead.
MSP was granted approval by Manchester City Council for the 125,000 square foot fourth phase of its Citylabs site on Oxford Road.
The £35 million site will complement the other three phases, which MSP has been building since 2013.
Managing director of MSP Thomas Renn told Place North West the company is confident it will finish Citylabs 2.0, which it is currently building, despite the country being in lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Despite challenges, we are determined to finish that project… we are through the main hump of the construction phase and are due to handover by June,” Mr Renn stated.
While the third phase, which would involve the reconstruction of Old Saint Mary’s Hospital and chapel, were due to be built next, it is expected the construction of Citylabs 4.0, on Hathersage Road, will supersede this.
This will allow existing staff to be relocated and provide medical continuity, MSP confirmed.
For the fourth phase to go ahead, the temporary Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust Diabetes Centre and its adjacent car park would need to be demolished first.
Currently, Citylabs 1.0 provides space for a number of diagnostics, medtech, digital health and genomics businesses. Once the £25 million Citylabs 2.0 is complete, it will be used as QIAGEN’s European Hub for Diagnostics Development.
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UK Starts World’s Largest Trial Of Potential Coronavirus Treatments
Date Posted: Tuesday April 14, 2020
The UK is undertaking the largest randomised clinical trial of potential treatments for COVID-19, with a number of treatments being tested in the hope that one will be able to help the NHS fight the coronavirus outbreak effectively.
According to the Department of Health, almost 1,000 patients from 132 different hospitals across the country were recruited in the first two weeks, with the aim to recruit thousands more in the coming weeks.
Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock said: “The UK is leading the way on research in the race to find treatments and we have now launched the largest trial in the world, pooling resources with our world-leading life science sector.”
He also described the trial as “a major milestone in our battle against Coronavirus”. Among the medications that the trial is testing are Lopinavir-Ritonavir, which is commonly used to treat HIV; Dexamethasone, a kind of steroid that’s used to reduce inflammation in a variety of conditions; and Hydroxychloroquine, which is a malaria treatment.
The medications included in the trial have been recommended by an expert panel who are advising the Chief Medical Officer for England Professor Chris Whitty.
Professor Whitty commented: “The UK has world-leading life sciences and research sectors and, because of our joined-up healthcare and health research system, we have been able to get hundreds of patients involved in this clinical trial in just two weeks.”
The National Institute for Health Research highlighted the importance of continuing to recruit patients to the clinical trials. It pointed to a letter written by the UK’s five most senior doctors, who have asked all NHS Trusts to make every effort to enrol as many patients as possible.
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Funding Secured For London Cancer Hub
Date Posted: Monday April 6, 2020
The London Cancer Hub project has recently received a major boost in the form of £8.4 million in funding for its development.
Labmate revealed that the money is coming from London’s Strategic Investment pot and that it will be used to continue the development of a world-leading campus where organisations focus on finding ways to beat cancer.
The Institute of Cancer Research and the London Borough of Sutton are jointly leading on the London Cancer Hub initiative, with £30 million already having been invested by the borough to deliver new commercial and life science facilities on a 4.8 hectare site.
These new facilities will cover some 100,000 square metres, providing dedicated spaces for research, treatment, training and enterprise.
According to the news provider, the London Cancer Hub will create an estimated 13,000 jobs, around 7,000 of which will be in the life sciences sector and supporting activities. A further 6,200 will be created by the construction work on the site.
The Institute of Cancer Research and the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust are already based at the site. Together they are considered one of the world’s top four centres for cancer research and treatment. It’s hoped that this expansion will help bolster their expertise further.
Construction work has already started on the £75 million Centre for Cancer Drug Discovery, which is part of the Institute of Cancer Research. One of the flagship elements of the new developments here will be the Knowledge Centre, which will be home to labs, offices, business engagement activities, and collaboration and events space.
Leader of Sutton Council councillor Ruth Dombey said that the council was “delighted” to secure the additional funding to support the development at the London Cancer Hub.
“The Knowledge Centre will make an important contribution to supporting effective collaboration between research, treatment and technology at the London Cancer Hub. Additionally, it will help create thousands of new jobs in our borough,” she asserted.
Professor Paul Workman, chief executive of the Institute of Cancer Research, was equally positive about the development. He told the publication that the new investment “represents a big step forward in our plans to create the world’s leading cancer-focused life science district and will help to accelerate our research discoveries and their development for patients”.
Earlier this month, Cancer Research UK highlighted some of the different approaches being taken to cancer research around the country.
Carlos Caldas, a clinician scientist at Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, stressed the importance of collaboration when it comes to finding new treatments for cancer. His team is part of a global collaboration that is creating incredibly detailed and precise pictures of breast cancers that can be studied in virtual reality.
“The thing to say is that science is becoming more and more about team science and that requires people of different backgrounds and different expertise,” he stated.
New developments, like that being carried out at the London Cancer Hub, should help foster even more collaborations in this space, which are likely to benefit many people in the future.
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AI Tool Tackles Bad Data
Date Posted: Monday March 30, 2020
Liverpool-based Impact Data Metrics have launched a powerful artificial intelligence (AI) data research tool to provide the first accurate view of business in the UK life sciences sector, to better inform policy-makers, investors, and companies, reports The Business Desk.
IDM Life Sciences was created to overcome the limitations that have restricted obtaining a full picture of the sector, as the industry and the government say reports have contained inaccurate and out of date information.
The new application makes use of IDM’s machine-learning/AI technologies to take on the deficiencies from data sources. Existing reports typically rely on registered office addresses for companies which are not necessarily the same site where work is actually done.
IDM Life Sciences uses a company’s business database that lists the operating locations of businesses in the UK, which benefits researchers viewing the UK distribution of business on a map.
It also tackles a long-standing issue of reliance on Standard Industrial Classification codes (SIC codes), the indicator used to identify companies. The inherent flaw in SIC codes is that companies self-select which category they belong to, which has led to the inaccurate assignment of companies to the sector.
IDM generates a classification that is much more relevant to the shape of the industry, allowing insights to sub-sectors such as diagnostics, R&D, manufacturing or MedTech, which will provide users of a more detailed understanding of the life science sector.
Neil Murray, a director of Impact Data Metrics, said: “With our extensive knowledge of Life Sciences and using our data analytics expertise within IDM, we have created IDM Life Sciences as the first of our industry sector dashboards to simply and intuitively allow users to investigate the elements of the sector that are important to them.”
IDM Life Sciences presents data in interactive maps, charts and tables with options for users to export data to other formats.
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Are You Still Struggling With GDPR?
Date Posted: Tuesday March 24, 2020
Although it’s been nearly two years since the European GDPR legislation was introduced, one expert believes that many businesses are still struggling to get to grips with GDPR compliance.
Speaking to Contact-Centres, Guy Lloyd, from CySure, explained that many business owners still don’t fully understand the consequences of failing to protect personal data.
He added that this lack of understanding is “proving costly” for businesses of all kinds, but offered some simple advice on what exactly a firm needs to focus on.
“A business must have appropriate security to prevent the personal data it holds being accidentally or deliberately compromised,” Mr Lloyd said. His top piece of advice, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises, is to take advantage of the government-backed Cyber Essentials scheme.
This helps organisations of all sizes ensure that they have the basic technical controls in place to protect themselves – and their consumers’ data – and to mitigate against threats to business operations.
“Being fully Cyber Essentials compliant is said to mitigate 80 per cent of the risks faced by businesses such as phishing, malware infections, social engineering attacks and hacking,” Mr Lloyd asserted.
Writing for Information Age recently, KPMG global privacy lead Mark Thompson pointed out that the UK’s decision to leave the EU could also result in potential future changes that businesses will need to allow for.
He added that this comes at a point when the transfer of data is more global than ever before, which means regulators are struggling to create legislation that governs data transfers in “an ethical and seamless way”.
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£10 Million In Funding For UK Life Sciences Sector
Date Posted: Monday March 9, 2020
Researchers and businesses in the life sciences sector in the UK have been given a boost this month (February), with £10 million in funding now available to help transform patients’ lives, and support and speed up new treatments and cures for diseases like cancer, dementia and strokes.
The Innovation Scholars Scheme, launched by life sciences minister Nadhim Zahawi on the 20th, will be used to support collaboration in life sciences between industry and researchers, as well as supporting secondments for the development of new technologies and techniques to help patients across the NHS as soon as possible.
New healthcare wearable tech is also due to be developed, including smartwatches, monitors, personalised medication based on a patient’s genetic information and diagnostic devices like mobile health units.
Mr Zahawi said: “The UK is home to one of the strongest, most vibrant health and life science industries globally, with discoveries and improvements in health diagnosis transforming people’s lives.
“Collaboration is vital to growing this sector and this new £10 million scheme will support the exchanging of ideas, knowledge and skills between researchers and businesses while encouraging strong collaboration with them, the NHS and the government.”
In addition, six new locations have been given the status of Life Science Opportunity Zone (LSOZ) to help them attract investment from national and international businesses, as well as driving economic growth and delivering improved health.
Experts working in these new Zones will be able to take advantage of government support in order to promote their life sciences parks. Already, huge advances have been made in areas such as genomics, radiology, digital pathology, early diagnosis, manufacturing and clinical research.
A recent report by life science incubator and business collective Biocity, published late last year, found that investment in life science start-ups is expected to grow significantly over the next few years. It’s possible that funds being poured into early-stage ventures could rise to £2.8 million, representing growth of 400 per cent compared to the last five years.
It was also predicted that bigger pharmaceuticals will also be turning increasingly to smaller organisations as sources of innovation in order to address the issue of the decline in productivity where research and development is concerned.
Dr Glenn Crocker, chairman and former chief executive officer of Biocity, recently told Clean Room Technology that there has been a 50 per cent hike in the number of start-ups in the sector.
Google To Move UK Data To US Post-Brexit
Date Posted: Wednesday March 4, 2020
In a move prompted by the UK’s exit from the EU, tech giant Google has announced plans to move all its British data to the U.S., according to.
The move will mean that the data of tens of millions of Brits will be no longer covered by the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), one of the world’s most aggressive data protection rules.
At the moment, Google stores all its British data at their Irish headquarters, but have decided to make the move due to the uncertainty of whether the UK government will continue to follow the GDPR guidelines, or adopt new rules which will affect how personal data is handled.
Google said UK users will still be covered by the EU’s fierce General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which has been in effect since May 2018, and that nothing would change in terms of privacy management.
“Like many companies, we have to prepare for Brexit,” said a Google spokesperson in a statement. ”Nothing about our services or our approach to privacy will change, including how we collect or process data, and how we respond to law enforcement demands for users’ information. The protections of the UK GDPR will still apply to these users.”
The Data Protection Act 2018, which currently supplements the GDPR within the UK, will continue to apply — and the GDPR is set to be incorporated into UK law alongside this Act.
has noted that should the tech giant continue to keep their British data in Ireland, it will be more difficult for UK authorities to recover it in criminal investigations after Brexit.
There have also been concerns over the privacy protections employed by the United States, which are the weakest of any major economy.
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The Rise of AI In Life Sciences
Date Posted: Tuesday February 11, 2020
British market research company, finnCap has recently released a new report that shows the extent to which healthcare companies can all benefit from adopting artificial intelligence (AI). The report, ‘Rude Health’, demonstrates that life sciences companies that have employed AI technologies have become increasingly attractive investment options.
The healthcare sector has to deal with large amounts of data every day, and would be in a particularly strong position to benefit from integrating AI technological approaches. There are many applications for AI in life sciences, from drug innovations, clinical trials, and patient care, in addition to potential improvements in speed and efficiency of company operations.
Many trials are still unsuccessful because drugs fail to show efficacy and safety, and AI is seen as a way of improving the chances of success by screening for various factors that could affect outcomes.
It has been recently noted that AI could be beneficial in the case of the coronavirus. According to Forbes, Colleen Greene, the GM of Healthcare at DataRobot said “AI could predict the number of potential new cases by area and which types of populations will be at risk the most. This type of technology could be used to warn travellers so that vulnerable populations can wear proper medical masks while traveling.”
Looking at the global market for AI tools, the company estimates a current value of around $2 billion, growing to over $30 billion by 2025. This is likely to be driven in part by the increasing entry of large tech companies into the field, with companies like Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Apple having already announced various initiatives in this space.
The ‘Rude Health’ report outlines four key factors why they consider the AI in healthcare sector to be an attractive one for investment.
First, is the advances in computing power and decline in hardware cost, which will continue to increase the capability of AI and reduce the costs of its implementation.
Second, the continually increasing size of data sets generated in the healthcare field, which AI can allow for improved processing and management of data.
Third, is the number of cross-industry partnerships and collaborations in the healthcare sector which have grown and are expected to continue to do so. All of the main big pharma companies have either expressly collaborated with or acquired AI technologies to take advantage of the opportunities AI brings to the table.
Fourth, is the competitive advantage which AI offers in terms of processes and efficiency to the companies employing it, over the companies that are not yet implementing the technology.
The pharmaceutical industry has pointed out that many technologies have promised to drive productivity, but as yet failed to work on a large scale. Despite this, the report believes that AI will become a greater differentiator in the next 5 – 10 years.
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NHS & Novartis Deal ‘To Improve Life Science Sector’
Date Posted: Monday January 27, 2020
The UK’s life science industry could be given a boost over the next few years thanks to a deal being made between the NHS and Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis.
Earlier this month, the pharma giant revealed its intention to join forces with the health service in England in order to develop an effective treatment for cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the UK.
It wants to give NHS patients with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) the opportunity to access a first-in-class cholesterol-lowering drug called Inclisiran.
This treatment is currently in Phase III of clinical development for secondary prevention patients. Once approved by the National Institute for Health Care Excellence (NICE), this would be offered to high-risk patients via a population-level agreement.
Vas Narasimhan, chief executive officer of Novartis, stated: “Novartis has a unique opportunity with inclisiran to open up a new chapter in the treatment of cardiovascular disease, the world’s leading cause of mortality and disability.”
This would have a significant impact on many Brits, considering cardiovascular disease was the second main cause of death in the UK just six years ago.
According to a study entitled ‘Trends in the epidemiology of cardiovascular disease in the UK’, published in the British Medical Journal, mortality as a result of the condition is declining. However, it stated: “CVD burden comes not only from deaths, but also from those living with the disease.”
It reported that CVD mortality dropped by 68 per cent between 1980 and 2013. Despite this, prescriptions and operations for the disease have risen between 2006 and 2016.
Therefore, finding a treatment would not only help patients with the condition, but also ease the burden on the NHS.
The collaboration between Novartis and the NHS will also see a large-scale clinical trial taking place to evaluate the use of inclisiran to very high-risk patients, even before they have had their first cardiac episode.
In addition to this, an industry and academic consortium will be created to look at ways of improving the manufacturing of oligonucleotide medicines, including inclisiran, with regards to increasing efficiency and scaling up.
Mr Narasimhan added: “We’re confident that innovative approaches like this will enable us to accelerate access timelines, deliver on our broader commitment to generating leading scientific evidence, and ensure continuous improvement in manufacturing efficiency and optimisation.”
It is also important to raise awareness of preventative measures to help high-risk patients avoid developing CVD. According to the NHS, this includes giving up smoking, having a diet that is lower in cholesterol, exercising more regularly to lower weight for a healthy heart, and eating nutritional foods to reduce chances of developing diabetes.
Indeed, those who are overweight or obese – with a body mass index of 25 or above – are more likely to develop diabetes and high blood pressure, as well as have high cholesterol. These are the biggest risk factors for CVD, alongside drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, being over 50 years old, and being male.
Those who are particularly at risk of developing CVD should adopt a healthier lifestyle and lose weight. They might also have to take medication, such as statins to lower cholesterol levels, to reduce their risk.
This new medication from Novartis could be an exciting development for the life science marketing world. To find out more about lead generation, get in touch with us today.
Life Science Firms To Benefit From Faster Regulation Processes?
Date Posted: Friday January 17, 2020
The process of achieving regulatory compliance could become faster and more efficient for life science companies following a partnership between Yseop and Litera.
The AI software company that specialises in Natural Language Generation (NLG) is teaming up with the supplier of document drafting technology to make it quicker to bring a new drug to market.
Currently, it takes between ten and 15 years at a cost of $1.5 billion (£1.15 billion) to $2 billion, due to lots of regulatory obligations and red tape. The reliance on manual reporting systems and processes that drain resources and take a lot of time is to thank for this long-winded process.
Litera director of product management Matt Miller said: “Patients are waiting. This is the most important driving factor we bear in mind when working with life science companies.”
He added: “We are always looking for technologies that can help them complete submissions faster.”
Litera will help speed-up the creation, review, formatting and standardisation of documents, while Yseop’s AI expertise will help streamline the regulatory submission procedure.
Its AI-powered intelligent automation can provide reporting solutions for medical writers based on NLG technology, with the data-heavy documents making up much of the time wasted.
This partnership could have a big impact on the UK’s life science industry after a report by BioCity, published in CleanRoom Technology, revealed early-stage ventures within the sector could receive a boost of £2.8 million over the next few years.
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Male Scientists ‘More Positive About Medical Research’
Date Posted: Thursday January 9, 2020
Men working in the life science industry are more likely to be positive about their achievements than their female counterparts.
This is according to a new article published in The British Medical Journal (BMJ), which looked at more than 100,000 studies between 2002 and 2017.
First author Marc J Lerchenmueller, assistant professor at the University of Mannheim in Germany and of Yale University School of Management, wrote: “We found that articles in which the first and last author were both women were significantly less likely to use positive terms to describe research findings compared with articles in which the first and/or last author was a man.”
It was added: “Gender differences in the positive presentation of research findings were largest in high impact journals.”
Health Exec reported the findings, which showed 12.1 per cent of all clinical trials and 11.7 per cent of life science articles used one or more of 25 positive words.
The positive word that was most included most often was ‘novel’, which was used 59.2 per cent more frequently with male-authored research compared with female-produced work.
In addition to this, ‘unique’ was used 43.8 per cent more by male authors, while ‘promising’ was utilised 72 per cent more frequently by men.
Additionally, authors have become more optimistic over the years, with positive wording having increased by 80 per cent between 2002 and 2017, rising from nine per cent to 16.9 per cent.
There could be more articles with positive words in them in the future, as investment into early-stage ventures in the life science sector is set to increase to £2.8 million, according to BioCity.
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Chinese Firm Announces Investment In UK Biotech
Date Posted: Friday December 20, 2019
A speciality pharmaceutical company from China – China Medical System (CMS) – has announced that it intends to invest up to £25 million in UK biotech and life sciences startups in the next five years.
CMS is working alongside AstraZeneca and Cambridge Judge Business School, which means the life sciences and biotech sector in and around Cambridge in particular is likely to benefit from the inflow of investment.
As a result of this collaboration, CMS is financing a programme office in Cambridge and will use this to help it find innovative startups to put money into.
This marks an extension of the collaboration between AstraZeneca and Cambridge Judge Business School, who have been working together since 2015. The pharmaceutical giant has provided mentoring to many biotech and life sciences researchers and innovators in recent years.
It has also worked with the educational establishment to promote enterprise and support entrepreneurship across a number of the programmes it runs.
The two organisations have used workshops, training and mentoring to support approximately 250 innovators and 40 startups in the life sciences sector.
Working with CMS will add another string to their bow, allowing them to “bridge a gap in funding for early stage biotech and life sciences ventures in the UK”. The collaboration will also help relevant companies to gain greater access to international markets, particularly China.
Supporting the UK’s life sciences industry is important, because it’s an area that could provide significant growth for the economy following Brexit.
Earlier this year, an article for Med-Tech News suggested that the medical technology sector could be an essential area of the economy for the country post-Brexit. It cited comments from Dr Mahiben Maruthappu, co-founder of the NHS Innovation Accelerator, who believes medtech could “prop up” the UK economy after Brexit.
He wants to see the country become a powerhouse in healthcare by focusing on exponential technologies. He has also argued that the UK could become a destination of choice for tech firms, with investment coming into the sector after the country leaves the EU.
One of the reasons why the UK is well-placed to take up this mantle is the NHS and its “unparallelled health data going back 70 years”.
While Brexit may still be on everyone’s minds, there’s a general election to come first.
A recent article in Med-Tech News explored what the different parties’ manifestos mean for healthcare and life sciences,
It cited comments from Mark Wasmuth, CEO of Global Medical Nomenclature Agency, who told GlobalData that, where the NHS is concerned, both the Liberal Democrat and Conservative manifestos have just a two out of ten benefit, while the Labour manifesto has a six out of ten benefit.
He stated that, while the Conservative’s election pledge to ‘Get Brexit Done & Unleash Britain’s Potential’ sounds impressive, there is little mention of medical. In fact, Mr Wasmuth said “medical was only mentioned in relation to doctors’ pensions”.
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Early-stage Life Science Investment To Rise To £2.8m
Date Posted: Wednesday December 18, 2019
The life sciences industry could expand exponentially over the next few years, as investment in start-ups is expected to grow significantly.
According to a report by BioCity, a life science incubator and business collective, the finances being ploughed into early-stage ventures within the industry could increase to £2.8 million. This represents a growth of 400 per cent compared with the previous five years.
It was predicted this increase in funding could occur as more significant venture funds are set to emerge, being able to make large investments into life science start-ups.
Chairman and former chief executive officer of BioCity Dr Glenn Crocker told Clean Room Technology there has been a 50 per cent increase in the number of companies emerging in the sector.
He added this will have an impact on the amount of life science space required for these businesses, saying: “We estimate that this cohort of businesses alone could require 1.4 million square feet of specialist facilities over the next five years. One consequence of this demand growth is that real estate investors are increasingly attracted to the sector.”
BioCity also noted that large pharmaceuticals will increasingly use small companies as sources of innovation to balance out a decline in productivity for research and development.
This comes after partner and life sciences specialist at legal firm CMS Carina Healy emphasised the opportunities becoming available in the life sciences industry in Scotland lately.
Speaking with The Scotsman, she said the country is making a big impact in stratified medicine with genomics, while Scotland is also home to good-quality academic research and businesses creating new treatments that can be used by the NHS.
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Growing Range Of Jobs For Life Sciences Professionals
Date Posted: Thursday December 12, 2019
The UK’s life sciences sector is continuing to grow, with a wider variety of roles available to those in the profession, new research has shown.
Bdaily reported on the figures from research by the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) and Vacancysoft, which revealed that demand for professionals in the country’s life sciences sector increased by 25 per cent in 2019.
What’s more, there are a growing variety of opportunities for those in this industry. Although pharmaceutical companies still account for the majority of positions, growth of 35 per cent was recorded in the number of roles in biotechnology firms.
Meanwhile, the number of vacancies in clinical research organisations also climbed by 25 per cent this year, compared to 2018.
Research and development (R&D), as well as quality assurance, were named as two of the areas with the biggest increase in hiring.
Chief executive of APSCo Ann Swain commented: “The UK life sciences sector is the most productive in the G7, and it’s encouraging to see that the government is fully committed to supporting its growth and by default, jobs in the sector.”
James Chaplin, CEO of Vacancysoft, added that the country’s life sciences industry contributes more than £70 billion to the UK’s economy annually, as well as supporting over 240,000 jobs.
Earlier this month, BioCity’s Life Science Start-Up Report revealed that there has been “unprecedented growth” for companies in the sector in the last five years, thanks in part to changes to the sector’s funding landscape.
In the past five years, there has been a four-fold increase in investment in early-stage ventures, compared to the previous five year period.
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‘Big Opportunities’ For Scotland’s Life Sciences
Date Posted: Monday November 11, 2019
The life sciences sector is one that the UK government is placing a great deal of emphasis on. The Scotsman recently pointed to a speech by UK life sciences champion Sir John Bell, in which he identified three areas where the UK has the potential to be a world-leader: genomics, digital health and early diagnosis.
Speaking to the newspaper, partner and life sciences specialist at legal firm CMS Carina Healy said that these areas “play into what we do well in Scotland and present very big opportunities”.
The news provider linked stratified medicine with genomics, one of the sectors where Scotland is forging ahead.
In Scotland, there’s the perfect blend of cutting-edge academic research and innovative companies developing new treatments for use on the NHS.
The Stratified Medicine Scotland Innovation Centre based at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow was cited as one example of where experts across academia, industry and the NHS are coming together to create new treatments that will benefit patients.
Ms Healy explained that decoding the human genome, and being able to do so cost effectively, was just the first stage of innovations in this sector. “With further research we will be able to know how to make best use of this data to deliver more effective health care for individual patients,” she asserted.
However, chief executive of the Scottish Lifesciences Association (SLA) Scott Johnstone warned last month that one of the biggest challenges to the sector’s growth is a lack of regulators.
He explained in an interview with the Scotsman that the number of notified bodies who can carry out the necessary regulatory checks on medical innovations has fallen significantly, both in the UK and across the EU as a whole. This is making it more difficult for businesses to get products through the necessary regulatory hurdles, he stated.
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Government Pledges Funds For UK Life Sciences
Date Posted: Wednesday October 16, 2019
The UK government has announced a £200 million cash injection for the country’s life sciences sector. In a statement, the government explained that the aim is for the money to help “mobilise £400 million of private investment to allow science companies to scale in the UK,” PMLive reported.
It also acknowledged that the life sciences sector is one of the most productive in the UK and contributes 250,000 of the highest value jobs in the nation.
Speaking about the funding boost, Boris Johnson explained that much ground-breaking research has been carried out in the UK throughout history in the field of life sciences. His aim is for this research to be developed and commercialised in the UK, rather than overseas.
“This is part of my vision to have a vibrant post-Brexit economy fuelled by science and technology. The life sciences is a key component of this and we must continue to implement the life sciences industrial strategy,” the prime minister asserted.
Alongside the new funding from the government, the British Business Bank is also set to provide a boost to the sector. It unveiled a new dedicated fund that’s specifically to support the growth and development of UK-based health and life sciences firms.
Brain Tumour Research was one of the organisations that welcomed the announcement. However, it did point out that at least some of the funding could simply be used to replace the money from the European Investment Bank that will disappear once the UK exits the EU.
It also noted that the government’s focus on life sciences organisations seeking funding from external sources is “interesting” and something that the charity already advocates and encourages its Centres of Excellence to do.
Speaking to the BBC recently, a former special adviser to three UK science ministers said that Dominic Cummings, Mr Johnson’s chief adviser, is the main reason behind the government making science a priority.
Stian Westlake told the news provider that, after Brexit, science and technology funding is Mr Cummings’ priority. However, this isn’t the first time that the country’s life sciences industry has been the focus of government support in recent years.
Mr Johnson’s announcement is following on from high levels of investment promised by his predecessors. Since 2010, successive governments have promised an additional £7 billion for UK research and development activities by 2022.
Professor James Wilsdon, of Sheffield University, told the news provider that the Johnson government seems to be more enthusiastic about supporting the life sciences sector than previous governments.
However, he pointed out that UK universities and researchers currently have access to billions, as well as access to other research, under the current arrangement with the EU. That’s something that’s expected to change with Brexit, particularly if the UK leaves with no deal in place.
If access to that funding dries up, the money from the government will become all the more important to the sector.
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HIE Invests £1.75m Into Inverness Life Science Centre
Date Posted: Sunday October 13, 2019
Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has revealed it will invest £1.75 million into life science research at a new centre in Inverness.
Life science company ODx will use the medical technology research facility to develop a test to determine if urinary tract infections (UTIs) can resist antibiotics.
This could help to diagnose patients faster and provide them with treatment as soon as they need it. This is because UTI tests are generally conducted in hospital laboratories, typically taking two or three days for the results to get back to the patients.
However, ODx wants to create a point of care testing solution that can be used by GPs, specialist clinics and emergency departments. This will reduce laboratory use, as well as cut down on hospital admissions and limit the antibiotic prescriptions that are handed out.
James Cameron, HIE’s head of life sciences, said: “This exciting new facility fits well with the collaborative and innovative ethos of Inverness Campus. We look forward to working with the company on implementing its plans and to the benefits this will bring, notably the creation of highly-skilled jobs.”
HIE believes the investment will create 30 jobs as a result, from microbiologists and engineers to data scientists and lab technicians.
ODx has confirmed a lease for ten years for lab space in Solasta House, which is a life sciences building on Inverness Campus. This has also been developed by HIE, together with £1.5 million finance from the European Regional Development Fund.
The new centre was opened earlier this year, with Deputy First Minister John Swinney officially opening the 2,460 square metre facility on May 20th.
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MRC Funding Boosts UK’s Life Science Industry
Date Posted: Monday September 23, 2019
The Medical Research Council (MRC) has unveiled a new report that shows its funding schemes have helped boost the life sciences industry in the UK since 2008.
Its MRC Translational Research 2008-2018 Evaluation Report revealed that more than £530 million of financing has resulted in MRC-linked spinouts that have gone on to secure £1.1 billion in investment from the private sector. This has allowed the industry to create new therapies and produce medical devices that have helped the healthcare sector over the last ten years.
Professor Dame Anna Dominiczak, MRC’s Health Innovation Champion and vice principal and head of the College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences at the University of Glasgow, said: “The MRC has played a leading role in developing a continuum of funding to support UK life scientists take research from the laboratory and through the ‘valley of death’, so investors and funders can turn their brilliant ideas into health and economic benefits.”
She went on to say: “The MRC’s translational funding has the biggest impact in areas where we have created new markets in difficult or emerging areas of research, such as advanced therapies, like gene and cell therapies.”
The MRC’s funding schemes for translational research developed in response to the 2006 Cooksey review of UK health research funding, which found more research was required to launch products through the ‘valley of death’, with the majority of projects failing to progress from theory to practical application.
The recent report, which was commissioned by the MRC for UK Research and Innovation, looked at the outcomes of the translational research between 2008 and 2018.
Its findings revealed a third of projects that are financed through translational funding initiatives go on to gain further funding to help them progress.
The results also showed 134 spinouts – or between three and six per cent of all new life science businesses in Britain since 2008 – came from projects funded by the MRC, and 78 of these were from translational researching funding schemes.
Thirty-one of these spinouts managed to secure £1.1 billion in investment over the decade, representing 41 per cent of all funding given to UK life science industry start-ups since 2008.
Professor Dominiczak went on to say: “Through this evaluation, the MRC now has the evidence upon which to shape the case for, and design of, future funding mechanisms to ensure the UK remains at the forefront of this essential scientific discipline.”
An example of the impact of MRC’s translational funding can be seen with the development of a new gene therapy for adenosine deaminase deficiency (ADA) severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID). This rare immune disorder, which is often called ‘bubble boy disease’, means babies are born with virtually no immunity, so they are unable to fight off even the smallest infection.
The MRC provided £2.1 million in funding for work to improve the gene therapy, which has gone on to treat 20 patients during a clinical trial.
Indeed, The New England Journal of Medicine revealed the eight children involved in the study are now able to produce immune cells to help them combat everyday germs and infections.
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AI Output ‘Needs To Be Protected’ In R & D
Date Posted: Tuesday September 10, 2019
Research and development (R&D) activities in the life sciences sector increasingly involve artificial intelligence (AI).
Med Tech News recently reported that a team from the University of Surrey, led by Professor Ryan Abbott, has successfully filed the first ever patent applications for inventions that have no human inventor, because they were autonomously created by AI.
Professor Abbott told the news provider that patents are particularly important in the life sciences sector, and especially so in the area of drug discovery. He also pointed out that AI has become increasingly important in R&D, carrying out a range of tasks, some of which “can be the foundation for patent filings”.
And professor Abbott believes that AI’s use in R&D is only set to grow as it becomes more sophisticated.
“It is an exciting prospect that AI may be able to improve the efficiency of some historically very inefficient practices. Pharma and tech companies are likely to develop AI to automate more and more of the drug discovery process,” he asserted.
However, he noted that as more and more patents are filed for discoveries or inventions with AI involvement, the legal rules surrounding what could be protected may change. Professor Abbott stressed the importance of protecting what AI produces.
“It is important to protect the output of AI to encourage investment in inventive AI, which I think will lead to all sorts of exciting developments,” he said.
Although the EU has said that a human has to be at the heart of an invention, UK law is slightly different in that it stipulates the owner of the AI that creates computer-generated works can apply for copyright protection.
Professor Abbott warned that if this protection of intellectual property is lost because something is created by an AI rather than a person, it could mean there aren’t enough incentives to develop future products in this way.
The latest global life sciences outlook produced by Deloitte highlighted AI as one of several “transformative technologies” in life sciences. According to the organisation, AI used in this sector “has the potential to revolutionise diagnoses, treatment planning, patient monitoring and drug discovery”.
Other technologies named under the same banner include the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), Software as a Medical Device (SaMD), blockchain and DIY diagnostics and virtual care.
Deloitte noted that these disruptive technologies have great potential, but have yet to be introduced on any meaningful scale because many companies are still at the “experimental stage”.
“To realise their full potential and keep pace with technology’s rapid evolution, regulation of these technologies needs to become more agile,” the report stated.
As professor Abbott and his team have shown, AI can certainly be used to make meaningful discoveries and develop viable products, which means regulation and legal systems will need to work hard to catch up to developments in this area.
With the life sciences sector the focus of a sector deal under the UK’s Industrial Strategy, it may be that the country looks at how it can take the lead in this area.
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AI Output ‘Needs To Be Protected’ In R & D
Date Posted: Tuesday September 10, 2019
Research and development (R&D) activities in the life sciences sector increasingly involve artificial intelligence (AI).
Med Tech News recently reported that a team from the University of Surrey, led by Professor Ryan Abbott, has successfully filed the first ever patent applications for inventions that have no human inventor, because they were autonomously created by AI.
Professor Abbott told the news provider that patents are particularly important in the life sciences sector, and especially so in the area of drug discovery. He also pointed out that AI has become increasingly important in R&D, carrying out a range of tasks, some of which “can be the foundation for patent filings”.
And professor Abbott believes that AI’s use in R&D is only set to grow as it becomes more sophisticated.
“It is an exciting prospect that AI may be able to improve the efficiency of some historically very inefficient practices. Pharma and tech companies are likely to develop AI to automate more and more of the drug discovery process,” he asserted.
However, he noted that as more and more patents are filed for discoveries or inventions with AI involvement, the legal rules surrounding what could be protected may change. Professor Abbott stressed the importance of protecting what AI produces.
“It is important to protect the output of AI to encourage investment in inventive AI, which I think will lead to all sorts of exciting developments,” he said.
Although the EU has said that a human has to be at the heart of an invention, UK law is slightly different in that it stipulates the owner of the AI that creates computer-generated works can apply for copyright protection.
Professor Abbott warned that if this protection of intellectual property is lost because something is created by an AI rather than a person, it could mean there aren’t enough incentives to develop future products in this way.
The latest global life sciences outlook produced by Deloitte highlighted AI as one of several “transformative technologies” in life sciences. According to the organisation, AI used in this sector “has the potential to revolutionise diagnoses, treatment planning, patient monitoring and drug discovery”.
Other technologies named under the same banner include the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), Software as a Medical Device (SaMD), blockchain and DIY diagnostics and virtual care.
Deloitte noted that these disruptive technologies have great potential, but have yet to be introduced on any meaningful scale because many companies are still at the “experimental stage”.
“To realise their full potential and keep pace with technology’s rapid evolution, regulation of these technologies needs to become more agile,” the report stated.
As professor Abbott and his team have shown, AI can certainly be used to make meaningful discoveries and develop viable products, which means regulation and legal systems will need to work hard to catch up to developments in this area.
With the life sciences sector the focus of a sector deal under the UK’s Industrial Strategy, it may be that the country looks at how it can take the lead in this area.
If you need assistance with life science telemarketing, get in touch with us today to find out how we can help.
Call For Life Sciences Roles To Go On Critical Jobs List
Date Posted: Friday August 2, 2019
The UK has big ambitions in the area of life sciences, but there have been calls from within the industry for the government to do more to help attract highly skilled life sciences workers.
Pharma Times highlighted the findings of a report from the Migration Advisory Commission (MAC), which recommended that a number of research roles within the field of life sciences should be added to the critical jobs list.
According to its report, jobs including biological scientists and biochemists should be added to this list. The news provider added that the current migration system in the UK is restricting businesses in the UK, who struggle to compete for life sciences workers with the most sought-after skills.
There are also concerns within the industry that Brexit will make the skills shortage even worse. All of this is at odds with the government’s Life Sciences Industrial Strategy, which was published in November 2017.
The publication also pointed out that the skills shortage in the UK’s life sciences industry is being made worse by the lack of young people who are taking qualifications in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects.
The skills people learn by studying STEM subjects are important for innovation in a host of sectors, not just in the area of life sciences.
Pharma Times suggested that life sciences firms need to take a new approach to finding and retaining talent in the sector, which means going beyond simple job postings and using a more marketing-minded approach to finding new employees.
This means engaging on social media, and taking an employee-centric approach to recruitment. Organisations need to effectively communicate what the life sciences sector can offer people, both on a personal and professional level.
The news provider also pointed out that the life sciences sector makes the skills shortage worse for itself because it “relies heavily on recruiting people with highly technical knowledge and direct role experience”. According to the publication, “talent leaders need to think more broadly, otherwise they will miss the opportunity to hire talented people”.
There’s a lot going on in the UK’s life sciences industry at the moment. The government launched its latest Industrial Strategy challenge earlier this year, which placed a focus on disease detection.
Under the new challenge, businesses and charities are expected to donate money and work together on the Accelerating Detection of Disease programme.
As part of this programme, the government plans to recruit five million healthy people who will share their health data to help scientists and researchers invent new ways to detect diseases like cancer, dementia and heart disease.
The hope is that researchers will be able to find ways to detect these diseases before any symptoms present. By identifying them early, the hope is that they will also be able to find treatments that could prevent the diseases from developing.
Professor John Ball, leader of the programme, commented: “The ability to identify people at risk or suffering from early forms of disease with greater precision will have a profound impact on how we develop diagnostics and new ways to treat disease.”
If you’re looking for assistance with life science marketing, get in touch with us today.
New Digital Health MSc To Support Life Sciences
Date Posted: Wednesday July 10, 2019
Britain’s life science industry will have scientists with a broader range of skills working for it, after The University of Bristol recently announced its plans to introduce a new Digital Health masters degree.
The Russell Group university revealed the MSc course will begin in September 2020, with funding for the course coming from Health Data Research UK.
It will be among six educational establishments in Britain offering health data science master’s programmes to develop professionals with greater skills in this area.
The Digital Health master’s will include courses on responsible innovation, healthcare systems, statistics, informatics, application of digital technology on major diseases, and a full data science programme.
Professor Peter Diggle, director of training at Health Data Research UK, said: “[This] will enable life sciences or quantitative sciences graduates to be effective members of health data research teams.”
The master’s will interest life sciences graduates and medical students who want to improve their quantitative skills. Equally, it could appeal to those studying maths, physics or statistics who want to expand into the life sciences industry.
Professor Ian Craddock at the University of Bristol added: “This broad disciplinary intake is designed to produce digital health experts who are also strong team players – equipped with the skills to work in multidisciplinary environments.”
The MSc could help boost the life science industry in the UK, which Baroness Blackwood will be pleased about after she emphasised the importance of continually developing the sector.
Speaking at the Association of British HealthTech Industries (ABHI) UK Market Conference last month, she said “this is not time to get complacent”.
To help the industry prosper, get help with your life science telemarketing by giving us a call today.
GDPR: How Are Businesses Coping One Year On?
Date Posted: Monday July 8, 2019
It has been one year since the GDPR legislation came into force in the EU and there has been much talk about whether it’s working and how effective it has been.
Money Week recently explored what impact GDPR has had on businesses and consumers. The publication highlighted the significant increase in data breaches that have been reported to the authorities since GDPR’s introduction.
In the UK, the total number of reported breaches so far in 2019 is estimated to be around 36,000, far exceeding the annual rate of 20,000 that was recorded previously.
The news provider also pointed out that, across Europe, 206,000 cases were recorded in the first nine months after GDPR came into force. These cases included 95,000 complaints and 65,000 notifications of data security breaches.
But while there have been many reported data breaches, the number of businesses to receive fines under GDPR is very small. In fact, despite 11,468 data breach cases being resolved in the first year of GDPR, just 29 resulted in fines.
Among the biggest fines issued in this time have been a €50 million fine issued to Google by the French authorities, and £500,000 to Facebook and the same amount to Equifax. However, the news provider notes that while there have certainly been some large fines, the vast majority of companies that report breaches are escaping without financial penalty.
CPO Magazine recently looked at how small businesses in particular have been coping with the GDPR rules, noting that they brought about “a huge shift in the way data is handled by businesses”.
However, the publication cited research conducted by Hiscox, which found that nine out of ten small business owners don’t know the main rights that GDPR gives to consumers concerning their data.
What’s more, over half of these business owners are less aware now of what GDPR means than when it was first introduced. The Hiscox survey found that 39 per cent of small business owners are unaware of what kinds of businesses need to comply with GDPR.
The news provider pointed out that, given the low rates of awareness, it’s fair to assume that many businesses therefore still aren’t compliant with their GDPR obligations.
However, the article also noted that, rather than worrying about not being compliant, businesses should take the steps they need to bring their organisations in line with GDPR. It stressed that this is “an ongoing project rather than a one-off job”.
The publication added: “Some of the key GDPR actions being taken by businesses include cleaning up their databases and ensuring that they have consent from everyone whose data they possess.”
One of the most noticeable changes for consumers is the rise in opt-in cookie pop-ups on websites, rather than a notification simply telling them that cookies are being used on a website.
Businesses in all areas of work need to be aware of their GDPR obligations, including those in the life sciences industry. If you need assistance with your life science sales pipeline, get in touch with us today
New Life Sciences Research Alliance Launches In NI
Date Posted: Monday July 1, 2019
A new collaboration between local government, academic, clinical and life sciences constituencies has resulted in the forming of the Health Innovation Research Alliance Northern Ireland (HIRANI), designed to deliver the wealth and health potential of the country’s life sciences ecosystem.
The alliance will serve as a voice for the health and life sciences sector, which will allow it to promote itself on an international scale, while driving collaboration and connectivity, and providing an entryway for external collaborators looking to partner with the region.
Steve Bates, chief executive of the BioIndustry Association, welcomed the news, saying that the organisation will bring together research bodies, healthcare providers, supply chains and companies to identify and support the opportunities that abound within the life sciences ecosystem in NI.
He went on to say that its launch is even more proof of just how well the sector is doing in the region, as well as showing robust the industry throughout the entire UK is doing as well.
Mike Thompson, chief executive of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), made further comments, saying: “Northern Ireland has long punched well above its weight in terms of life sciences innovation, particularly in the fields of respiratory disease, heart disease and cancer.
“HIRANI will make it easier for its network of universities, industry, and health organisations to work together to achieve improved health and social care outcomes for Northern Ireland’s 1.8 million residents, as well as sustained economic growth for the region.”
The alliance itself aims to drive commercial research and innovation activity across NI by addressing complicated barriers to allow research to be translated into patient benefits, as well as value for the economy.
It also intends to exploit the capability of clinical trials and infrastructure in order to create a greater number of industry-focused opportunities, working alongside health and social care on clinical trials, research and development, and digital health initiatives in both Northern Ireland and further afield.
Last month (May), research carried out by WPI and published at the ABPI annual conference, revealed that the science and technology industry (which the life sciences sector is strongly associated with) could be responsible for new growth worth an additional £14 billion a year to the economy come the year 2025.
Life sciences itself could have the biggest impact, adding an extra £8.5 billion of growth, as well as an extra 31,400 jobs.
Off the back of the report, the ABPI called on the government to increase its efforts to hit targets of 2.4 per cent of GDP being spent on research and development by 2027.
It must also do all it can to close the growing skills gap in the life sciences industry, with some highly skilled scientific roles potentially moving to other places around the world if the crisis isn’t addressed urgently.
UK Life Sciences ‘Needs To Avoid Complacency’
Date Posted: Wednesday June 19, 2019
The UK’s life sciences sector has achieved remarkable things in recent years and continues to go from strength to strength. However, it’s important that those within the sector don’t get complacent.
This is the opinion of Baroness Blackwood, who delivered a speech to the Association of British HealthTech Industries (ABHI) UK Market Conference earlier this month.
In her presentation at the event, Baroness Blackwood pointed out that the UK currently has a world-leading life sciences hub that received the highest level of foreign direct investment in Europe for its projects, as well as a biotech sector that’s continuing to grow rapidly.
While she praised what’s been achieved, she stressed that “this is no time to get complacent”.
“I recognise how globally mobile this industry is. If the UK does not remain competitive, you will move to Boston or Singapore, and we will lose jobs and investment,” she asserted.
Healthtech is an area that has huge potential, and one that could benefit patients in the NHS as innovative technologies are introduced. Encouraging firms to develop technology for this market is mutually beneficial, because the NHS gets access to new technology while the firms developing the technology have a ready-made market.
“My ambition is for the NHS to build genuine, deep, trusting partnerships with industry that create long-term value,” Baroness Blackwood stated.
Another area of growth within the UK’s life sciences industry is personalised medicine. A report from Santander and Make UK identified this as a key area of growth, along with wearable technology, diagnostic devices and bionics.
If you need assistance with life science telemarketing, get in touch with us today.
Future Of UK Life Sciences In Personalised Medicines
Date Posted: Friday May 31, 2019
The UK’s life sciences sector has been going from strength to strength and it’s one of the areas that is covered by the government’s industrial strategy.
A new report has identified the main areas of growth for the industry, with personalised medicines one of the top areas of focus. The others are wearable technology, diagnostics devices and bionics.
The research, produced by Santander and Make UK, revealed that the life sciences sector in the country grew by £6.8 billion in 2017. What’s more, nearly 300 new businesses entered the industry in that time period.
Economist at Make UK Francesco Arcangeli commented: “The UK life sciences sector is in a fantastic position to be able to take advantage of both current and future health trends and we expect to see the sector continue its growth over the next decade.”
Among the specific areas to watch are orthopaedics 3D printing, personalised prescribed medicine and smartwatches and activity trackers.
The report also found that the country’s life sciences industry is in a good position to take advantage of wider trends, such as the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the ageing population in the UK and many other developed nations.
However, one area that needs greater investment is cyber security. This is particularly relevant when it comes to smart devices that gather patient data. Companies involved in this area should make sure they invest in their cyber security, as well as ensure that any products they develop are also well protected.
With the life sciences industry set to grow, there could be more companies looking for assistance with their life science sales pipeline. Contact us today if your business is in this position.
MP: Supporting Life Sciences Will Boost UK Economy
Date Posted: Thursday May 23, 2019
Providing adequate support to life science research and development (R&D) will have the knock-on effect of providing a “major boost” to Britain’s economy.
This is the opinion of George Freeman MP, who noted that encouraging life science experts in the country to lead the way for innovation was essential for the UK.
He wrote an article for House Magazine, which was featured in Politics Home, which looked at the changes in the industry, using his experience as a life science entrepreneur and the country’s first ever minister for life sciences.
Mr Freeman stated: “The pace of change in the sector, and the scale of the structural, socio-demographic challenge in UK healthcare requires bold new approaches.”
The MP went on to write: “Supporting our leadership in 21st-century life sciences is not only good for our NHS, it is also a major boost to our economy.”
Using figures from the State of the Discovery Nation 2019 report by the Medicines Discovery Catapult and the BIA, he determined that the industry provides significant contributions to the country’s finances.
Mr Freeman highlighted figures from the study that showed the life sciences sector provided £30.4 billion in UK GDP, contributed £8.6 billion in taxes and was responsible for 482,000 jobs in 2015.
Looking ahead, the number of biotech positions in the industry could increase by 33,000 for 50 new biotech companies.
The report revealed 300 companies are concentrating on discovering new medicines, with 70 per cent working on treatments for cancer and the central nervous system, and anti-infectives.
It also found that it is not just huge organisations that are making a big impact on the industry, but small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) also have an important role to play. According to the research, 60 per cent of SMEs have five staff members, while 80 per cent have fewer than 20 people working for them.
Mr Freeman stated that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is significant in life science development, and the UK could “lead the next wave of life-science innovation” with this form of technology.
However, he noted that Britain needs to be more open to technological advancements than it has been in the past.
“We need to use technology better. We urgently need to turn the NHS from being a barrier to technology to being a champion and pioneer of it,” the MP wrote.
Something else that is important to the growth of the UK’s life sciences industry is attracting new investment. This will help provide patients with new drugs as soon as possible, as an increase in finance would aid the R&D, and manufacturing of the treatments.
Without this investment, patients will suffer as they will not have access to potentially life-changing medications.
He noted that life science is helping to transform the country’s healthcare provision, concluding: “The old model of top-down, silo-ed, health and care provision to a passive population in the late stages of diseases is being replaced by a new model based on digital patient empowerment, earlier intervention, prevention and active patient engagement in a new research landscape. The NHS gives us a unique chance to lead and share this revolution with the world.”
For help developing life science sales strategies, contact us today and let us help you.
Life Sciences Could Have ‘Biggest Impact On UK Economy’ By 2025m Says Research
Date Posted: Friday May 10, 2019
The success of the life sciences industry straddles sectors, from lab equipment production to marketing, and it seems that the growth in the sector will not see a slow down in the near future. According to a new study by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), life sciences will make up a small group of industries that will add an extra £14 billion to the UK’s economy each year by 2025.
By this time, the life sciences sector could create an additional 56,00 jobs in the UK, underlining the importance of it to the country’s economy. However, the ABPI want the figures to serve as a prompt for the UK government to up its game in the support of life sciences investment, especially concerning the sector’s path through Brexit, according to EPM magazine.
The two main concerns that the ABPI trade body have are surrounding research and development, and the UK’s skills gap. Chief executive of the ABPI, Mike Thompson, said: “These figures give an insight into the exciting potential for growth in our already world-leading sector. This could impact positively on every region of the UK. To achieve this we must make sure that the UK remains the go-to place for global scientific R&D and attracts and develops the best talent as the UK leaves the EU,” he continues.
For the innovation-based industries highlighted in the report, others including aerospace and clean energy, to be successful, a focus on creating a strong environment for R&D is important and echoed by the UK government’s target of 2.4 per cent of gross domestic product by the year 2027. This, however, is playing catch-up to other forward economies post-Britain’s exit from the EU.
As part of the Life Sciences Deal, a particular boost has been given to ‘late-phase’ commercial research, according to Erik Nordkamp, outgoing president of the ABPI, talking to Pharmaphorum, with one part of the deal focusing on the creation of five new centres dedicated to late phase research in 2019 to 2020. He also says that the main issues that need to be hammered out to secure the life sciences sector post-Brexit are ensuring that access to funding and collaboration on scientific projects remains ‘predictable’
To ensure that the UK sector stays ahead of the competition, keeping talent is also something the ABPI is keen to press the government on – especially in tackling the growing skills gap in the industry. This is about having schemes in place for attracting and retaining talent, whether from this country or from others, especially post-Brexit, and nurturing the next pool of talent by encouraging roles in STEM fields and putting more information in front of young people about working in the life sciences.
Knowing how these schemes will work and putting them in place is something that will require a deal on Brexit, however. But with chaos abound, with the industry working to ensure that in whatever outcome Brexit comes to that people can still get access to medicines that they need, the future still looks very bright for the life science sales sector.
How Daffodils Are Helping Tackle Alzheimer’s
Date Posted: Tuesday April 23, 2019
When you look into some of the things that UK life sciences firms are involved with, you’ll stumble across a range of projects and therapies.
One that the British government has recently highlighted is the work of Agroceutical Products, a Welsh bioresearch company that is harvesting daffodils to help produce treatments for Alzheimer’s.
Daffodils contain galantamine, a compound that is known to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s symptoms. Pharmaceutical companies put galantamine in prescription tablets and capsules. The amount of the compound produced in Powys, Wales, is some 20 kilograms per year. That’s enough to help more than 9,000 people with Alzheimer’s.
Former sheep farmer Kevin Stephens is behind Agroceutical Products and specifically grows his daffodils 1,000 feet above sea level in the Black Mountains. The altitude means they produce more galantamine than daffodils grown anywhere else in the world.
The government pointed out that the UK is home to over 5,500 life sciences companies, and that the Department for International Trade can help them expand into international markets, like Agroceutical Products has done.
Mr Stephens commented: “It’s amazing to think that the Welsh national emblem, the humble daffodil, has the potential to improve the lives of Alzheimer’s patients across the world, while providing an economic future for hill farmers and their families across Wales.”
He added that he appreciated the support from the UK and Welsh governments, as well as universities, to “navigate a difficult development pathway”.
There will be many more innovative life science firms and concepts on show at a forthcoming conference, where startups in the sector have the opportunity to meet investors who are looking to support their development.
If you need help developing your life science sales pipeline, get in touch with us today.
Could Labour Be Standing In The Way Of Wales’ Life Science Village?
Date Posted: Tuesday April 16, 2019
Llanelli in Wales could see a £200 million wellness and life science village being built, but the Labour opposition in the area is blocking plans for the project to go ahead.
Wales Online has reported how councillors in Carmarthenshire have disagreed over the future of the initiative, which is one of 11 city deal projects planned for the region.
This is despite the BBC reporting in January that Carmarthenshire Council’s planning committee has approved the site, which will include health, leisure and life science research facilities.
Alun Lenny, Plaid member, the Wales Online: “There is a difference between scrutiny and sabotage.”
He stated Labour has “constantly and vehemently taken every opportunity to criticise and put in place obstacles in front of this hugely important project”.
This is despite the fact that the site could create nearly 2,000 jobs for the local public.
Leader of the Opposition, Labour councillor Rob James has now asked the local authority to support two of four reviews of the city deal.
He added his concern about the council’s huge debt, amounting to more than £400 million, and wanted to determine what private sector partners – who have invested £130 million in the initiative – would stand to get from it.
Another Labour councillor Deryk Cundy added his own reservations, despite claiming the village was a “golden opportunity” for the area.
He stated: “Adequate scrutiny was not possible in a climate of secrecy.”
According to Mr Lenny, Labour should have to personally explain to those in Llanelli and Carmarthenshire its part to play if the project does not go ahead.
If the site is approved, life science marketing specialists will be needed to ensure it gains the amount of publicity and interest it deserves.
Conference Could See Launch Of Next Huge Life Science Firm
Date Posted: Tuesday April 9, 2019
Life science investors who want to be involved in the next big thing in the industry could be interested in attending a conference taking place next month, where some of the leading start-up firms will showcase their ideas.
The Babraham Investor Conference (BIC) is being held on May 15th at the Babraham Research Campus in Cambridge to support early-stages and scale-up life science and med-tech companies.
As well as giving these prospective businesses the chance to seek investment from those in the industry, the conference will include company presentations, guest talks, and networking opportunities.
Chief executive officer of Babraham Research Campus Derek Jones stated: “Not only have investors discovered original opportunities and entrepreneurial ideas to invest in, they have also developed new relationships with other investors and innovators.”
He stated that the objective of the campus is to encourage growth in bio-sciences, particularly for those companies that are in the early stages of launching.
“BIC offers an invaluable platform to allow these innovative companies to grow and develop relationships with like-minded investors,” Patrick Farrant, partner of Taylor Vinters, a sponsor of BIC 2019, stated.
Last month, start-up life science companies were asked to apply for the chance to win a 15-minute slot to pitch at the conference.
Those who were successful will gain a “unique opportunity” to present to these investors, and could receive finance of up to £20 million if their pitch goes well.
Mr Jones said the chance to reveal their ideas to a room full of financiers could be “game-changing for them and their science”.
If you’re looking assistance with lead generation in life sciences, get in touch with our experts today.
How Important Is Collaboration In Solving Life Science Skills Shortage?
Date Posted: Thursday April 4, 2019
A recent report revealed there is a serious skills shortage among those working in the life sciences industry in the UK – and the only way to resolve this problem could be by encouraging collaboration across different areas of the sector.
This is according to the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), which commented on the release of the Topol Review of digital training needs for the NHS in February this year.
The report found that Britain will only be able to remain an integral influence in the life science industry if the talent of employees is good enough, and they have a strong understanding of digital technologies.
“There is a need to raise awareness of genomics and digital literacy among the health and social care workforce,” the report read, adding: “The latter requires the development of the skills attitudes and behaviours that individuals require to become digitally competent and confident.”
It stated, in order to do this, the NHS needs to “invest in their existing workforce to develop specialist skills including the assessment and commissioning of genomics and digital technologies”.
This comes after the ABPI highlighted the importance of addressing the science skills gap in the UK for the country to maintain its position as a world-leader in medicines and vaccines research and development (R&D), following findings from its biennial survey of member pharmaceutical companies.
While the number of undergraduates who are studying STEM subjects has increased by 16 per cent over the last ten years, this is nothing in comparison with students from the European Union. For this group, the figure has risen by 52 per cent, while non-EU students studying STEM topics has risen by 63 per cent over the decade.
Deputy chief scientific officer at ABPI Sheuli Porkess said: “The government has set out ambitious targets for increased R&D spend in the UK – including by business – but for this to succeed we must have access to highly skilled people.”
It was added that if Britain’s reputation for highly skilled life science professionals starts to wane, investment into its scientific R&D could decline, which “would be bad news for NHS patients and the UK economy”.
The areas of most concern, according to the ABPI, are genomics, immunology, bioinformatics and chemo-informatics, and clinical pharmacology.
It has suggested to help ‘future proof’ the UK’s life science industry, cross-collaboration between the sectors is essential.
Andrew Croydon, director of skills and education policy at ABPI, said: “It is logical that progress in meeting these challenges will be most effectively addressed through collaboration across industry, NHS and academia.”
As well as helping to improve digital understanding among the workforce so employees stay abreast of the latest changes, those in academia need to work closely with industry members and NHS staff to ensure these skills are extended throughout the sector.
This will ensure the UK continues to have the “potential to be a world-leader in healthcare technology”.
As and when Britain leaves the EU, this could be more important than ever, safeguarding its position despite losing the safety net of being part of Europe.
To help promote the latest R&D, get in touch with us today about life science sales.
GPs Want Guidance On ‘Excessive’ GDPR Workload
Date Posted: Wednesday March 27, 2019
Members of local medical committees (LMCs) in the UK have called for greater recognition from the government over the additional workload created by the GDPR legislation.
In a series of votes at the UK LMCs Conference in Belfast this week, GPs asked for clearer guidance to be issued about what constitutes an excessive workload when responding to subject access requests, GP Online reported.
By being able to properly define what is excessive, GPs would be able to charge a fee if the subject access request fell into this category, allowing them to pay for extra staff to carry out such work.
Dr Ashok Rayani, from Morgannwg LMC, said that the current act doesn’t define excessive, which means it’s open to interpretation.
When proposing the motion, Dr Rayani stated: “The ICO has decided excessive means repeat requests for the same information. In our opinion, excessive should also include the volume of the paper record and the time taken for GPs to redact third party information.”
The General Practitioners’ Committee (GPC) responded by stating that it is working on a code of conduct that GPs and those making subject access requests can follow.
Attendees at the UK LMCs conference also agreed that it’s no longer possible for GPs to be data controllers and run a general practice. Dr Paul Evans, from Gateshead and South Tyneside LMC, said that most practices don’t have the staff or resources to meet the demands placed on them by the GDPR legislation, the news provider reported.
At the end of 2018, research released by the British Medical Association revealed that subject access requests have increased by more than one-third since GDPR was introduced, and that they’re taking doctors away from treating patients, Pulse Today reported.
If you work in life science sales and are looking for some assistance with GDPR compliance, contact us today.
European Patents In Medical Tech And Biotechnology Up
Date Posted: Thursday March 21, 2019
Medical technology was named as the field with the highest volume of patent applications received by the European Patent Office (EPO) in 2018, although life sciences was also singled out as a fast-growing area.
The latest figures from the EPO revealed that the number of patent filings across all sectors with the organisation increased by 4.6 per cent year-on-year.
Although medical technology accounted for the highest number of patent applications – a total of 13,795 – it was life sciences where the strongest growth was recorded. The life sciences area is split into pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, which together accounted for over 14,000 patent applications, a 13 per cent increase over 2017.
Within the pharmaceutical sector there was a 13.9 per cent rise, with 7,441 patent filings in this category, while biotechnology experienced a 12.1 per cent increase bringing the total number of patent applications in this field to 6,742 last year.
Digital technology was the second-largest area for patent applications, followed by computer technology; electrical machinery, apparatus and energy; and transport to complete the top five.
Although 47 per cent of all patent filings came from within the EU’s 38 member states, the US was the single country to make the most applications, accounting for 25 per cent of all patents filed last year with the EPO.
The Cambridge Network revealed that, within the UK, medical technology was also at the top of the list in terms of the country’s patent filings, with 417 patent applications in this area in 2018.
Pharmaceuticals only came in at sixth place on the list, but recorded an impressive 20.3 per cent lift over 2017.
If you’re looking assistance with lead generation in life sciences, get in touch with our experts today.
Accelerate@Babraham Launches Competition For Life Science Start-Ups
Date Posted: Wednesday March 13, 2019
Life science start-ups could benefit from a great opportunity to gain access to the highest quality facilities, expert mentoring and on-going support if they win a competition launched by Accelerate@Babraham.
The contest allows five ventures, which will be selected by experienced life science specialists and academics, to get involved in its intensive programme.
Last year’s competition was so successful that the 2019 version will be extended from three months to five, enabling start-ups to really take advantage of this opportunity.
Jackie Hunter, chief executive of clinical programmes and strategic partnerships of Benevolent AI, said: “Encouraging the next generation of life science entrepreneurs by providing the space, expertise and experienced ear of those that have gone before is a powerful combination.”
She went on to say the programme, which will run between September 2019 and February 2020, offers the “excellent opportunity for start-ups to access lab and office space alongside the critically important expertise and mentoring”.
As well as being part of the programme, which will include bespoke training sessions and workshops, the winners will be able to use Accelerate@Babraham’s bio-incubator facilities. They will also gain access to its prestigious network of life science, business, healthcare and investor professionals, who could be extremely valuable when it comes to launching their enterprise.
Those who want to apply have until midnight on April 22nd to get their application in, with a shortlist of candidates to be announced at the beginning of May. They will then have to pitch to leaders in the field at the Babraham Research Campus on May 15th, after which the winners will be revealed.
Last year’s winning ventures ended their programme with an invitation-only presentation day, pitching their business plans to investors, strategic partners, and mentors. This demonstrated how far they had come thanks to the support and access to finance and facilities the initiative provided.
For help with life science marketing for new projects, competitions or products, get in touch with us today and see how we can help.
Blackstone Life Sciences And Novartis Announce New Cardiovascular Drug Company
Date Posted: Thursday March 7, 2019
Blackstone Life Sciences has teamed up with Novartis to launch a new biopharmaceutical company that will be focused on creating new drugs and therapies for high-risk cardiovascular patients.
Earlier this week, the life sciences groups unveiled Anthos Therapeutics Inc (Anthos), which will specifically work on developing drugs to treat blood clots.
It will be the first investment by the private equity firm’s life science business, and will cost Blackstone Life Sciences $250 million (£188 million) to launch the enterprise. While it will control the company, due to this huge investment, Novartis will provide an antibody that targets clotting factors and hold a minority share in the business.
Anthos will create medication that will get rid of blood clots in acute and chronic conditions. It is an improvement on current therapies as it also reduces the chances of incurring the typical side effect of internal bleeding, which is often experienced by patients using cardiovascular drugs.
Head of Blackstone Life Sciences Nicholas Glakatos said: “If we decrease the bleeding by 50 per cent, for example, that would be a tremendous achievement.”
He went on to say: “The genetics seem to suggest we have a good shot at it.”
If successful, Anthos’ new treatment could have a huge impact on patients suffering with heart problems.
According to Thrombosis UK, someone in the world dies from venous thromboembolism (VTE) every six seconds. This is despite it being the number one cause of preventable deaths in hospital, as it can affect anyone – whether they are young or old, a man or woman, or whatever their race or ethnicity is.
VTE-related illnesses lead to more fatalities than AIDS, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and car accidents all put together in Europe and the US, and as many as one in four people deaths are caused by blood clots in the end.
This is why advances in medical treatments, such as with the launch of Anthos, are so important, as they can help prevent the deaths of thousands of people a year.
Mr Galaktos, who is also chairman of Anthos, said: “Blackstone Life Sciences is focused on bringing important medicines and healthcare technologies to market, often working in partnership with major biopharmaceutical companies to provide them with access to capital, scientific expertise and hands-on operational leadership.”
Collaborating with Novartis on the project will help the life sciences group deliver the much-needed drug.
Anthos’ treatment is an anti-Factor XI / Xia monoclonal antibody called MAA868. This has the potential to prevent multiple thrombotic diseases by reducing blood clots “with minimal or no bleeding risk”, which “represents a promising next-generation anti-thrombotic investigational therapy” for patients around the world.
It could also save the NHS a significant amount of money, as Thrombosis UK estimates VTE-related cost totalled £197,993,327 in 2016/17 in England alone.
A spokesperson for the charity said: “Taking proactive steps to mandate VTE best practice locally could help to reduce this cost burden.”
This is mainly due to the fact that 55 per cent of VTE cases happen after patients are hospitalised. Blood clots acquired while in hospital result in 25,000 deaths a year that can be prevented, and ten per cent of all patients who die in care do so as a result of a VTE-related illness.
If you need assistance with lab instruments telemarketing to help promote new initiatives or products like Anthos, get in touch with us today.
How The Life Sciences Sector Is Preparing For Brexit
Date Posted: Tuesday February 26, 2019
The Brexit deadline is looming, with a little over a month to go, and still the UK does not know what terms it will be leaving on.
As a result, businesses from all industries are having to prepare for the worst-case scenario and hope for something better. So, what are firms in the life sciences sector doing to get ready for a no-deal Brexit?
The Guardian recently shared some of the contingency plans being put in place by some of the UK’s largest pharmaceutical manufacturing and research organisations. For instance, AstraZeneca is one of several companies to have frozen investment in manufacturing.
A senior executive at the European arm of Japanese pharma firm Eisai David Jeffreys told the newspaper that his company had also frozen investments. “Nobody likes uncertainty. We are not making any new investments in the UK until there is clarity,” he stated.
Other pharmaceutical businesses have announced their plans to close manufacturing plants in the UK, meanwhile. Novartis and Pfizer both made their plans known after the referendum result, but have both insisted that Brexit is not the reason for this decision.
Many companies have been preparing for a no-deal scenario by stockpiling medication, transferring their licences and duplicating drug testing. Others are making preparations for shipping medications to and from the EU.
The newspaper revealed that the largest drug maker in the country – GSK – has been forced to set up new laboratories for parallel product testing, as well as transferring its licences to ensure it is still able to sell to EU markets once the UK leaves on 29 March.
Meanwhile Roche, which makes two breast cancer medications, has revealed that it’s stockpiling an additional six weeks-worth of supply for all the products it provides as a contingency for a no-deal Brexit.
There are plenty within the life sciences and pharmaceutical sectors who don’t want to see a no-deal Brexit on the cards though.
PMLive recently reported on fresh calls from the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) and the BioIndustry Association (BIA) for a no-deal Brexit to be “avoided at all costs”.
Steve Bates, BIA chief executive, commented: “There is a great deal of detail now in the public domain from the government which shows that they are suggesting expensive duplicative red tape and an impact for NHS patients.”
He has repeatedly warned that doing so will see the UK market become of secondary importance to drug makers, which will therefore mean it takes longer for patients in this country to access new treatments.
The BIA and ABPI have also been very vocal about the success of the UK’s life sciences industry, which boasts world-leading expertise across academic research, R&D and biotech. In fact, the UK biotech sector raised more money than any of its counterparts in Europe last year.
However, there are concerns that if Brexit becomes too messy and protracted, that international investment into this sector will begin to falter.
If you’re looking for help to develop your life science sales pipeline, contact us today to find out how we can be of assistance.
What Will Happen To Data Transfers Post-Brexit?
Date Posted: Tuesday February 26, 2019
There is a great deal of confusion across all industries about what will happen if the UK exits the EU without a deal in place on 29 March this year.
Out-Law recently pointed out that one area that could become more complicated is that of data transfers.
Following the introduction of GDPR legislation last May, new rules were put in place for data transfers between EU countries and third-party nations. When the UK leaves the EU, it will become a third-party nation if no other agreement is in place.
The European Data Protection Board (EDPB) recently set out a five-step plan for businesses to follow when transferring personal data in the event of a no-deal Brexit to ensure they remain compliant with GDPR.
Essentially this means that adequate safeguards are in place to protect EU data once it leaves and enters a third-party country. The five steps outlined by the EDPB start with “identifying what processing activities will imply a data transfer to the UK” and then deciding what the most appropriate instrument is for that transfer.
Making sure that this is in place ready for 30 March 2019 is essential, as well as updating internal documentation to reflect the fact that data transfers will be made to the UK. Firms transferring data from the EU to the UK will also need to update their privacy notices.
In a nutshell, the process of physically carrying out the data transfer is unlikely to change, because the UK should have a secure system in place as part of the EU. However, there is more paperwork that will go along with a data transfer to ensure GDPR compliance.
Earlier this month IT Pro Portal revealed that more UK businesses are worried about Brexit than they are about being compliant with GDPR, but naturally the two are linked.
If you need assistance with lab instruments telemarketing, contact us today.
Brexit ‘Bigger Worry’ Than GDPR For UK Firms
Date Posted: Wednesday February 20, 2019
Although many companies were worried about the introduction of the new GDPR legislation in Europe last May, it appears that many have moved on and are worrying about other things this year.
IT Pro Portal reported on a survey by NetApp, which found that almost half of the UK businesses it surveyed believe that Brexit will create bigger issues than GDPR did. In fact, many look positively on the implementation of the GDPR regulation.
The majority of respondents said that data regulation had had a positive impact on their firm, with less than one in five of those questioned expecting negative impacts as a result of data regulation.
In fact, many businesses added that the improved data regulation brought in through GDPR gives them a competitive advantage.
That said, data sovereignty is one of the areas that firms are concerned about in relation to Brexit, with two-thirds of those surveyed having given “some” or “major” concern to this in their preparations for the UK’s exit from the EU.
Martin Warren, cloud solutions marketing manager EMEA at NetApp, said that it’s encouraging to see so many companies are thinking about data when it comes to Brexit.
“Whilst this is partly driven by legislation and specifically GDPR, there is now also a better understanding of how data regulation positively contributes to the commercial success of an organisation,” he stated.
However, not all businesses believe their company has got their house in order when it comes to data and GDPR. The latest Dell Digital Transformation Index found that nearly one-third of businesses don’t believe they’re fully compliant with this legislation.
If you need assistance with your life science sales, contact us today to find out how we could help.
How Do You Think Your Company Measures Up With GDPR Compliance?
Date Posted: Monday February 11, 2019
It’s been almost nine months since Europe’s GDPR legislation was introduced, so how do you think your company is coping with the new regulations and are they always compliant?
IT Pro recently shared the findings of the bi-annual Dell Digital Transformation Index, which found that almost one-third of businesses don’t believe that they’re fully compliant with GDPR legislation.
What’s more, just over one-quarter of those surveyed admitted that they didn’t think their firm could be trusted with consumer data, while 16 per cent revealed that they think they’ll find it difficult to prove that they’re trustworthy to their customers.
It appears that one of the biggest problems is that companies are struggling to keep up with the fast pace at which the digital environment is changing.
Over three-quarters of respondents to the Dell survey said their business could be more digitally savvy. However, budget constraints, a lack of skills, and challenges relating to privacy and data security were the main reasons cited for companies failing to keep pace with the evolving digital environment.
Chairman and CEO of Dell Technologies Michael Dell told the news provider that businesses can’t afford to be left behind.
“Organisations need to modernise their technology to participate in the unprecedented opportunity of digital transformation. The time to act is now,” he asserted.
It’s not only businesses that have become more aware of the digital privacy landscape since the introduction of GDPR legislation. Consumers have also become more savvy and are increasingly aware of the importance of keeping their personal data secure.
Figures published by the European Commission recently revealed that, since GDPR came into force in May last year, data protection authorities within Europe have received over 95,000 complaints from citizens.
In a joint statement, first vice-president Timmermans, vice-president Ansip, and commissioners Jourova and Gabriel, stressed the importance of consumer awareness when it comes to data protection.
They said that the aim of the GDPR legislation was to “empower people and give them more control over one of the most valuable resources in the modern economy – their data”.
“We can only reach this goal if and when people have become fully aware of their rights and the consequences of their decisions,” they added.
Although GDPR only applies in Europe, it is hard to set geographical boundaries for digital data that can travel around the globe. The European Commission also noted that there is an appetite for some form of international modern data protection regime.
This is an area in which Europe is leading the way, the organisation claimed, pointing to the “recent adoption of our mutual adequacy findings with Japan”, which is described as “the world’s largest area of free and safe data flows”.
If you’re not sure how well your company is doing in terms of GDPR compliance, it is advisable to explore the issues further and seek outside assistance if you feel you have skills gaps in your firm that will be challenging to fill in the short term.
And if you need assistance in a specific area of your business, such as with your life science sales pipeline, contact a specialist firm like Voicentric to take advantage of our expertise in this area.
Life Science Investment In China Reaches Record High
Date Posted: Tuesday January 15, 2019
Last year was an excellent year for China’s life science industry, with investment in the sector reaching an all-time high.
More than $43 billion (£34 billion) was raised for new venture capital and private equity funds in China’s life science investments in 2018, according to a report in MedCityNews.com.
This takes the total level of investments in the industry in the Asian nation to $765 million, figures complied by ChinoBio and presented at the China Showcase in San Francisco recently revealed.
Additionally, $17 billion was invested in China’s life science companies last year, which is a 36 per cent increase from 2017’s level of funding.
It is thought the improved regulatory system at the CFDA (China Food and Drug Administration), including its new expedited review and approvals, is the reason behind the expansion of the industry, with more companies encouraged to invest in a well-regulated sector.
According to ChinaBio, 2018 was a “golden era of healthcare in China”, thanks mainly to government support with $100 billion invested in improving healthcare policies; more than two million talented employees; and a 6.5 per cent growth in GDP during H1 2017.
All of these factors have boosted the “sea of change” for the industry in China, encouraging significant investment from other organisations.
One of the most important ways of boosting the life science business, whether in China or the UK, is to focus on the marketing and promotion of breakthroughs and developments.
Here at Voicentric, we can provide excellent life science telemarketing services to raise awareness of organisations’ latest projects, which could increase funding in them in the future.
Life Science Partnership Reveals Expansion Plans In Cambridge
Date Posted: Friday January 11, 2019
Cambridge is already renowned for its highly educated residents, with its university being one of the best in the world. Indeed, with so many refined and knowledgeable people graduating here, it makes sense to provide good job opportunities within the local area.
This could be why life science group BioMedTech, along with GW Pharmaceuticals, has revealed plans to take over a significant amount of space within a Cambridge building, in hopes to attract some of the leading professionals in the field within this sought-after area.
According to Business Weekly, they have acquired more than 7,300 sq ft of office space at Endurance House on Vision Park in Histon, situated on the edge of the city.
The office space has been let by Cheffins at a rate of £26 per square foot. Director at the letting agency Edward Dodson told the news provider: “We expect these types of deals to continue in Cambridge and the surrounding area as the market still sees activity which has been consistently underpinned by a lack of stock in the correct locations.”
He went on to say that although Brexit is creating uncertainty among all businesses, “we are still seeing agreed leases and the standard take-up rates for office space”.
This could explain why both leases went so quickly, with CHS Group, which left the ground and first floors of the East Wing to the companies, stating there was concern the space would take time to fill.
However, sales and marketing manager of the CHS Group Martin Dickson stated: “Edward Dodson and the Cheffins team have been extremely professional and to discover such strong companies so efficiently has really helped.”
Both companies were located in Vision Park before these deals were made. However, the life science business wanted another working space, while GW Pharmaceuticals needed somewhere to expand its offices.
This year could present great opportunities for life science development, as the industry is set to become the recipient of plenty of investment.
North-east Scotland, in particular, is expecting to receive as much as £40 million in finance to help the sector develop at a faster rate here.
The money, half of which will come from both the UK and Scottish governments, will be used to build the Bio-therapeutics Hub for Innovation in Aberdeen. ONE Life Sciences has also announced it will plough £3.6 million into the facility, as it believes the hub will “realise the opportunity to collaborate and innovate to bring forward the next generation of medical therapies and products”.
Indeed, the government appreciates how important life science is to the country, as secretary of state for health and social care Matt Hancock recently called for those working in the health-tech sector to “complement our world-leading life science”.
To help life science companies capitalise on investment opportunities, it is essential they make use of effective sales and marketing specialists. Not only can life science consulting companies provide expertise into lead generation, telemarketing, and sales techniques, they can also conduct research, provide analysis of data, and give companies a global reach. This will enable them to expand their influence without any geographical boundaries.
Bruntwood SciTech To Build £10m Life Science Park In Cheshire
Date Posted: Friday January 4, 2019
Bruntwood SciTech has announced an investment of £10 million for a new life sciences park in Cheshire.
The life science community in the north-west of England will soon benefit from added laboratories and modern facilities following the development of the 50,000 sq ft centre, which will be based at Alderley Park.
Bruntwood SciTech – a joint project between property firm Bruntwood and Legal & General Capital – revealed it is providing the space for smaller companies that need ready-to-use chemistry and biology labs, varying between 500 and 2,000 sq ft in size.
Speaking with Manchester Evening News, managing director of the £160 million Alderley Park Dr Chris Doherty said: “We see strong demand for high-quality space and have great confidence in what we can offer – world-class facilities and competitive rates, all within the context of a deep talent pool, a well-functioning ecosystem, business support and a lifestyle offer that just works for people.”
Alderley Park already provides working space for 200 small and medium-sized enterprises, which employs more than 2,000 people. These companies include Concept Life Science and Evotec.
Despite this, Bruntwood SciTech has plans to add another 100,000 sq ft of lab space to the Park in the future, which will be more suited to larger businesses thanks to each lab being 15,000 sq ft in size.
Alderley Park continues to expand, with plans for a new gym, which will open in September next year, as well as a pub and restaurant, a farm shop, 21 guest rooms, and housing developments.
Cheshire is not the only place benefitting from new life science facilities, as Scotland will soon see the Bio-therapeutics Hub for Innovation open in Aberdeen to help the industry develop even further north of the border.
For help with life science marketing, don’t hesitate to contact us today.
Small Businesses Still Struggling With GDPR
Date Posted: Tuesday December 18, 2018
Data and cyber security have been thrown firmly into the forefront of businesses’ and consumers’ minds, with the introduction of the GDPR legislation earlier this month, as well as a number of high-profile data breaches.
But it seems that for many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) it’s difficult to understand all their obligations under GDPR.
A poll commissioned recently by Aon found that half of SMEs are still confused about what is and isn’t allowed under the new data protection regulations, News Anyway reported.
One issue is allowing staff to use their own computers, tablets or phones for work purposes, with over a quarter of the businesses surveyed admitting that they do this.
There are also problems with paper forms and diaries, which can be easily misplaced. As these can often contain personal information, such as names and addresses, they could put businesses in breach of GDPR legislation.
Worryingly, the survey also found that one in four business owners didn’t realise that the loss of paperwork could constitute a data breach.
The research also revealed that 45 per cent of firms don’t have any kind of cyber insurance in place, which could offer some protection in the event of a cyber attack.
Dr Emma Philpott, from the UK Cyber Security Forum, told Business Matters Magazine that once the GDPR deadline passed, the issue of data security slipped down the agenda for many businesses.
She said: “There is a lot of misunderstanding of risks, and still a worry among SMEs that it must be complicated. It is not always about high-end security.”
If you need assistance with lab instruments telemarketing, contact us to find out how we can help.
North-East Scotland To Benefit From £40m Life Sciences Hub
Date Posted: Monday December 3, 2018
Life science research is set to develop at a fast rate in the north-east of Scotland after an investment worth £40 million has been ploughed into the area.
The money will be used to create the Bio-therapeutics Hub for Innovation in Aberdeen, which will become the centre for life sciences development and growth in the future. The UK and Scottish governments, which have invested £20 million in the project through the Aberdeen City Region Deal, hopes it will encourage those in the industry to collaborate to develop new healthcare solutions and therapies.
In addition to this finance, ONE Life Sciences has committed £3.6 million over the next seven years, which will be used to get the hub operational. It will also provide support to help it become “one of the most dynamic environments to create and grow life sciences businesses”, according to the organisation.
Professor Stephen Logan, chair of the ONE Life Sciences sector board, said: “The hub will realise the opportunity to collaborate and innovate to bring forward the next generation of medical therapies and products and our target is to double the size of the company base by 2027.”
The hub will help to do this by speeding up growth and development of the company, providing high-value jobs that attract the best talent for the long-term, and supporting regional economic growth.
Chief executive of leading clinical stage biotechnology company NovaBiotics Dr Deborah O’Neil added the building’s state-of-the-art laboratories will provide valuable space for companies in the region that are already making an impact across the world, as well as those that want to join in Aberdeen’s life sciences community.
“For the first time, all of these companies will be together on one site; a focal point for the commercial life sciences sector in the north-east that sits alongside, and will integrate with, the region’s clinical and academic research excellence,” Dr O’Neil stated.
Foresterhill Health Campus in Aberdeen will be the location for the hub, as it is already one of the largest integrated clinical, teaching and commercial health sites in Europe.
The new building, which is set to stretch over 69,000 square feet, will provide collaboration space, shared facilities for conferences, networking and events, and accommodation for start-ups, established businesses and spin-outs.
The ten-year project will boost an already thriving life sciences industry in Scotland, with Michael Matheson, Scottish government infrastructure secretary, saying it will act as an “accelerator” for companies in the country.
By supporting the project, the government hopes to give a boost to the 700 existing life sciences businesses in Scotland that currently provide more than 37,000 jobs.
So successful is the industry in Scotland that it achieved a turnover of £5.2 billion in 2016, and is on track to reach an impressive target of an £8 billion turnover by 2025, with these figures revealed at the recent Scotsman Life Science Scotland conference.
Life science marketing is essential to promotion within the sector, so get in touch with us today for more information about how we can help the industry in Scotland even more.
Health Secretary Wants Health-tech To Support UK’s Life Science Industry
Date Posted: Thursday November 22, 2018
The secretary of state for health and social care Matt Hancock has called for those working in the health-tech sector to advance its innovations further in order to support the country’s developing life science industry.
He is planning to give a keynote speech at the upcoming GIANT Health event on Thursday (November 22nd) in London’s Chelsea Football Club.
Mr Hancock was asked to support GIANT Health – a conference aimed at promoting health technology, including app developers, inventors, clinicians, corporate enterprises and investors.
During his speech, he is expected to ask those working in the field to “complement our world-leading life science”.
The MP also said health-tech can support genomic and artificial intelligence sectors in the UK.
“We must embrace this coming wave of technology and transform our NHS into an ecosystem of innovation and enterprise, so patients benefit from the latest treatments,” said Mr Hancock.
More than 2,000 people are expected to turn up at the GIANT Health event later this week to see 325 speakers and 150 start-ups. The intention of the conference is to let those in the field share their knowledge and research, and help them network with one another, so they can pursue technological developments regarding healthcare.
If health-tech could complement life science research and development, as Mr Hancock believes, this would provide a big boost to the already growing industry.
Indeed, the annual Scotsman Life Science Scotland conference revealed just last week that the industry had achieved a turnover of £5.2 billion in 2016 in Scotland alone.
Life Sciences Turnover In Scotland To Hit £8bn By 2025
Date Posted: Tuesday November 20, 2018
The life sciences industry in Scotland has been going from strength to strength over the last few years, and is on target to reach a turnover of more than £8 billion by 2025.
Figures revealed at the annual Scotsman Life Science Scotland conference, held in Glasgow this week, showed the turnover in the industry was £5.2 billion in 2016.
This represents a seven per cent year-on-year growth since 2010, putting it on track to reach an impressive turnover target of £8 billion over the next six years.
According to the minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation Ivan McKee, this is down to industry experts working closely with academia and the public sector.
“The Scotsman Life Sciences conference built on that support to capture new opportunities for Scotland whether that be in new technologies, data, manufacturing or clinical research,” he stated.
Among the new infrastructure that Scotland’s life sciences sector recently has been able to benefit from is the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre, the new artificial Intelligence Research Centre for Digital Diagnostics, and the Roslin Innovation Centre, which was launched in August 2017.
This facility on The University of Edinburgh’s campus has been dedicated to businesses researching into animal and veterinary sciences, agricultural technology, and health industries.
There are currently 40,000 employees working in the Scottish life sciences sector, with staff divided across more than 770 organisations north of the border.
Life sciences marketing could be of benefit to many of these companies, so why not get in touch with us today to find out how we can help boost the industry even more?
Marketers Worry About Poor Data Handling
Date Posted: Tuesday November 6, 2018
It’s been the introduction of GDPR legislation, which came into force several months ago, that has been the focus for many businesses when it comes to their data. But it seems that there’s another problem for marketers – poor data handling. In fact, many chief marketing officers (CMOs) are concerned about the effect this can have on the business.
An article for Campaign Live recently shared the findings of a survey by SBDS, which revealed that two-thirds of CMOs have experienced “disasters” when it comes to handling data.
What’s more, 76 per cent said that they believed they had missed out on opportunities because data hadn’t been effectively handled in-house, and estimated that it’s costing the businesses they work for an average of £1 million.
The issues seem to come from the fact that marketing departments are being given control of collecting and handling customer data, but few have employees with the necessary skills to do this effectively.
Almost half (49 per cent) of those questioned said that they didn’t believe they had the in-house skills they needed to make the most of this data.
While many CMOs are using data management platforms, they’re not seeing the return on this investment in technology, the survey also revealed.
Among the reasons for this are that the technology required to match in-house data with third-party data sources to gain real insights is very expensive, and companies are also failing to invest in people with the right skills to make the most of the available data.
Co-founder of SBDS Simon Theakston commented: “The findings paint a picture of CMOs struggling to see a return on the important tech investments they’ve made. Data management tools are sophisticated in their own right, but need the expertise to manage them for best results.”
Head of digital and performance at MC&C Ben Foster told the news provider that although businesses will sign off on the funds needed to invest in the initial technology, they’re not spending the same amount on staff recruitment or development, which is just as important for a data management system to be effective.
Of course it’s essential to ensure that you’re GDPR compliant when you’re handling and analysing any customer data, but there have been indications that many organisations are still struggling to stay on the right side of the law in this regard.
Research from Fellowes earlier this year found that GDPR compliance isn’t high on the list of things that office workers worry about or prioritise. In fact, 86 per cent of those surveyed by the office supplies company said they were more likely to get into trouble for failing to meet deadlines or complete day-to-day tasks at work than failing to comply with GDPR legislation.
Just 29 per cent of those surveyed were aware that it is the responsibility of everyone in the business to be GDPR compliant. Over half of those questioned mistakenly believed this responsibility was held by management or the data protection officer.
If you need some help with your material science marketing, contact our experts today to find out how we can be of assistance.
Breakthrough Life Science Prize Awarded to Baby-Saving Drug
Date Posted: Wednesday October 24, 2018
Scientists behind a baby-saving drug have won the most prestigious award in their category at the Breakthrough Prize ceremony.
Earlier this week, those in science, maths, and physics were honoured at the award event, with a total of $22 million (£16.87 million) awarded for the winners.
The 2019 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences was given to C Frank Bennett and Adrian R Krainer for their gene therapy drug Spinraza, as well as Angelika Amon, Xiaowei Zhuang, and Zhijan ‘James’ Chen.
Spinraza has been designed for infants suffering from Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), which is fatal in babies.
Cori Bargmann, chair of the selection committee, said: “The winners of the Breakthrough Prize in Life Science show us all how it’s done. Through creativity, innovation, persistence, and skill, each of them brought about an advance that was previously unimaginable.”
SMA sufferers do not typically live beyond the age of two. However, the scientists put their skills and experience together to come up with a successful therapy so the condition does not have to be a death sentence.
Bennett and Krainer’s drug targets a closely related gene to encourage it to produce a motor neuron protein. This strengthens and extends the life of motor neurons in the body, meaning signals from the brain to the muscles continue to work.
Speaking with The Guardian, Professor Kevin Talbot, head of clinical neurology at the University of Oxford, said the therapy “is demonstrated to have a dramatic effect in children”.
However, he noted the expense of the drug, which is why winning awards such as this helps to launch therapies and maintain research into them.
To find out more about life sciences marketing, talk to our specialist advisers by getting in touch with us today.
How To Ensure Your Business Is GDPR Compliant
Date Posted: Wednesday October 17, 2018
There was a flurry of activity for businesses around the deadline for the introduction of the GDPR legislation to ensure they were compliant. However, since May you may have taken a step away from this aspect of your business, and that means your standards might have dropped.
This legislation touches various aspects of a business, which means you need to ensure you’re getting it right at every level.
A recent article for IBB Law offered some advice on how to ensure you tick the GDPR boxes, while also providing a better service for your customers.
Top of the list is to appoint an internal GDPR officer. Even if you’re not legally required to have a data protection officer because you have a small business, it’s sensible to have someone internally who can lead change and who is available to discuss any privacy issues that arise internally.
Companies should also pay particular attention to their marketing strategy. Remember that customers need to have expressly given their consent to receive any e-marketing messages from you.
Find a specialist in material science marketing if you need any guidance in this area, or want to improve your overall strategy and get better results.
IT Pro recently revealed that data protection regulators in the EU expect to impose the first sanctions for GDPR breaches by the end of this year. Giovanni Buttarelli, European data protection supervisor, reportedly told Reuters that imposing fines is just one element of the enforcement action that will be taken.
Workers Not Prioritising GDPR
Date Posted: Wednesday October 10, 2018
Despite the furore surrounding the introduction of the GDPR legislation earlier this year and the frantic efforts of many businesses to ensure they complied with the EU privacy laws, it seems that many office workers aren’t taking it quite as seriously.
A new survey by office products supplier Fellowes found that GDPR compliance falls quite a long way down the list for the majority of employees.
Day-to-day tasks such as office chores and meeting deadlines are of greater concern for most people, with 86 per cent of those surveyed stating that they are more likely to be reprimanded for failure in these areas, than for failure with GDPR compliance.
OPI revealed that the Fellowes research also found that just 29 per cent of people know that it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure a company is GDPR compliant. 56 per cent of those questioned assumed it was the responsibility of management or the data protection officer.
Although the research was conducted in offices across Europe, HR Director highlighted some of the findings of the company’s investigations in the UK.
The publication revealed that 16 per cent of offices don’t have a shredder, while seven per cent have one that’s never used. Just over one-quarter also admitted that they throw confidential documents in the bin, or just ripped a few times.
Given that one law firm stated recently that it’s seen a ten-fold increase in the number of cyber security cases it’s handling since the introduction of GDPR, it’s worth ensuring that your house is in order.
Need assistance with life science sales? Get in touch with us to access our specialist services today.
Wales Could See New Life Sciences Institute If Plans Go Ahead
Date Posted: Friday September 21, 2018
Wales could become a centre for life science excellence if plans for a new educational site are given the go ahead.
Carmarthenshire Council are looking at proposals for the Llanelli Wellness and Life Science Village, which could be built along the Carmarthenshire coastline.
In addition to this village, which will include a wellness hotel, sports centre, spa and primary care facility, there are also intentions to build a Community Health Hub.
This will house the Institute of Life Sciences, with Swansea University and Sterling Health supporting the development of this site.
Once complete, it will boost educational provisions in the area for those in the life sciences and health sectors considerably by providing a place for doctors, nurses and other professionals to train.
The local authority will look at the development plans and will give its answer by mid-November.
If it gives its approval, the first phase of the project – including the wellness site – will be open by 2021, with work beginning within the next few months.
The second phase – the Community Health Hub – will be ready for use by 2023, and will be partly funded by private sector partner Sterling Health.
This comes after the Global Wellness Institute and the Institute of Life Sciences hosted a roundtable event to talk about Wales’ tourism and wellness during the summer.
It was held at Swansea University on July 14th and included debates on the country’s key challenges in wellness tourism.
For more information regarding life science marketing, why not get in touch with us today?
Are You Taking Care Of Your GDPR Gaps?
Date Posted: Wednesday September 19, 2018
Ahead of the GDPR legislation coming into force earlier this year, many businesses in the UK expressed concerns that they wouldn’t be fully compliant in time for the deadline.
With an audit – not to mention an actual data breach – possible at any time, it’s more important than ever for businesses to be honest about their shortcomings and to do all they can to plug those GDPR gaps.
IT Pro Portal recently shared data from an Apricorn survey, which was conducted just before the GDPR deadline. At that time, just over 80 per cent of those questioned named at least one area that they believed would lead them to fail an audit.
It’s worth looking back at some of the most common responses to find out where there could still be work to do.
At the top of the list was controlling the data that’s being collected. The Apricorn research found that 50 per cent of organisations admitted to a lack of understanding of the data they collected and processed.
Only by knowing exactly what you have can you take appropriate steps to safeguard that information, the news provider stressed.
Failing to encrypt personally identifiable information (PII) was another stumbling block companies were facing earlier this year. As well as ensuring it’s encrypted when being stored, the same needs to be true if it’s ever in transit.
Mobile working and employee training were two other areas cited as concerns in terms of staying fully GDPR compliant.
Given that recent reports suggest the number of reported cyber attacks has increased considerably since the introduction of GDPR, it’s essential the firms review their information security processes and make changes where necessary.
If you’re looking for help with lab instruments telemarketing, contact us to find out more about our services.
Cyber Security Breaches Up Since GDPR Introduction
Date Posted: Tuesday September 11, 2018
The introduction of the GDPR legislation in May this year made it a legal requirement for firms to publicly report any data breaches that affect consumers’ personal data within 72 hours of them occurring.
Now one law firm has said that it’s seen a ten-fold increase in the number of security breach cases it’s handling since the end of May.
Speaking to Computing, cyber security lawyer at Fieldfisher James Seadon said the firm had seen a “substantial uptick” in its breach advice work since 25 May this year.
He stressed that while many of these cases are technical breaches that are on the smaller side of the scale, there have still been a number of high-profile incidents, most recently that of British Airways.
The airline was hacked and the credit card details of 380,000 of its customers were stolen, which cyber security experts estimate are worth around £20 million on the dark web.
Mr Seadon said that the new GDPR legislation is having “one of its intended effects” in that data breaches are being more widely reported. But he stressed that the new legislation isn’t the only reason we’re seeing more cyber security breaches.
Among the others is “that as our economy becomes more reliant on technology, and criminals become more sophisticated, both accidental and malicious breaches will increase”, he explained.
Working to stress-test incident response procedures, as well as working harder to prevent a breach in the first instance, should be a priority for organisations of all sizes, Mr Seadon added.
If you store personal details for marketing purposes, make sure you are fully GDPR compliant. You can also get help developing your life science sales pipeline from our experts.
Why Your Business Should Put More Focus On GDPR
Date Posted: Tuesday September 4, 2018
If you’re a business owner, then you’ll know often you’ll be collecting sensitive data from different customers. Of course, you’ll want to ensure that you follow standard procedures in place and make sure important information is not compromised. No matter if you’re supporting interest in life science through marketing or selling lab instruments, you’ll want your business to follow a strict practice in the workplace.
According to TechCrunch, the number of complaints made in the UK on data protection has doubled since the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) laws were introduced in May.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said that it had recorded 6,281 complaints between the period of May to July. To put that into some perspective, it has doubled since 2017, with 2,417 complaints made during the same period last year. It’s worth noting that not all complaints are directly related to GDPR, though ICO has warned that the number could continue to rise in the foreseeable future.
An ICO spokesperson commented: “Generally, as anticipated, we have seen a rise in personal data breach reports from organisations. Complaints relating to data protection issues are also up and, as more people become aware of their individual rights, we are expecting the number of complaints to the ICO to increase, too.”
No doubt that most businesses prepared for GDPR in advance and how it would impact their day-to-day activities. You’ll have invested time in training and preparing staff for the change, though it could be important to revisit that area on a regular basis to ensure everyone in the company is compliant with the laws and their understanding of it, too.
You don’t want to be caught in a position where you’ve not been upholding GDPR in practice. In fact, the fine is capped at £16.5 million (€20 million), which is a dramatic increase on the £500,000 it was previously set at.
James Geary, a principal at EMW Law, commented: “Despite this being on the horizon for a couple of years, the reality of the work involved in [the] implementation and ongoing compliance may have taken many businesses by surprise. The more data a business has, the harder it is to respond quickly and in the correct, compliant manner.”
It should be an issue that many businesses should take notice of, especially for how customers feel towards GDPR. According to research from Marketing Week, 57 per cent of people said they felt that they had a better understanding of how companies are using GDPR and their personal data. However, only 27 per cent said their experience with brands was better, while a staggering 65 per cent said they felt there had been no change.
Now’s the time for business owners to revisit GDPR laws and ensure that staff are up to date with the changes that have been implemented. You might even have had new staff come into the business recently and not received the extensive training that others did when GDPR was put into effect. However, the most important part is not to lose the trust built with customers and suffer a data breach that could have a lasting impact on your business.
28 Per Cent Of Companies Are Not GDPR Compliant
Date Posted: Tuesday August 28, 2018
Most business owners will know how important it is to protect all information collected on their clients and from members of the public. In fact, you’ll know how damaging it is for your company if you fail to uphold the laws in place. Whether you’re selling lab instruments or supporting interest in life science through marketing, you might need to revisit how staff are handling and storing data collected.
According to research from Imperva (via Business Wire), 28 per cent of organisations said they aren’t compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) laws introduced back in May.
What is even more damaging is that less than half of the respondents said they would be able to pass their first GDPR audit, while over a third said they were slightly confident and a fifth said they were not assured by the idea of it at all.
Terry Ray, the chief technology officer at Imperva, commented: “The deadline has now come and gone, yet the study shows that many organisations aren’t sure they have achieved GDPR compliance. Any company that puts GDPR off until the last minute now realises compliance cannot be achieved overnight.”
Mr Ray added that he was not surprised that “many organisations feel unsure about the idea of a GDPR audit”.
Considering that the deadline for GDPR compliance was May 25th, some businesses might not have revisited the topic with their staff since the laws were changed. In fact, your company might have also had new staff come in since then, too. However, it’s an important reminder that every business owner should look at areas where data is handled and provide training needed ahead of a full audit.
Should More Telemarketing Companies Revisit GDPR Regulations?
Date Posted: Thursday August 16, 2018
If you’re a business owner, then you will know that marketing is one of the most effective ways of attracting people to your products and services. However, there’s also the important procedure for recognising – and following – the legal requirement to protect sensitive data. Whether you’re selling products like lab instruments through telemarketing or a certain service, then you won’t want to be complacent with the information collected from customers.
According to a survey from Marketing Signals (via Open Access Government), it found that one in three companies are not fully compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) laws introduced back in May.
The research, which was conducted with over 1,000 workers, found that 35 per cent of employees have not received consent before sending out marketing emails. It was followed up with 31 per cent saying that data had been stored from those who had opted against it.
You might find it worrying that there are many companies out there that haven’t made the necessary changes to fall in line with GDPR or better equipped their staff with the important training needed. In fact, over 27 per cent said that any of the data that had been collected wasn’t secure against a ransomware attack.
Gareth Hoyle, the managing director for Marketing Signals, commented: “The research shows there are many ways that businesses are admitting to not following the newly enforced GDPR regulations. GDPR is the most fundamental change to ever happen to data privacy, so it is imperative that businesses follow this and complete the process as soon as possible.”
Whether you have a company that primarily works around telemarketing or online marketing – maybe both – it might be time to ensure that your workforce is equipped with the right training and up-to-date knowledge of GDPR regulations.
Government Issues Brexit Guidance For Life Sciences Sector
Date Posted: Wednesday August 8, 2018
The UK government has released guidance for companies operating in the life sciences sector, explaining how the sector will be able to operate during the implementation period.
This is a transition period, during which the UK will no longer be a member state, but when the country will continue to interact and trade with the EU much as it is at present. It will begin on 20 March 2019 and will run until the end of 2020.
It’s the first piece of official guidance for the sector to be issued by the government, and it’s been compiled by Department of Health and Social Care, along with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority (MHRA) and the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMA), JD Supra explained.
The news provider also highlighted some of the key points within the guidance, including that labelling requirements won’t change, and that the EU will still recognise medical devices that have been CE marked by a UK manufacturer. This could be particularly important for those involved in lab instruments telemarketing.
When it comes to international agreements, such as Mutual Recognition Agreements, the UK will continue to be treated as an EU member state throughout the implementation period.
The detailed guidance can be found on the MHRA pages of the government website.
Speaking to Pharmaceutical Journal, deputy chief scientific officer for the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry Sheuli Porkess stressed that pharmaceutical companies need “as much clarity as possible”.
She added: “We are clear that there needs to be an implementation period, but whether there will be one is still subject to negotiation.”
Bristol University Opens New Life Sciences Department
Date Posted: Wednesday August 8, 2018
Students attending The University of Bristol will be able to enhance their study of life sciences thanks to a new faculty opening at the higher education facility this summer.
The building will encompass already thriving departments at the university, including Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Psychological Science, Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience, and Biological Sciences.
The south-western university hopes that the creation of a new life sciences faculty will help it achieve its goal of becoming the place to study for those interested in the subject, and attract more investors and academics.
It hopes to become a leader in all areas of life sciences over the coming years, including molecular, cellular, tissue, organ systems, behavioural, social and societal.
In order to achieve this, the faculty will provide both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes that are focused on research.
It will also work together with the Faculty of Health Sciences, another major building on campus, which concentrates on Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Science. By contributing to these subjects through research, the faculties will be able to make breakthroughs in their respective sectors.
Vice-chancellor of the university Professor Hugh Brady said Bristol already has a reputation as a “centre of life sciences”.
“The university is at the heart of that, not least because of our world-leading research and the relationships we have with the city’s specialist teaching hospitals, but also our close connection with the BBC’s Bristol-based Natural History Unit,” he stated.
Indeed, in the past, students and academics studying life sciences here have contributed and had significant influence over BBC programmes, including the ever popular Blue Planet show.
Hosted by the legendary David Attenborough, this documentary series is all about the natural world, and has helped millions of Brits learn more about wildlife, plants and our impact on nature.
Last year, Blue Planet II’s first episode was the most popular programme of 2017, with 14.1 million people tuning in to watch it, reported The Guardian. This demonstrates just how much life sciences has grown in popularity with the British public, not just among academics.
Mr Brady added that its new faculty will improve its “reputation for research-rich life sciences education and teaching”.
Leading Bristol’s new life sciences facility will be Professor Jeremy Tavare, who will take the position of Dean. He comes to the role with rich experience of both the sector and the university, having previously been the founding director of the Elizabeth Blackwell Institute and the director of Research (Health & Life Sciences) at the Russell Group University – one of the 24 top research-based further education establishments in the UK.
To help Bristol’s new life sciences faculty become world-class, it has been fitted with technologically advanced equipment. This includes a £13.6 million BBSRC/EPSRC-funded biology centre called BrisSynBio.
Many staff in the life sciences department are also key players in Bristol’s £10 million Integrative Epidemiology Unit and £21 million Biomedical Research Centre.
Speaking about Mr Tavare’s appointment, Mr Brady said: “[He] is a world-class scientist and natural leader. He is held in high-esteem by the research and university community and is the most natural choice to the lead the new Faculty of Life Sciences and implement this vision for the university.”
If you work in the field and want to find out more about lead generation in life sciences, why not get in touch with us today?
Life Science Sales Could Benefit From Marketing Appeal Of Emails
Date Posted: Monday August 6, 2018
Any business will know how important it is to exhaust all possible avenues to secure a sale. You’ll know that it’s difficult in most cases to attract new customers and the value of keeping existing ones. If you’re a life science business, then sales will continue to benefit from the appeal of online marketing.
Research from Direct Marketing Association (DMA) (via the Drum) has found that the public prefers emails as their main marketing channel for businesses to contact them on. You could find it surprising to hear that, especially as negative feedback was directed to the online platform after the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect.
Out of the 2,016 people from the marketing trade association taking part in the online survey, an overwhelming 73 per cent said they still see email as their preferred marketing channel. That’s right, it means that it’s far more popular than text messages, messenger apps, social media and online web banners.
Rachel Aldighieri, managing director of the DMA, commented: “It is encouraging to see that GDPR hasn’t had a negative impact on consumer perceptions of email marketing. Evidently, it remains a key way to engage customers when it is used to promote the right opportunities at the right times.”
Mr Aldighieri added that anyone in marketing should “ensure all their communications use simple, tailored messages”.
It will be welcoming news for many businesses, especially as many employers are still coming to terms with the changes to GDPR – or still finding the best way to transition into it.
Is More GDPR Training Needed In Telemarketing?
Date Posted: Tuesday July 24, 2018
If you’re a business owner, then you will know how crucial it is for all your employees to understand and follow data protection and privacy laws with all clients. It’s something that you’ll emphasise even more in the telemarketing industry, especially as interactions with the public on a regular basis could lead to either of the aforementioned points being breached.
Some employers could face issues with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance going forward. Direct Marketing Association (DMA) conducted a survey that revealed that 27 per cent of people working in marketing did not receive any form of GDPR training before the May 25th deadline.
According to the DMA’s research, 34 per cent of participants felt that they needed more training on the subject, while most people believed that knowing the ins and outs on GDPR was fundamentally important to comply with the changes even after its initial deadline.
Jane Cave, managing director of the Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing, commented: “GDPR compliance is an ongoing journey that didn’t end on May 25th – industry professionals must continue to learn and adapt as they get to grips with the new legislation. Therefore, ongoing training and support [are] essential for marketers and organisations to reap the rewards of GDPR.”
Most businesses will have taken the important step forward to train staff in GDPR. However, the statistics show there is a danger that some companies could face if its workforce doesn’t understand something that’s an integral regulation in the European Union’s law. It might be time for organisations to recheck staff’s knowledge on the topic, offer training or even offer refresher courses.
North’s Life Science Economy Has Doubled Year On Year
Date Posted: Wednesday July 11, 2018
It’s a golden time for life science consulting in the UK, but particularly in the North, where the Life Sciences economy has doubled year on year. According to Med Tech News, the region’s economy has grown by nearly 50 per cent and as much as £4 billion over a year.
This represents a growth from £9.2 billion in 2016 to £13.6 billion in 2017.
The figures, from the Office for Life Sciences, show an increase of 48 per cent year on year, which is 4.8 per cent higher than the national average.
The figures were presented at the Northern Powerhouse Business Summit ‘Great Futures’ by Dr Hakim Yadi, CEO of the NHSA last Friday, where he was also discussing what the north could contribute to tackling issues with the ageing population and advances in artificial intelligence.
“The region has national centres in ageing, digital health, anti-microbial resistance, cancer research and health data. It is again pioneering treatments in and using these capabilities supported by business confidence of £1.6bn of planned investments,” he said.
He also highlighted the national centres leading many areas in life sciences, which are located in the north of England, within the group known as the ‘Northern Powerhouse;
The ‘Northern Powerhouse’ is also home to 19% of the UK biopharmaceutical sector workforce, 29% of the UK Digital Health workforce and 22% of the UK Medical Technology Sector workforce. The number of businesses in the life sciences field has also grown in the north by 755 in the past year.
Scotland Life Sciences Sector Wants To Grow
Date Posted: Thursday July 5, 2018
Life sciences are booming in the UK, and though there are some concerns about Brexit there is plenty that could be done to ensure that the boom continues.
Growing revenue and investing more in research should be top priorities for Scotland’s life sciences sector a new survey has shown.
Despite the doom and gloom over Brexit, 24 per cent of respondents to the Life Sciences Scotland survey said that scaling up sales was their main target. Over 40 per cent of respondents said they would need extra people to help them grow their products, meaning there could be a growth in jobs if these plans come to fruition.
Scottish life sciences sector is made up of about 700 organisations, employs 40,000 people and has a £4.2 billion of turnover.
Life Sciences Scotland told The Times: “This is a crucial time as we work towards our target of achieving a turnover of £8 billion by 2025. We want companies to thrive and have the correct support in order to scale businesses and increase growth. We can only do this by keeping the industry connected and listening to the priorities of companies up and down the country.”
A large chunk of the Scottish Life Sciences sector is made up of the pharmaceutical industry and drug testing, with much of the research coming out of or lead by the universities. There are some fears that this industry could be significantly reduced following Brexit as the MHRA, which was previously based in London, will now move, and with it a lot of the industry.
If you need assistance with life science marketing, contact us today.
Collaboration With US Will Help UK Life Science Sector To Expand
Date Posted: Monday June 25, 2018
The UK life sciences sector has the opportunity to expand further if it collaborates with the USA, secretary of state Dr Liam Fox has stated.
The international trade secretary spoke to members of the American Pharmaceutical Group (APG) and representatives from the US Embassy earlier this week about his vision for an increase in trade between Britain and the US within the life-sciences sector.
Dr Fox noted that there are already “strong ties” between the two nations, with UK’s “world leading innovation” assisting companies in America to create solutions that have an impact on people all over the globe.
“As an international economic department, I want us to go further and see even more British businesses making the most of the opportunities presented by this relationship, not just in this sector, as we look to deepen our trading ties with the US after we leave the European Union,” the MP commented.
At the event, the secretary of state stated a collaboration would be a great opportunity for small and medium-sized enterprises in the UK that specialise in biotech research and development, as they could potentially strike up relationships with big pharmaceutical companies in America.
Last year alone, Britain exported £6 billion worth of pharma products across the Atlantic, which shows there is a demand for British expertise and technology within the industry overseas.
Overall, the life science division in the UK is producing a record turnover of more than £70 billion, and last year saw Britain receive the highest amount of foreign direct investment in Europe for the sector.
Visit our website to find out more about life science marketing and how it can help your business.
Businesses Have Positive View Of GDPR
Date Posted: Friday May 18, 2018
The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which is set to come into force across the EU on 25 May 2018 is being viewed as an opportunity by nearly two-thirds of businesses around the world.
This is the finding of a study by IBM, which revealed that 60 per cent of companies believe that GDPR presents an opportunity to “improve privacy, security and data management” or that they plan to use it as “a catalyst for new business models”.
As part of its Institute for Business Value study, IBM surveyed 1,500 business leaders who are responsible for GDPR compliance at their organisation. The respondents were from around the world, not just within the EU.
An overwhelming majority (84 per cent) believe that GDPR compliance will act as a positive differentiator for the public, while 76 per cent said that they think it will “enable more trusted relationships with data subjects”.
With the deadline for GDPR compliance fast approaching in Europe, 80 per cent of companies are cutting back the amount of personal data they store, while 70 per cent are getting rid of data that is no longer required.
Cindy Compert, CTO for data security and privacy at IBM Security, explained that the legislation is being introduced at a time when consumer confidence in businesses’ ability to keep their personal data secure has fallen.
“These factors together have created a perfect storm for companies to rethink their approach to data responsibility and begin to restore the trust needed in today’s data-driven economy,” she asserted.
However, a survey conducted recently by cyber security firm ThinkMarble found that 73 per cent of UK businesses are currently unaware of the lawful basis for processing data.
If you need assistance with life science telemarketing, contact us today.
Potential Of Cambridge Life Sciences Cluster Highlighted
Date Posted: Monday May 14, 2018
Independent research, commissioned by AstraZeneca, has found that the Cambridge life sciences cluster has strong potential in terms of the contribution it can make to the UK’s economy.
According to the findings, this particular hub for the life sciences sector could contribute an additional £1 billion to the country’s economy by 2032. This would also result in around 6,000 new jobs being created by life sciences firms in the region.
The Cambridge life sciences cluster already employs 15,500 people across 430 companies that collectively bring £2.9 billion a year to the British economy.
The two biggest factors in achieving growth in this area are continuing to have a strong pipeline of talent and companies being able to source early-stage growth and research funding.
Jonathan Dry, director of oncology bioinformatics at the IMED biotech unit at AstraZeneca, commented: “In terms of a scientific hub, Cambridge is phenomenal. The city fosters a strong culture of collaboration between not just organisations but sectors too.”
He cited the example of how AstraZeneca is currently working with the University of Cambridge and Microsoft on cancer research to show how effective these cross-sector partnerships can be. “We’ve been able to further cancer research more effectively as a result,” Mr Dry asserted.
There are a number of projects designed to foster collaboration between businesses and sectors to benefit the life sciences industry, such as the recently announced joint technology initiative set up by Technology Touching Life.
Its aim is to explore developments in the areas of engineering and physical sciences, encouraging specialists from each sector to work together to push forward life sciences discovery research.
If you need assistance with lead generation for life sciences, contact our team of experts today.
Life Science Analytics Market Predicted To Reach $25.9bn In 7 Yrs
Date Posted: Tuesday May 8, 2018
The life science analytics market keeps on growing, with experts predicting it will exceed $25.9 billion (£19 billion) in the next seven years.
Grand View Research Inc released a report on May 2nd that stated the entire sector will receive a boost from continual digitalisation, which will improve its value chain by 2025.
In addition to this, the increasing cost of healthcare across the globe is expected to drive the pharma and life science industry. The report revealed that a retired couple would typically spend $275,000 on their healthcare treatments throughout their lifetime. As the ageing population increases, so too does the amount of money spent on medical care, with 70 per cent of this group of people expected to need long-term care to keep them healthy.
The findings stated: “Growing healthcare cost is expected to boost demand for life science analytics to streamline third-party processes and optimise overall cost.”
There has been an emphasis on workplace wellbeing over the last few years, as well as a bigger focus on improved health standards for the older population, and research into non-communicable diseases and their symptoms. Therefore, more money is being ploughed into the industry to help patients who need medical treatment.
It is not just the increasing amount being spent by patients, but also from the government. While many have been concerned that Brexit could affect investment in Britain’s science research future, chairman of MedCity Dr Eliot Forster recently told the Daily Telegraph that previous investments will “begin to generate data”, which will lead to developments in the industry.
Analytics is helping the sector greatly by cutting down on fraudulent payments, and in 2011, predictive analytics saved $1.5 billion by doing this, according to CMS. If you are interested in finding out more about life science marketing, get in touch with us today.
Technology Focus For New Research Network Collaboration
Date Posted: Monday April 23, 2018
£3 million has been awarded to set up five research networks as part of a joint technology initiative established by Technology Touching Life, which in itself is a collaboration between three organisations.
The Cambridge Network explained that the aim of this project is to explore new and emerging developments in the fields of engineering and physical sciences. The hope is that scientists from different disciplines can work together to advance life sciences discovery research.
By helping to forge partnerships between engineers, health and life scientists and physical sciences researchers the network wants to encourage cutting-edge research to help develop advanced technology that can benefit the life sciences sector.
The news provider cited examples where previous collaborations have been successful, such as with the development of genome editing and super-resolution microscopy.
MRC, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) have established Technology Touching Life for this purpose.
Speaking to Cambridge Network, head of molecular and cellular medicine at MRC Dr Nathan Richardson said that the establishment of these networks presents an “exciting opportunity” for interdisciplinary research.
“The development and application of innovative technologies is crucial to furthering our knowledge and understanding across biomedical sciences,” Dr Richardson stated.
John Hand, head of physical sciences at EPSRC, added: “Novel engineering and physical sciences research is vital to the development of new tools and technologies for discovery-led research in the life and biomedical sciences.”
Each of the five networks that has received funding will be working on a specific problem or development. For instance, Organ-on-a-chip Technologies will see researchers from engineering, chemistry, materials science and biology backgrounds working to grow cells in “artificial environments that mimic the human body”.
These are known as organs on chips and can be used as an alternative to testing on animals when carrying out early testing for new drugs.
Meanwhile, the ImagingBioPro Network will be exploring new imaging techniques that can allow scientists to capture images that show “the dynamic biological processes on multiple timescales and at different structural levels”.
The other networks that are receiving funding are the Integrative Biological Imaging Network, which is being led by Professor Maddy Parsons from King’s College London; 3DBioNet, which is being headed up by Dr Raphael Levy of the University of Liverpool; and PhenomUK, which is based at the University of Nottingham.
King’s College London was just one of the UK universities that featured in the SQ World University Rankings for 2018 for life sciences and medicine, achieving 17th place. However, the University of Cambridge and University of Oxford ranked in joint second place.
UCL was named in eighth place, Imperial College London took the 11th spot, and the University of Edinburgh just pipped King’s by taking 16th position. All of this is encouraging for the UK’s life sciences sector though at a time when there is some uncertainty over the future due to the impact of Brexit.
If you need assistance with lead generation for scientific instruments, contact us today to find out how our expertise could help you.
University Of Leicester Gets £1m Life Sciences Investment Boost
Date Posted: Wednesday April 18, 2018
There could be substantial progress made in the life sciences sector in the Midlands after the University of Leicester secured a £1 million investment in the sector.
The College of Life Sciences at the university will be given funding from two Medical Research Council (MRC) schemes, including the Proximity to Discovery – for which it will receive £296,000 – and Confidence in Concept, with the remaining £767,000 being rewarded for this initiative.
Professor Philip Baker, pro-vice chancellor, head of college and dean of medicine at the University of Leicester, said the money will “make a real difference to our efforts to engage with industry partners”.
Business development manager Dr Riddhi Shukla added the funding will be very beneficial to both life science marketing experts and the researchers at the educational hub, stating: “[It] allows industrial partners an opportunity to learn more about how research is carried out at Leicester.”
The investment will be used to support collaborative research between scientists and industry professionals in order to create ‘real world’ advances in healthcare, and not just academic theories.
Leicester University has grand research ambitions, and the MRC funds will enable scientists to gain expertise and strength from organisations such as Life Sciences Opportunity Zone, Leicester Life Sciences Accelerator, Leicester Innovation Hub, and Leicester Skills Academy. It hopes this will have a positive impact on the life sciences sector in the UK.
The university is breaking ground in other scientific areas as well, and recently received £4.8 million from Research England to enhance studies in the British space industry. This will help the UK maintain a major role in space innovation for future discoveries.
Life Sciences Hub Joins NWID To Create Digital Health Network
Date Posted: Tuesday April 17, 2018
Life Sciences Hub Wales has teamed up with the NHS Wales Informatics Service (NWIS) to establish a digital health and care ecosystem to bring improved care through digital services and technology.
Computer Weekly reports that the network, called the Digital Health Ecosystem Wales (DHEW), will run for two years until March 2020 when it will be reviewed.
The mission of this life sciences ecosystem is to help engage stakeholders through information sharing to encourage cross-sector collaboration. It hopes to assist tech suppliers in their aim to get access to the health and care markets to enable innovation in Wales.
NWIS will provide the technical platform for the project, creating an application programming interface library, which anybody implementing an application in the NHS can use to make integration simpler.
“Access to the NHS Wales architecture is being delivered in incremental phases and will be delivered via an internet-based interface to enable software developers across the globe to be able to connect their systems,” the NWIS was quoted by the publication as saying.
This follows news that speakers at the Future of Healthcare Investor Forum indicate there is no reason to expect any barriers to investment in UK life sciences as Brexit looms.
The Daily Telegraph reported that MedCity chairman Dr Eliot Forster is one leader who is optimistic about life sciences, stating that solid investment in recent years has allowed the industry to thrive and to develop large partnerships, securing its growth trajectory.
For advice on your planned life science marketing projects, visit us today.
Manchester Science Partnership Reveals Strong Year Of Growth
Date Posted: Thursday April 5, 2018
Last year was a positive one for those working in life science marketing and sales jobs, as the sector experienced significant growth in 2017.
Manchester Science Partnership (MSP), in particular, had a strong 12 months, with the group’s net worth increasing by ten per cent in the year leading to September 2017, reaching £58.3 million.
The science park operator, which has five sites across Manchester and Cheshire, owes its success to supporting science businesses in their own growth and expansion, the Manchester Evening News reported.
Chief executive of MSP Chris Oglesby was quoted by the news provider as saying its buildings along Manchester’s Oxford Road has created a “TMT sector hotspot for over 1,500 digital jobs”.
“MSP’s unique ownership structure and relationship with the city, alongside our comprehensive programme of business support, gives us the opportunity to play a pivotal role in delivering growth and high-value jobs in the tech sector and wider knowledge economy,” he stated.
This positive news comes after MSP revealed plans to expand with a 220,000 sq ft Citylabs 2.0 and 3.0 buildings on the existing Citylabs campus in Manchester.
While the expansion is set to cost £60 million, it is thought the campus will provide an economic boost to the city of over £100 million, as well as create 1,000 jobs for those in the science industry.
The north-west could become a major science hub in the future, after the Manchester Metropolitan University also revealed plans to join with Tatton Estate to create a multi-million pound tech facility in Cheshire.
Scottish Life Sciences Firms Get New Business Hub
Date Posted: Thursday April 5, 2018
The Highland Council area of Scotland is doing its best to help life sciences companies collaborate, find new investment and showcase their products through the creation of a new life sciences hub in the region.
Scottish Business News Network reported on the new centre, the NEXUS project, which is part of the Northern Innovation Hub and led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE). As well as these collaborative opportunities, it will also provide workspace to organisations operating in the industry.
It’s located on Inverness Campus, which means firms also “have access to research and academic partners”, the news provider explained.
A mentoring and coaching programme for start-ups was also launched alongside the new hub, which will help entrepreneurs test their ideas, determine if they’re viable and if they are, to formulate a business plan.
HIE chief executive Charlotte Wright said that launching NEXUS was part of the organisation’s long-term commitment to provide support to businesses in the sector and help them “achieve their goals and realise their full potential”.
She added that the Inverness and Highlands area is known as an important centre for life sciences in the UK, which is why it’s important that the industry is nurtured and supported.
In February, some of the achievements of Scottish life sciences firms were highlighted at the Life Sciences Dinner & Annual Awards. The Scotsman reported that £152 million was invested in the sector during 2017, making it one of the best places in the UK for businesses to access risk capital.
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North East Offers ‘Impressive Opportunities For Life Sciences Sector’
Date Posted: Wednesday March 21, 2018
The north-east of England could become one of the epicentres for life science research in the future, after trade experts from around the world return home to raise awareness of the region’s investment in the sector.
Representatives from the Department of International Trade (DIT) visited last week to learn about the money being ploughed in the health and life science industry and networks in the area.
The 15 delegates from countries such as Japan, the US, Canada, Israel and New Zealand, took a look at Thermo Fisher Scientific in Northumberland, before meeting with staff from Science Central, NETPark, the Centre for Ageing and Vitality, the NIHR Clinical Research Network, First for Pharma and many more.
Inward investment manager at Invest North East England David Pattison said: “The north-east is a world class centre of healthcare and life science excellence.”
He noted there are 165 life science-related firms in the region, making it “one of the foremost clusters of life sciences and pharmaceutical capabilities in the UK with an excellent record of high-quality delivery”.
Mr Pattison wanted to give the DIT delegates a good appreciation that the north-east is a principle location for this industry in the UK. As a result of this visit, therefore, he hopes more investment will be put into the area, thereby creating more jobs as well.
This comes after chairman of MedCity Dr Eliot Forster revealed his optimism about the sector this year, saying the investments that were made previously will “begin to generate data”.
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New Funding Announced For Life Sciences In Kent
Date Posted: Tuesday March 13, 2018
A venture capital fund has announced that it will provide £50 million of funding to support the life sciences industry in Kent.
City AM reported on the fund which is being launched by NCL Technology Ventures and that has the backing of Kent County Council. Its focus will be on small and medium-sized enterprises operating in the areas of medical technology and advanced therapeutics.
The money will be made available to high-growth SMEs, the news provider added. This is the second Kent Life Sciences Fund set up by NCL, and the hope is that the money will attract companies to the UK that are looking to establish a base in the country with the possibility of global expansion.
Investment director at NCL Jonathan Synett said that boosting sectors like life sciences is vital ahead of Brexit. He added that the UK is “at the forefront of a radical change in new medical technologies and therapeutics”.
“We’re looking to invest in start-ups and SMEs so they can scale up and reach the NHS and other markets with their cutting-edge innovations,” he told the news provider
NCL’s first fund invested in eight small firms, all of which have space in its Discovery Park. Any new companies that receive money under the new scheme will also be offered space here.
The UK, and London in particular, has been strong when it comes to raising funding for life sciences ventures in recent years. Earlier this month, Medcity revealed that London raised more funding in this sector than any other capital city in Europe in 2017, Laboratory Talk reported.
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Sidley Austin Announces Launch Of UK Life Sciences Practice
Date Posted: Thursday March 8, 2018
Sidley Austin LLP has teamed up with former Bristows LLP employee Marie Manley to launch a major UK life science law practice.
Ms Manley, who was previously the leader of Bristows’ Life Sciences regulatory department, will lead the company’s life sciences team in the capital.
Managing partner of Sidley’s London office Matthew Dening said: “Marie’s arrival signals our on-going commitment to global life sciences and the London market.”
He noted that Marie has a “deep understanding” of the regulatory systems in both the UK and European Union and comes to the firm with “extensive experience in contentious proceedings”.
Ms Manley has been practising life sciences law for a long time, and her expertise lies in European and UK regulations, issues concerning the life cycle of medicinal products, and product liability, competition and advertising of these commodities.
She has vast experience working across Europe and around the world, particularly in EU court tests.
Commenting on her new position, Ms Manley said she is “delighted” to be joining the firm, adding that it will give her a new platform to “assist my clients in a globalised world where bio/pharma companies are facing multiple cross-border challenges in which consistency of approach in all key jurisdictions is paramount”.
Sidley was founded more than 150 years ago, and now has a vast team of legal professionals around the world. It prides itself on its achievements and ethics, and was named a Learning Elite organisation in 2017 by Chief Learning Officer magazine. This celebrates businesses that have excellent workforce development strategies that yield good results.
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Best Life Science Universities Revealed
Date Posted: Wednesday March 7, 2018
Life science consulting is essential to the long-term sustainability of our universities, particularly those with leading life sciences departments.
Top Universities has revealed the SQ world university rankings 2018 for life sciences and medicines, and unsurprisingly Harvard has top billing as the best life sciences university in the world.
The UK follows in closely behind with the University of Cambridge and University of Oxford both coming in at joint second place.
UCL is in 8th place, so still in the top ten, while Imperial College London sits at 11th place, the University of Edinburgh at 16th and King’s College London at 17th. The University of Manchester comes in at number 35, a significant leap from last’s years position at 50th. It shares its 35th place with London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.
Others in the top 50 include The University of Glasgow at joint 45th place, and the University of Bristol with has raised from 62nd place last year to 48th place this year.
The placements of each university are determined by the university’s academic reputation, employer reputations, citations by paper, and H-index citations. This means that the amount of publications and research a university carries out is key to the billing it gets on these league tables. It also shows us just how healthy the UK’s life science research community is at the moment.
The high billing of UK universities demonstrates just how strong the UK life sciences industry is, and just how important it is to protect and grow it.
Kitchen Renovation Trends Revealed
Date Posted: Thursday February 22, 2018
If you’ve decided that 2018 is the year that you finally revamp your kitchen, you may want to consider what some of the top trends are in this space.
Domain recently highlighted the findings of a Houzz survey, which picked out the top features for kitchens this year. One of the main trends is for larger, open-plan kitchens, which means that the likes of islands are growing in popularity.
Many homeowners who plan to tackle their kitchens this year are intending to focus on their cabinetry. The main reasons for the change are to make better use of the space, reduce clutter and improve efficiency.
Rather than going for an off-the-shelf set of kitchen units, you may want to spend a little more and invest in luxury bespoke kitchens in London to get exactly what you want from your space.
Wood is still proving a popular material too, particularly where flooring is concerned, as homeowners are swapping tiles for wooden flooring to get the aesthetic they’re looking for.
The Irish Times also recently highlighted some top kitchen design trends, among them the growing popularity of breakfast bars and a preference for on-show storage. That means more open shelving to allow people to inject some personality and warmth into their kitchens.
According to the news provider, wood is also making a return to our kitchens in more places than just on the floor because it is “another way to add warmth to the space”. Incorporating this material in unusual ways – such as by using wood panels for a splashback, for example – is also proving popular.
Universities Working With GSK On Research Project
Date Posted: Thursday February 22, 2018
GSK is collaborating with two universities in the Midlands on a research project exploring new treatments for chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD).
East Midlands Business Link revealed that the pharmaceutical giant will be working with life sciences researchers from the biomedical research centres (BRCs) at the universities of Leicester and Nottingham, who are exploring the use of genetics to aid the development of new therapies for COPD and related airway disorders.
The teams at the universities plan to combine laboratory experiments with large-scale computational analyses to try to better understand the disease progression, as well as why some patients with COPD experience more frequent flare ups.
Meanwhile, GSK will provide expertise in the area of drug discovery, with the hope that by working together they can speed up the development of innovative new treatments for COPD.
Director at the National Institute for Health Research Nottingham BRC professor Ian Hall commented: “Collaborations such as this, where each partner brings unique strengths to the research programme, are essential to drive forwards the drug discovery process.”
He added that this will help “identify the best individualised treatment options” for those suffering from COPD and related conditions.
This is just one life sciences project that is receiving investment in the Midlands at present, with a recent report by the D2N2 local enterprise partnership highlighting the need for continued investment in this specialism in the region.
The organisation has already provided £6.5 million in funding to support the construction of a new life sciences building near Nottingham.
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Scotland Prepares To Celebrate Life Sciences Achievements At Upcoming Award Ceremony
Date Posted: Friday February 16, 2018
Later this month, big players in the life sciences sector in Scotland will come together to celebrate their breakthroughs this year in an award ceremony.
On February 28th, Scotland’s Life Sciences Dinner & Annual Awards will take place at the Glasgow Hilton hotel.
More than 700 people are expected to attend the prestigious event to celebrate successes in the industry in Scotland over the last 12 months.
According to the Scotsman, £152 million was ploughed into the sector last year, making the 2018 award show one research organisations, individuals and companies in life sciences have been particularly looking forward to.
Professor Dame Anna Dominiczak, Regius Professor of Medicine, Vice Principal and Head of the College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences at Glasgow University, will be the keynote speaker at the event.
Everyone in the life science sales and marketing industry will be keen to find out who will be announced as winners. Among those nominated are Orbital Diagnostics Ltd, Omega Diagnostics Group plc and TC BioPharm for the innovation award; Exscientia Ltd, NuCana plc and Quotient for the investment of the year accolade; and Dr Helen Erwood, Campbell Grant and Hugh Griffith for the business leadership prize.
There will also be an outstanding contribution award presented on the night, which will be given to “an exceptional life sciences leader in recognition of their contribution to Scotland’s life sciences industry”.
It is positive to hear the industry is still thriving, and some experts in the field assert that investment will continue to grow despite Brexit concerns.
Chairman of MedCity Dr Eliot Forster spoke at the Future of Healthcare Investor Forum earlier this month, and was quoted by the Daily Telegraph as saying investments made over the last few years will begin to generate research results.
“Once that data is out, very big deals can get done and further momentum can be gained,” he stated.
London Beats Europe In Raising Life Sciences Money In 2017
Date Posted: Monday February 12, 2018
London is well known as a worldwide hub for life sciences investment, so it’s no surprise that it beat out other European cities to be the number one in life sciences sales in 2017.
According to new findings by MedCity, reported by Laboratory Talk, investment in Life Sciences reached nearly £1 billion last year, thanks to some particularly big deals from the likes of Autolus and Cell Medica. One of the biggest coups was by Orchard Therapeutics, which raised $110 million in series B funding last year.
Rajesh Agrawal, deputy mayor of London for business, said that the result was a testament to the universities, businesses and research institutes in and around London: “We are pioneering cutting-edge technologies, life-changing treatments and ground-breaking programmes – the capital offers a huge number of opportunities for investors to support creativity across our thriving life sciences sector,” he said.
The investment looks to be a record for the capital, and Sarah Heywood, the chief executive officer of MedCity, believes its the result of a great environment created by funding, the regulatory bodies and the level of innovation occurring within the UK sector at present.
MedCity is an organisation with aims to promote life sciences in the ‘golden circle of the UK – Cambridge, Oxford and London – with the other two areas also attracting significant funding last year.
Investment in university spin-offs also reached record levels in 2017, with Cambridge University, the University of Oxford and Imperial College London proving the most successful in this field in the UK.
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London Life Sciences Investment ‘Highest In Europe’
Date Posted: Monday February 12, 2018
A survey of investment in life sciences in European capital cities shows London raised the most, reaching some £1 billion in financing.
Lab News reported that the MedCity analysis shows the so-called Golden Triangle of Cambridge, London, Oxford and the Greater South East saw the bulk of the investment.
Among the biggest deals of the year were Orchard Therapeutics’ $110 million in Series B funding, while £60 million in Series C funding was raised by Imperial College spin-out Cell Medica, while immunotherapy company Autolus made $80 million.
Oxford University, Cambridge University and Imperial College London raised the most in terms of university spin-out investment, which reached record levels in 2017. With Oxford-based Immunocore announcing it had secured $40 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for its immunotherapy work.
MedCity CEO Sarah Haywood was quoted as saying: “The pace of innovation in the life sciences sector, from genomics to digital health and gene therapies, coupled with a fertile funding environment and supportive regulatory system, has helped fuel this record investment into companies across London, Cambridge and Oxford.
“The enthusiasm for UK life sciences is encouraging new UK and global investors to plough money into our resilient sector and its spread of life sciences companies.”
Good news for UK Life Sciences spreads outside of the Golden Triangle however, with the Scottish Life Sciences sector set to receive an additional £8 billion by 2025, according to pledges made in the 2017 Life Sciences Strategy.
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Life Sciences Set For Development In East Midlands
Date Posted: Tuesday January 23, 2018
A report commissioned for the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) area in the East Midlands has identified a number of industries that should be targeted for investment and growth in the coming years.
The life sciences sector is among them, with the East Midlands Business Link revealing that the report is recommending “greater investment in research and development across the economy”.
The Science and Innovation audit also pointed out just how much certain industries are already benefiting the local economy, with an estimated one in five jobs in the science and technology sectors.
Near Nottingham, the growing life sciences cluster has already received funding from D2N2’s local growth fund allocation, with the organisation providing £6.5 million of the £30 million required to build a new life sciences building – BioCity Discovery.
Life sciences and healthcare were also identified as market priorities within the region by the report, alongside the likes of energy and low carbon, and next generation transport.
According to the full audit, the region’s main strengths lie in “biotech and pharma, alongside med tech and wellbeing”.
Over 350 companies in the life sciences sector, which equates to six per cent of all such businesses in the UK, are located in this region.
Sygnature Discovery and XenoGesis were two of the companies singled out as performing particularly well in recent years. Both are tenants in BioCity that operate as Contract Research Organisations (CROs), with the study highlighting the growth in the number of large pharmaceutical and biotech businesses using firms providing CRO services.
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Science And Tech Would Be Hit Badly By No-Deal Brexit
Date Posted: Wednesday January 17, 2018
The science and technology sectors in the UK would be among the worst affected if there is a no-deal Brexit in 2019, new research has suggested.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan commissioned a study to look at the impact that the various potential outcomes of Brexit would have on different industry sectors.
The Register noted that, if no deal between the UK and the rest of the EU is agreed, it would have a significant negative impact on the science and technology industry, resulting in an estimated 92,000 fewer jobs in these areas by 2030.
However, digital technology would be hit harder than life sciences when it comes to job losses, the report noted.
One of the biggest concerns post-Brexit is going to be funding for life sciences projects. At present, the EU runs a funding scheme, known as Horizon 2020, which funds a variety of research projects across the science and technology sectors.
The fund stood at €80 billion for 2014-2020, with the UK attracting between €1 billion and €1.5 billion a year from this pot.
Although the government has pledged to underwrite any EU funding that was won before Brexit or the initial exit deal in December, there are concerns about how a similar level of funding would be obtained after the country leaves the EU.
However, the Life Sciences sector deal that was announced by the government in December last year could provide some answers, with the government aiming to develop a programme of co-investment in life sciences projects between Whitehall and private firms.
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UK’s Life Sciences Performance ‘Mixed’
Date Posted: Monday January 8, 2018
There is a mixed picture when you look at data to see how the UK’s life sciences industry is performing in comparison to its European neighbours.
In an article for Pharmaphorum, Leela Barham explored the various indicators that give an overall view of how the sector is doing. She has examined data from as far back as 2009, up to the most recent information available, which for the most part is from 2015.
There are some areas where the UK is on a par or ahead of its European counterparts, such as pharmaceutical R&D spend, and the number of foreign direct investment projects that have been set up in the country between 2012 and 2016.
In other areas, such as private equity investment in R&D spend, the UK has experienced growth in recent years, but is still a long way behind economies such as Germany. One indicator where the UK tops the list though, is in government R&D spend, which has remained consistently high since 2009.
However, in other aspects the country is not performing as well as some of its main European competitors. For instance, employment in the pharmaceutical industry has declined considerably since 2012, while the trade balance has also fallen since 2009.
With a new pharmaceutical price regulation scheme set to be agreed over the coming year though, there are opportunities to boost the industry. The government’s announcement towards the end of last year of a sector deal for the life sciences industry is expected to help support the industry too, through a number of partnerships between government and private firms.
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UK Biotech ‘Needs Entrepreneurial Scientists’
Date Posted: Wednesday January 3, 2018
The UK government recently announced a bold plan to boost the UK’s life sciences sector, with ambitions to create four £20 billion life science companies over the next decade.
Writing for Labiotech, Dr Mark Hammond said that what’s set out in the life sciences strategy is a great start, but it’s not likely to be enough to achieve the government’s ambitions.
The reason is that the government’s strategy is focusing on what Dr Hammond describes as “very traditional later stage investments in partnerships and relocating R&D”. However, he notes that more needs to be done to promote venture creation from the ground up.
“We’re going to need a lot more entrepreneurial scientists with the space to create, derisk and grow,” he asserted.
Dr Hammond also offered a number of suggestions as to how the UK can promote this kind of entrepreneurship among scientists.
Among them is to find a way to encourage early-stage investors in biotech to think big from the beginning, and giving scientists and researchers a space to think outside of academia.
He concluded that, without doing more at the earliest stages of the sector to help feed the later-stage pipeline, creating the four £20 billion life science firms will be challenging.
The UK government published its life sciences strategy in August of this year, with Sir John Bell having put forward proposals for the sector deal in the Industrial Strategy green paper.
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Roche Partners With Horizon Discovery Group On New Drugs
Date Posted: Friday December 29, 2017
Pharmaceutical giant Roche Diagnostics has partnered with Cambridge-based Horizon Discovery Group to work on developing immunohistochemistry (IHC) assays together.
IHC assays are used in the development of new drugs, and cancer therapies in particular could advance as a result of this partnership.
Horizon explained that one of the areas it will be targeting through this partnership is neurotrophic tropomyosin receptor kinase (NTRK) fusion biomarkers, which have recently been discovered to be promising targets for cancer treatments.
The Cambridgeshire firm will provide these biomarkers to Roche Diagnostics, and because they mimic real patient samples, they will allow the pharmaceutical company to carry out testing while ensuring “better control of variability across the complete diagnostic workflow”, the organisation explained.
Chief executive officer at the company Dr Darrin M Disley commented: “Horizon continues to establish itself as a leading supporter of the development and validation of molecular diagnostics by providing reliable and high-quality reference standards to assay developers.”
Earlier this month the UK government announced details of the Sector Deal with the country’s life sciences industry.
The aim of this plan, which will see significant investment from a number of organisations operating in this area, is to “ensure the UK is at the forefront of developing new innovative treatments and medical technologies that improve patient lives”.
In addition to the investment being delivered by private organisations, the government will also be ploughing funding into the sector to support it. Up to £210 million could therefore be made available for the likes of early diagnostics programmes, genomics and using AI with digital pathology and radiology.
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Life Sciences Sector Deal Announced
Date Posted: Sunday December 17, 2017
The UK government has unveiled a new sector deal with the UK’s life sciences industry, which will see what the Department of Business, Energy, Innovation and Skills is describing as “significant investment” from 25 companies operating in the sector.
Under the new strategy are proposals to help the sector modernise, boosting both large and small firms that operate in this area, as well as ensuring the life sciences companies are well placed to respond to the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.
MSD, which is known as Merck and Co. Inc in the USA, will be providing major investment in the sector by funding a new life sciences discovery research facility and headquarters. This is expected to support 950 jobs, including 150 new high-skilled research positions.
Jeremy Hunt, health secretary, commented: “The UK has a huge amount to offer the life sciences sector, combining globally renowned scientific research bases with our world-leading NHS which allows innovators to test and refine products at scale.”
Other large companies that have also announced that they will be investing in the sector are The Medicines Company, Johnson & Johnson and GSK.
GSK will be providing £40 million to support genetic research and use advances in this field to further the development of new medicines.
President of R&D at the firm Patrick Vallance said that the UK already has world-leading status in the area of genomics and bioinformatics, but that this and other investment will help strengthen this field in the life sciences sector.
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US Life Sciences Investment Fund Pumps $1bn Into UK
Date Posted: Thursday December 7, 2017
A life sciences fund based in the US is planning to invest $1 billion (£742 million) in the UK, with the aim of creating a leading biotech company – a move ministers are supporting as a post-Brexit positive.
The Financial Times reported that the investor – which has not yet been named – will move a portion of its own operations over the Atlantic to establish a presence in the UK which will bridge government and pharma.
There are now a handful of biotech businesses in the UK worth around £1 billion that are looking for big overseas partners.
This latest deal reflects a determination on behalf of decision-makers in Westminster to blaze a trail for pharmaceuticals after the UK breaks with the European Union, while it is also anticipated to shine the spotlight on the investment intentions of several leading life sciences companies.
One of the sector giants expected to show its hand, the FT reported is the UK’s biggest drugs manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline.
This news follows the more optimistic atmosphere concerning a post-Brexit British pharma industry at the Future of Healthcare Investor Forum.
The meeting predicted the coming year will see an increase in investment in life sciences companies after an uptick in interest in 2016.
Indeed, the Daily Telegraph recently reported that last year, early stage investment in life sciences companies more than tripled and there was nothing to suggest this trend would falter.
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UK Wins ERC Research Grants
Date Posted: Monday December 4, 2017
The UK has come out top in the funding race for consolidator grants from the European Research Council (ERC), which has pledged €630 million (£554.79 million) to fund scientific research projects on the continent.
More than 300 researchers from across Europe have been awarded grants from the ERC, with the highest number of grants made available to UK scientists. Projects will be carried out in 22 European countries thanks to the cash boost.
“The funding will encourage these mid-career scientists to explore further the unknown and develop their most daring ideas,” commented president of the ERC Jean-Pierre Bourguignon.
Consolidator grants are given to researchers who have completed their PHDs and have between seven and 12 years’ experience, as well as a promising track record. The UK received 60 grants, Germany was awarded 56 and France received 38.
Projects were chosen from 2,538 submitted entries – in total, 13 per cent received the ERC’s backing.
Of the grants awarded, 32 per cent went to female applicants. Commissioner for research, science and innovation Carlos Moedas said that he was “pleased to see that the share of grants attributed to women researchers is growing in ERC competitions”.
Mr Moedas added that the funding will boost the European Union’s scientific excellence and competitiveness, enhancing its attractiveness as a haven for research and innovation.
The grants will be used to explore a range of life sciences challenges, including how drug-resistant bacteria can be made sensitive to bacteria again, alongside physical sciences, engineering and humanities projects.
Grants have been awarded under the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 Programme – the biggest research and innovation agenda of its kind, which will provide almost €80 billion in funding over the seven years between 2014 and 2010.
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800 Life Sciences Jobs For Manchester
Date Posted: Saturday December 2, 2017
Life sciences marketing should be focused on Manchester in the near future, as more and more businesses bring their efforts to the city.
One German pharmaceutical company Qiagen is looking to expand its current headquarters in the city into a campus, with work focusing on genomics and diagnostics.
There are already 270 staff based at Skelton House near Manchester University, but it is hoped a further 800 staff will join them as the business expands.
Director of PR for Qiagen Dr Thomas Theuringer said: “We are considering investing in Manchester because we have a very good experience of the skill set available and the people there.
“With an office already in Manchester the city is contributing very much to the success of our business and the growth of personalised healthcare is going to be the future.
A deal isn’t expected until early 2018, but the interest the company is showing in investing in Manchester is the latest in a long line of investments by life sciences companies in the city.
The city is an attractive prospect for many life sciences companies due to the number of life sciences graduates coming from The University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University.
There are already a number of world-leading research centres in Manchester as well as the Universities, such as Christies Hospital, and Cancer Research UK which has its main research facility based there.
These join a thriving computation and tech industry which has been in Manchester for the past century.
Cancer Treatments Prioritised By New Life Sciences Spin-out
Date Posted: Saturday November 25, 2017
A spin-out of a successful life sciences company in the UK aims to look specifically at finding new treatments for cancer.
NeoPhore has been created by Cambridge-based PhoreMost and is being backed by the CRT Pioneer Fund, which has provided financial support to get NeoPhore off the ground, the Cambridge News revealed.
In total, £3 million has been invested by the CRT Pioneer Fund in the new venture. NeoPhore has been established specifically to focus on the “discovery and development of novel small molecule therapies to treat cancer through stimulation of the immune system”.
Chris Torrance, CEO and founder of PhoreMost, commented: “NeoPhore’s target rationale has already been proven directly in cancer patients treated with immunotherapy, providing a particularly strong basis for developing novel drugs.”
Through its work, Neophore will be focusing on two outcomes – to boost cancer immunity among patients with unresponsive, immunologically ‘cold’ tumors; and to improve responses among patients who are already eligible for immunotherapy treatments for their cancer.
There is much work being done in the area of cancer immunotherapy at present, with Roche recently reporting positive results in its Phase III clinical trial of immune system boosting drug Tecentriq, which was given alongside chemo and the firm’s older drug Avastin, Reuters reported.
During the trial, the company showed that this combination delayed lung cancer progression, and this is the first time that mixing chemo with new immunotherapy treatments has been validated in a large Phase III clinical trial.
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Funding Boost For UK Life Sciences
Date Posted: Wednesday November 1, 2017
Chancellor Philip Hammond has announced that the drug discover and mental health treatment sectors of the UK life sciences industry will receive additional funding to help with their work.
He stated that the government wants to support the industry because it employs hundreds of thousands of people in the UK and is one of the world leaders in this field.
Speaking on a visit to the Francis Crick Institute, he stated: “It is through supporting growth in these cutting-edge industries that we will build a competitive economy that works for everyone.”
A total of £17 million will be spread across a range of projects, Mr Hammond announced. These include work on a cryo-electron microscope that is capable of building 3D models of biological components, as well as money to expand the Confidence in Concept business catalyst scheme, Verdict reported.
Confidence in Concept was designed to increase investment in research into mental health treatments. A further benefit of the cash injection will be the creation of a new innovation hub, kitted out with new equipment and providing jobs for researchers.
According to the news provider, there are more than 5,000 life sciences businesses in the UK, with a combined turnover of £64 billion.
However, there are concerns that Brexit could negatively impact the life sciences sector in the country, with a House of Lords committee recently being told that a commitment to partnership investment within the EU is key if firms are to continue to plough money into the industry.
Pharmaceutical Journal reported on comments from Steve Bates, chief executive officer at the Bioindustry Association, who told the committee that investment decisions have been impacted in the past three months as a result of the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.
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Lab Innovations Showcases The Latest In Lab Equipment
Date Posted: Monday October 30, 2017
Now in its sixth year, the Lab Innovations event is a unique opportunity for material and life science marketing, bringing together the latest analytical, biotech and lab equipment, along with live-action displays, seminars and speaker presentations from industry experts.
Taking place over November 1st and 2nd at Birmingham’s NEC, the science showcase will put on display products from around 130 exhibitors over the two days, several of whom will be demonstrating their equipment up close in the Live Lab.
Meanwhile, the Insight and Innovations Theatre will be back this year with a range of fascinating seminars, while presentations will be given by keynote speakers Adam Rutherford and Jude Pullen.
The schedule of events, talks and demonstrations will explore challenges and possibilities, such as funding strategies post-Brexit, laboratory sustainability and progress in laboratory information management systems.
A number of companies will be exhibiting for the first time, including Microlit, Thermo Fisher Scientific and GS Biotech, while Cole-Parmer and ESSLAB will be among the firms demonstrating their equipment in the Live Lab.
In the Royal Society of Chemistry Theatre, seminars will be given on a wide range of topics, from artificial intelligence and automation in the lab to legal highs and breakthrough diagnostic techniques.
Research will be also be on show from 15 selected applicants by way of a poster showcase, delivered with PraxisAuril and Eppendorf.
The event, which is supported by a number of science institutions including Gambica, One Nucleus and the Royal Society of Chemistry, is free to attend and can be an ideal opportunity to meet with suppliers and source the latest products and services.
Government To Consider Reinstating Life Sciences Minister Role
Date Posted: Tuesday October 17, 2017
For the life science sales and research industry, Theresa May’s decision to axe the ministerial role during the last cabinet reshuffle was met with derision from some, however, this week, senior ministers will hear evidence as part of an inquiry into whether this position needs to be reinstated.
According to Pharmaphorum, a press note ahead of the meeting states how peers of the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee will examine who is responsible for delivering the goals set for the life sciences industry.
The Prime Minister, despite removing the position from cabinet, has earmarked life sciences as one of the UK’s key areas to grow for economical prosperity, and expert witnesses will also look at how the strategy that has been set out will allow the industry to flourish in the face of Brexit.
These experts include representatives from Cancer Research UK and Research Councils UK, alongside senior staff from Cambridge University and Imperial College London.
The strategy also includes a funding boost for the sciences sector, and the possibility of NHS patients getting access faster to new, groundbreaking medicines.
When previous Minister for Life Sciences George Freeman was moved to May’s policy board, responsibility for life sciences fell between the Department of Health and the renamed Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with junior health ministers and the trade minister Greg Hands dividing up the role.
The reinstatement of the role may just be a recommendation for the next cabinet re-shuffle, or the committee may find the position is unnecessary at present.
Science Innovation Audit Awarded To Northern Powerhouse
Date Posted: Tuesday October 17, 2017
The life sciences sector in the north of the UK is thriving and it’s recently been given a further boost by the government’s Science Innovation Audit (SIA) award to the Northern Powerhouse in Health Research (NPiHR).
SIAs are designed to help regions map their areas of strength when it comes to research and innovation, as well as to help them uncover any areas that could give them a competitive advantage globally.
The bid for this SIA was led by the Northern Health Science Alliance (NHSA), which is made up of NHS Trusts, universities and academic health science networks across the north of England.
Dr Hakim Yadi OBE, CEO of the NHSA, explained that the region already has a “range of assets” across industry, public services and research.
However, when these are combined they “become a globally relevant hub for cutting edge health research, innovation and improved service delivery, new markets potential and business growth”.
According to the NPiHR, one of the reasons why it was awarded the SIA is because of its ability to deliver in terms of health innovation, which forms part of the government’s Life Sciences Industrial Strategy.
A delegation of professionals led by the NHSA has recently travelled to Japan to attend some important life sciences events.
This includes BioJapan, which is Asia’s biggest biosciences conference, and one where members of the delegation can make important contacts. There is a strong history of research collaboration between Japan and the UK, while the UK is the fourth largest market for life sciences investment from Japan.
With so much happening in life sciences in the north of England, this could be a good area to focus your life science sales pipeline.
Lords Committee Putting Life Sciences Under The Microscope
Date Posted: Monday October 16, 2017
Later this month the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee will be examining evidence as part of an inquiry to determine whether the government has put the right structures in place to support the UK’s life sciences industry, as well as looking at the contents of the industrial strategy and how the NHS could use procurement to further innovation.
Two oral evidence sessions have been scheduled for 17 October and 24 October, when the committee will hear submissions from people across the life sciences sector.
During the first session, Sir Andrew Dillon, chief executive for the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, and Mr Menelas Pangalos, executive vice president for the innovative medicine and early development (IMED) biotech unit at AstraZeneca, will be among those giving their views.
In the second session there will be submissions from the heads of three NHS foundation trusts, as well as the head of policy and public affairs at the Association of Medical Research Charities Ms Nisha Tailor.
Pharmaphorum suggested that one of the areas the committee may examine is whether the life sciences minister role should be reinstated. The position was originally created in 2014, but the role was then scrapped following the Brexit referendum.
The responsibilities held by this position were then divided between ministers in the Department of Health and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
If you need assistance with your life sciences sales pipeline, contact us today to find out how you could tap into our expertise in this area.
London Set For Science Boom
Date Posted: Tuesday October 10, 2017
Life science consulting may well be increasingly in demand in coming years, as London is getting set for a life sciences boom.
Estate agents in the capital are gearing up for a boom in the amount of laboratory space needed for the growing number of scientists, due to set up there in coming years.
There are already 27,000 life scientists in the capital, many of them based at the numerous universities there and also at the European Medicines Agency.
Due to the UK’s decision to leave the European Union the European Medicines Agency will need to relocate to another European city within the EU. Bids have already been put in, and a decision is due in November. It is not yet known what will happen to many of the scientists who were employed by the Agency, but it is expected a great deal will stay.
This means that there will still be a high concentration of life scientists and expertise in the capital which should attract businesses looking to use this.
“We expect London’s life sciences cluster to expand relatively quickly, and this will drive strong demand for office, innovation and lab space as close as possible to these knowledge centres,” Andy Monighan, senior director of tenant advisory at CBRE told CityAM.
This means that estate agents are investigating the possibility of creating laboratory co-spaces where scientists can work together to tackle the big issues of the day.
These need to be low cost and there needs to be local government backing to get them build, Mr Monighan added.
New Life Sciences Crowdfunding Platform Opens To UK Investors
Date Posted: Monday October 2, 2017
A crowdfunding platform dedicated to life sciences has announced that it is now open to investors from the UK, carefully selecting high quality scientific investment opportunities for life sciences innovators and investors.
Capital Cell – based in Barcelona – has thus far raised more than €4.4 million for research and development in life sciences like genomics, medical devices, biotechnology, therapeutics and genomics, Crowdfund Insider reports.
UK director of the company Dr Laura Ferguson explained that before now private life sciences investment has usually only been available to those with lots of money to invest and with extensive technical expertise.
“Whilst investing in early stage companies will always involve significant risks, Capital Cell’s unique screening process and new investment platform opens up opportunities to everyone. If the companies are successful in achieving their goals the financial rewards for investors can be significant and the social impact can affect the lives of millions,” she went on to say.
Current investment opportunities include OvuSense, a fertility monitoring platform with 24-hour advance real-time ovulation prediction. It apparently doubles the chances of conception in comparison to other methods.
Or there’s Absynth Biologics, which has currently raised £362,001 in funds with a target of £650,000. The company’s antigens harness both antibody and T cell responses, with no marketed vaccines for the primary targets of MRSA and C. difficile at the moment.
The life sciences industry is fast growing where investment is concerned, giving companies not only the chance to benefit financially but also socially as well, knowing that they’re influencing the future of the world.
For help with life science consulting, get in touch with the Voicentric team today.
Concept Life Sciences Expands In Cheshire
Date Posted: Friday September 22, 2017
Manchester-based pharmaceutical company Concept Life Sciences has expanded its operations into Cheshire, creating 75 new jobs in the process.
The firm provides integrated drug discovery, development and analytical services and will now be employing 55 new scientists – a mix of chemists and biologists – across its new and existing site, as well as adding 20 other new members of staff to its team.
It has taken laboratory space at Alderley Edge in Cheshire, which is fitted with state-of-the-art equipment and will be primarily used to expand the integrated drug discovery side of the business.
This includes providing medicinal chemistry, pharmacology screening, assay development and ADME services, which support a number of other businesses around the country.
Michael Fort, executive chairman at the firm, described the expansion as “a pivotal step in the development of the group’s corporate and commercial profile to its international client base, opening new opportunities for collaboration and growth”.
The managing director of Alderley Park Dr Chris Doherty added that by taking space in this development, the organisation will be creating close ties to NHS institutions, local universities and other research organisations that already take advantage of the laboratories and other facilities in Alderley Edge.
At the end of August Professor Sir John Bell published his report into the UK’s life sciences industry and made recommendations on how to further the sector within the country’s economy.
Among his recommendations were to boost spending on research and development activities and to improve the country’s clinical trial capabilities.
If you need assistance developing your science sales pipeline, contact us today.
Call Made For More Funding For UK Life Sciences
Date Posted: Monday September 11, 2017
A new government-commissioned report from geneticist and immunologist John Bell has made the call for further funding of basic science, further incentives for manufacturing and more effective cooperation between the NHS and drugmakers – part of the UK’s plans to help support the economy for Brexit and what comes after.
According to Reuters, Mr Bell is also suggesting that four UK life sciences companies be created that are valued at over £20 billion in the next decade, which would help bring in 2,000 new discovery scientists from around the world and also help deliver a 50 per cent hike in the number of clinical trials.
He wants to set up Health Advanced Research Programme as well, so that long-term projects can be prioritised that focus on innovative technologies like understanding the biology of ageing, or the use of artificial intelligence in healthcare.
Commenting on the strategy, Pascal Soriot – chief executive of AstraZeneca – was quoted by the news source as saying that it should “provide a more predictable environment for future investment decisions and ensure the UK remains open for innovation as it prepares to exit the EU”.
This comes after the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee launched an enquiry into how the life sciences strategy in the UK could be enhanced so as to bring it up to scratch in relation to other countries around the world.
The aim is to make the life sciences sector more appealing for investments so that challenges like cancer and dementia can be met more effectively.
For help with life science sales, get in touch with the Voicentric team today.
New Life Sciences Facility Opens In Glasgow
Date Posted: Tuesday August 22, 2017
The European headquarters of life sciences firm ReproCELL have officially opened in Glasgow this month.
Glasgow Live reported on the launch of the new facility, which will generate 15 new jobs, as well as safeguarding three others, in the areas of stem cell reprogramming and 3D cell culture.
Speaking at the opening of the new facility, first minister Nicola Sturgeon said that this move by ReproCELL demonstrates confidence in Scotland’s life sciences sector.
She described the £630,000 investment by the firm as “another vote of confidence in Scotland as a country that has the talent, the facilities and the expertise to thrive in an increasingly global and technology-driven economy”.
In addition to the money that ReproCELL has ploughed into its new facility, Scottish Enterprise provided a further £150,000 of support.
Scotland is focusing on accelerating the growth of its life sciences sector, with the nation launching its Life Sciences Strategy for Scotland 2025 Vision earlier this year.
Within this document, the government sets out its aim of growing the life sciences sector in the country to £8 billion by 2025. Although this is an ambitious target, the government is hopeful it can succeed based on the strong growth the industry has experienced since 2010.
In the past three years, approximately £300 million has been invested in the sector by a range of companies including GSK, Piramal Healthcare and Quotient.
If you’re looking for assistance with lead generation in the life sciences industry, contact us today to find out how you could tap into our expertise in this area.
Implants Developed To ‘Cure’ Type 1 Diabetes
Date Posted: Thursday August 17, 2017
Scientists in the US have developed implants that it’s hoped will be able to provide a permanent solution to treat those with type 1 diabetes.
New Scientist reported on the advances by Viacyte, which is based in San Diego, where stem cells have been used in implants that are designed to regulate insulin production in those who have type 1 diabetes.
The way the implant works is by releasing insulin into the body when blood sugar levels rise, returning them to normal. Embryonic stem cells have been used in the implant, which are able to mature once inside the body into the islet cells that make insulin in the pancreas.
It’s these cells that are attacked by the body’s immune system in those who have type 1 diabetes, and finding a way to replace them has long been a challenge for medical scientists.
Two people have now received the implant, with a third set to receive it in the near future.
Paul Laikind, of Viacyte, told the news provider that it’s not a cure in the truest sense of the word, but that it if it’s effective it could make a big difference to people’s lives by removing the need to constantly monitor their blood sugar levels.
“We would call it a functional cure. It’s not truly a cure because we wouldn’t address the autoimmune cause of the disease, but we would be replacing the missing cells,” he explained.
According to charity Diabetes UK, four million adults in the UK have diabetes, with around ten per cent of those suffering from type 1 diabetes.
If you need help developing a life science sales pipeline for a new treatment or product you’re working on, contact us today.
UK Set For New Life Sciences Strategy
Date Posted: Sunday August 13, 2017
A government committee is launching an enquiry into how best to enhance the UK’s life sciences strategy in a bid to bring the sector up to the same standard as other countries.
The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee has been consulting on life sciences and recently announced that it wants the country’s life sciences sector to be an appealing area for investment in order to meet industry challenges like dementia and cancer.
With Brexit looming and the difficulties in making innovative new treatments available through the NHS, the committee plans to investigate whether the government can support the sector and how the NHS can stimulate innovation through procurement.
The life sciences consulting enquiry will assess the impact of the 2011 Life Science Strategy and consider how the regulatory framework should be changed or improved after Brexit, as well as determining who should be responsible for implementing the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy.
Chairman of the committee Lord Patel said that the life sciences sector contributed £30.7 billion to the economy in 2015 and supports 480,000 jobs, according to research. However, the UK industry lags behind other nations in terms of innovation and investment.
“While it is high-tech, research-intensive and innovative it can only remain this way if it has the correct leadership and is properly funded,” he said.
Commenting on the announcement, life sciences expert Adrian Murray, of law firm Pinsent Masons, told Out-Law.com that the news was encouraging and underlined the government’s commitment to the life sciences sector in the face of challenges like Brexit and the “seemingly inevitable loss of the European Medicines Agency from London”.
The committee is welcoming written evidence to shape the new strategy until September 15th.
£3.5 Million Awarded To Dundee University Life Sciences Programme
Date Posted: Monday June 12, 2017
The University of Dundee and three of its researchers from the School of Life Sciences have just been awarded grants to the tune of £3.5 million from the European Research Council (ERC) and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.
The college is in fact top in the UK for biological sciences according to the Research Excellence Framework, while it was ranked 28th in the world last month in terms of impact of scientific research in the CWTS Leiden Rankings.
Professor Pauline Schaap received an advance grant of £1.7 million to explore cell specialisms, professor Paul Birch received grants totalling £650,000 to continue his research into potato blight, and Dr Constance Alabert was awarded £1.1 million to investigate the impact of DNA replication on epigenetics.
“The prestigious grant from the ERC will provide me with the funding I need to carry my ambitious five-year plan. It will also help me to attract best national and international talents to work in my lab,” Dr Alabert commented.
This comes after the 2017 Life Sciences Strategy was revealed, suggesting how industry turnover in the life sciences sector in Scotland could be grown to £8 billion by the year 2025. Since 2010, the sector has been expanding significantly, with over 37,000 people employed across some 700 different organisations.
And in the last three years or so, some £300 million has been invested across the industry from companies such as GSK, Piramel Healthcare, Capsugel, ThermoFisher Scientific, Johnson Matthey and Quotient.
Need advice on lead generation lab instruments? The Voicentric team is here to help!
Northern Universities Offer More Bang For Buck
Date Posted: Wednesday May 17, 2017
Perhaps life science companies are better at life science marketing in the North of England than the South, new research suggests.
This is as life science companies in the North of England have been found to be outperforming those in the South, despite a significant funding gap.
Research has shown that hospitals, universities and companies based in Northern towns and cities are gaining far more patents than you would expect, compared to their peers in the South.
You get much for bang for your buck with a team of Northern researchers than Southerners it seems, as while London researchers came up with 401 patents over the past 10 years, there were 386 produced in the North, over the same period.
This is particularly impressive when you consider the fact that the North of England received just 13.5 per cent of health research funding, compared to 32.1 per cent for London.
This has led to calls for a concerted effort to ensure there is more funding available for Northern Universities, with Newcastle and Durham leading the call for action.
NHSA chief executive Dr Hakim Yadi said: “There is no doubt that the North of England is an energised exciting place to do health research and the fact that it outstrips Oxford or Cambridge in its ability to produce novel inventions, despite seeing much less support in terms of funding, demonstrates that irrefutably.”
The research was commissioned by the Northern Health Science Alliance (NHSA) an alliance of eight universities and four science networks.
Life Sciences Firm Expanding Its Presence In London
Date Posted: Tuesday May 16, 2017
US firm Mapi, which specialises in patient-centred health research and commercialisation, has announced that it is effectively doubling the amount of space it has in the UK by moving into a new state-of-the-art facility in London.
This will become the firm’s Global Research Centre and it is set to be located in Imperial College London’s Translation and Innovation Hub – known as I-HUB – in White City.
James Karis, CEO at Mapi, explained that access to the country’s universities and entrepreneurs was a significant driver for the company choosing this location for its new centre.
“The chance to be part of this research ecosystem and the scientific community that calls London home was a key factor in our decision to locate at the I-HUB,” he asserted.
Chief executive of Imperial College London ThinkSpace, which runs I-HUB, Dr Eulian Roberts described the organisation as a “fantastic addition” to the space, noting that this centre not only works for healthcare research, but also fosters collaboration across engineering, science and business.
However, the Northern Health Science Alliance (NHSA) recently suggested that firms looking to invest in healthcare research and innovation may want to turn their attention away from the capital and look further north in the UK.
The NHSA’s research found that institutions in the north of the country only receive 13.5 per cent of health research funding, but are able to produce almost as many patents as their counterparts in London, which receive 32.1 per cent of the funding in this area.
If you need assistance with lead generation for life sciences, contact us today to find out how we can help.
Gene Editing Policy Top Of The Agenda For Life Sciences Experts
Date Posted: Tuesday May 9, 2017
Gene editing policy developments and practice will be top of the agenda at the upcoming Life Sciences and Society conference in Cambridge this May, headed by experts from around the world.
Organised by Cambridge health policy think-tank PHG Foundation, the conference on 25 May will run under the theme Gene editing: from innovative science to effective policy, providing biomedical science professionals and policymakers with opportunities for discussion, debate and networking.
The half-day life sciences conference is the latest instalment in a series of conferences and follows last October’s event, entitled Personalised healthcare: making the most of genomics.
This upcoming conference will explore the “complex interplay of biomedical advances and ethical, legal and social issues that arise when developing policy in this area” and involve discussion between international guest speakers and experts from the University of Cambridge.
Speaking on the topic of law and policymaking for gene editing will be Professor Bartha Knoppers, director of the Centre of Genomics and Policy at McGill University, and Dr Rumiana Yotova, law fellow and director of studies at Lucy Cavendish College, University of Cambridge.
President and chief executive officer of the Council of Canadian Academies Dr Eric Meslin will be discussing the subjects of evidence, ethics and epistemology in policy-making for gene editing, along with Cambridge professor of science Tim Lewens.
According to the PHG Foundation, scientific innovation within the life sciences has never been more rapid than in recent years, illustrated by the House of Commons’ Science and Technology Committee’s inquiry on genome editing. With these innovations come ethical, social and legal implications for policy-making, which will be up for debate at the event.
If you need help with life science consulting, contact us at Voicentric to find out more about the services we offer and how we could help your business.
Life Sciences Companies ‘Do Better In North Than South’
Date Posted: Friday May 5, 2017
Where do you find your lab instruments telemarketing yields the best results with clients? We’re all aware of the funding gap between the South and North when it comes to budgeting for new equipment, but a recent study shows that despite this, the Northern life sciences labs are coming up with a similar level of patents as their Southern counterparts.
The research, commissioned by the Northern Health Science Alliance (NHSA), found that 386 patents were produced up North, compared to 401 in London, despite the latter receiving double the funding, according to Chronicle Live.
The North receives 13.5 per cent of health research funding, while London receives 32.1 per cent. This research has lead to calls for the North to receive at least its fair share of funding, given the results produced.
“There is no doubt that the North of England is an energised exciting place to do health research and the fact that it outstrips Oxford or Cambridge in its ability to produce novel inventions, despite seeing much less support in terms of funding, demonstrates that irrefutably,” said NHSA chief executive Dr Hakim Yadi.
He added that in the post-Brexit economy, new investment was required to unlock the full force of the ‘Northern powerhouse’.
The ‘golden triangle’ – a group of universities including Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial College London, King’s College London, University College London, and the London School of Economics – receive £702million in health funding, which equates to 86 per cent of the overall budget for this research spend.
Government Commits To New Bioscience Funding
Date Posted: Tuesday April 18, 2017
The UK government has committed to a £319 million investment in the country’s biosciences industry, announcing that £29 million will go to the Roslin Institute, part of the University of Edinburgh.
This funding is to be used to further the government’s work with the Biological Sciences Research Council (BSRC), with a particular focus on the control of infectious diseases and finding ways to meet modern healthcare challenges.
Overall, the £319 million will be distributed over the next five years, with the aim to solidify the UK’s position as a global leader in the life sciences sector and to create more opportunities for highly skilled roles.
Greg Clark, business and energy secretary, commented: “Science, research and innovation are at the heart of the Industrial Strategy which is why we’re providing more than £4.7 billion of additional funding over the next five years.”
This includes the £319 million earmarked for the biosciences sector, he added. Mr Clark also praised the Roslin Institute, describing it as a “great example” of Scotland’s international strength in the biosciences arena.
The University of Edinburgh isn’t the only higher education institution benefiting from the renewed focus on life sciences at the moment.
In March, the University of Leicester announced that it is hoping to establish an innovation centre in the UK’s first Life Sciences Opportunity Zone, which has been established in Charnwood near Loughborough.
According to the university, the purpose of the new centre would be to improve collaboration between academics and businesses, building on the region’s strengths in clinical trials and precision medicine.
If you need assistance with life science consulting, get in touch to find out how we could help.
Top Brexit Concerns Among Life Sciences Highlighted
Date Posted: Thursday April 13, 2017
With the UK’s prime minister triggering Article 50 before the end of March, the stage has been set for negotiations with the EU to begin and for the UK to slowly start to disentangle itself from the rest of the member states.
Theresa May is planning to introduce the Great Repeal Bill later this year in preparation for leaving the EU. This will leave existing EU legislation in force in the UK once Brexit is complete by making it domestic, rather than European law. The intention is to give lawmakers time to evaluate it and make appropriate changes.
However, for the life sciences sector there are particular areas of concern that will need to be addressed.
Writing for Business News Wales, Greenaway Scott highlighted three areas of law that are crucial for the success of the sector.
Regulation is the first, as products can currently be imported and exported within the EU with minimal fuss due to the mutual regulatory framework. Should the UK’s relationship with the EU alter substantially, the processes in this area could be subject to change.
Another area those in the life sciences arena will be watching closely is how intellectual property is dealt with. As an EU member state, patent filings go through the Unified Patent Court and mean patents apply across the whole region. If this were to change, it could have a serious impact on innovation and progress within medical research in the UK, the firm suggested.
Workers’ rights are another concern, with Greenaway Scott pointing out that seven per cent of those employed in life sciences in the UK are non-British EU nationals. If they are unable to continue their work in the UK, it could harm the sector, the organisation added.
For help with your life science sales pipeline, contact us at Voicentric today.
University Of Birmingham To Get New Life Sciences Facilities
Date Posted: Monday March 27, 2017
The University of Birmingham has purchased land for a new life sciences park in Selly Oak.
The higher education institute now plans to work with partners to develop the new location into a hub of life sciences research. Among the plans for the new park are state-of-the-art research and commercial facilities.
It will be particularly good for the university’s ongoing research into healthcare fields, with the new site located close to the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust and Birmingham Women’s Hospital.
Professor Sir David Eastwood, vice-chancellor at the university, commented: “This is a landmark step for our dynamic regional collaboration in life sciences and enhances our essential infrastructure enabling great advances in the way we tackle global healthcare challenges.”
He added that the institution is already conducting research into cancer, chronic and rare diseases, mental health, trauma and antibiotic resistance.
The University of Birmingham isn’t the only higher education institution in the UK looking to extend what it can do in the life sciences sector.
Earlier this month the University of Leicester announced that it is hoping to establish a new Innovation Centre in the UK’s first life sciences opportunity zone. The university will work with the Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership as well as the owners of the proposed site Charnwood Campus, to make this vision a reality.
The aim of the centre would be to foster collaboration between academics and businesses, leading to the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic interventions.
Need some assistance with lead generation for scientific instruments? Contact us today to find out how we could help.
Host Of New Discoveries Relating To Cancer And Genes
Date Posted: Thursday March 23, 2017
Cancer research is a priority for many health organisations around the world and there are a growing number of treatments available for all kinds of cancer.
There have recently been a number of new developments in relation to treating cancer using genetics.
Researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine and Jacobs School of Engineering have identified a new way of potentially targeting cancer cells with drugs, Medical Life Sciences News reported.
The findings, which were published earlier this month in Nature Methods, focus on a concept called synthetic lethality. This is the process by which drugs can selectively kill cancer cells while sparing normal ones.
According to the scientists, the genetic mutations that cause cancer also weaken the cancer cells, which is why this type of treatment could hold the key.
John Paul Shen, MD, clinical instructor and postdoctoral fellow at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine and Moores Cancer Center, told the publication that there is already a cancer drug available that works based on synthetic lethality.
This is olaparib, which is used to treat ovarian cancer, focusing on the BRCA gene. The challenge, says Shen, is finding the weakness.
“Many other cancers could likely be treated this way as well, but we don’t yet know which gene mutation combinations will be synthetic-lethal,” he told the news provider.
His team has therefore developed a new technique to test for synthetic-lethal interactions. Their system looks at both a tumour suppressor gene that is often mutated in cancer, as well as a gene that could be targeted by a cancer drug.
More work needs to be done to understand the implications and how this could translate into the development of cancer treatments going forward, so the team is working on refining the platform and scaling the cancer genetic network maps they produce.
There was also a breakthrough in relation to prostate, skin and breast cancer treatment this month. The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute has identified genes that help prevent these three types of cancer in mice.
A tumour suppressor gene – PTEN – has already been identified by the new research has found other genes that cooperate with PTEN.
These new genes have already been found to show relevance in human prostate tumours, with the researchers focusing on five of the most promising genes in prostate tumours.
Dr Juan Cadinanos, joint lead author from the Instituto de Medicina Oncologica y Molecular de Asturias in Spain, commented: “This is the first study to look specifically for tumour suppressor genes that cooperate with PTEN in a range of cancer types.”
The team now hopes that the genes they’ve identified in this study can be used as a basis for developing therapeutic strategies to treat prostate, as well as other kinds of cancer. Multiple approaches are necessary, because tumours develop resistance to treatments, they added.
If you supply the vital analytical laboratory instruments needed for this kind of important research, contact us about how to improve your lab instruments telemarketing and ensure that everyone who needs your equipment has access to it.
Improvements Expected For UK Life Sciences Investment
Date Posted: Tuesday March 21, 2017
The UK’s patient capital review is expected to deliver benefits for the country’s life sciences sector, it has been reported.
According to Out-Law, improvements could be made to the current structure for investing in life sciences research and development within the UK, and the patient capital review is expected to help bring these about.
The website notes that the current system for investing in leading-edge science often results in funding going to less risky growth companies rather than the higher risk firms. It noted that research and development within the life sciences sector typically falls into the latter category and therefore it’s losing out.
Establishing a new class of investment, such as Scientific enterprise investment schemes (EIS) or seed enterprise investment schemes (SEIS), could help differentiate this kind of investment, the site noted.
These Scientific EIS and SEIS could then be given additional tax advantages by the UK government, on top of those already available for venture capital schemes, to help encourage more individuals to put their money into R&D in the life sciences sector despite the higher risk.
Another option would be to ensure there is no limit placed on the tax-incentivised funding that Scientific EIS companies are allowed to raise.
Early stage investment in life sciences companies increased considerably last year, the Daily Telegraph reported in January. Experts in the sector were confident that this level of investment would continue or even increase throughout 2017.
If you need help with life science consulting, contact us at Voicentric to find out more about the services we offer and how we could help your business.
UK Life Sciences Employees ‘Highly Productive’
Date Posted: Saturday March 11, 2017
Research conducted by PwC and commissioned by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) has revealed that employees within the life sciences sector are twice as productive as the UK average.
According to the report, the gross added value (GVA) of someone working in the UK’s life sciences industry is £104,000, compared to the national average of £49,000.
In addition, the research found that the sector contributed £30.7 billion to the country’s economy in 2015 and that every job in the life sciences industry supports 2.5 other positions elsewhere.
Dr Virginia Acha, ABPI executive director for research, medical and innovation, said that the report not only highlights the strategic value of the life sciences sector, but also its contribution to the UK’s economy.
She added: “If we are serious about improving our productivity, increasing public and private investment in science and innovation across the UK will be a fundamental piece of the puzzle.”
The research highlighted several areas in particular that are clusters of activity for the sector, including East Anglia, the South East of England and Wales.
Despite Brexit casting a shadow over many investment opportunities in the UK, the Daily Telegraph highlighted the positive outlook for the life sciences sector earlier this year.
It reported that many experts are optimistic about investment levels in 2017, expecting them to early stage investment to continue to grow as more investors are attracted to the sector.
If you need help with life science telemarketing, contact us today to find out how we can help you.
The Main Advantages Of Telemarketing
Date Posted: Tuesday February 21, 2017
There are so many different advertising channels these days that it can be quite daunting. How are you supposed to know where to start? One strategy that still reaps serious dividends for brands, no matter what industry they’re in, is telemarketing – so even though there are all sorts of newfangled ways of getting your promotional messages across, make sure you don’t neglect this kind of marketing or you could end up regretting it.
What we see as the main benefit of material science telemarketing is that it allows you to gauge people’s interest in your end product immediately so you know if you’re wasting your time straightaway or not. It also helps you to strike up an instant relationship and rapport with your target market and you also have the opportunity to explain your products clearly so that people know exactly what it is you do and what you’re selling.
If you’re also trying to reach as many people as possible in as short a time as possible, then telemarketing could work out better for you than in-person sales calls. You can use this approach to sell to new customers as well as your existing ones and perhaps the best part is that you can produce trackable results – so you can see what’s working and what’s not, enabling you to make better business decisions.
You can come up with your own telemarketing lists or hire a company like Voicentric to do all the hard work for you. If you do devise your own lists, make sure that they’re clean and only have details of people and organisations that have specifically elected to receive unsolicited sales calls. You can make these lists work really hard for you by developing them based on people’s interests, age, location, profession and so on, which will help you customise your pitches to make them more appropriate for specific audiences.
University Of Sussex To Get New Life Sciences Building
Date Posted: Monday February 13, 2017
An application to build a new life sciences building at the University of Sussex has been approved, paving the way for the creation of 600 new jobs in the process.
The new development will feature five floors of high-tech teaching spaces, modern laboratories and social spaces. It will also include a new Bio-Innovation Centre, which will provide a space for growing bio-medical businesses and enable them to work alongside students and staff.
There will also be collaborative spaces, designed to encourage the university’s molecular biologists, zoologists, chemists, neuroscientists and pharmacologists to conduct research alongside one another and develop new scientific insight.
Professor Michael Davies, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research at the university, commented: “By becoming a hub for bio-innovation, we will help to foster an emerging sector in the region, which will have a legacy for years to come.”
He added that the new building will help the university in developing the skills of the scientists of tomorrow.
Head of the School of Life Sciences Professor Laurence Pearl explained that the new building will help ensure the university is able to conduct groundbreaking research for decades to come.
Working collaboratively across disciplines is a key benefit to this new centre, he added, stating that it will enable teams to “make life-changing scientific discoveries”.
There is a lot of positive sentiment surrounding the UK’s life sciences sector at present, with the Daily Telegraph reporting last month that early stage investment in the sector tripled in 2016.
For information and advice about lead generation in the life sciences arena, please contact the team at Voicentric.
Plans Afoot To Grow Scottish Life Sciences Sector To £8 Billion By 2025
Date Posted: Sunday February 5, 2017
The life sciences sector in Scotland has been expanding significantly since 2010, employing more than 37,000 people across 700 organisations or so – and now plans have been put forward to help grow industry turnover to £8 billion come the year 2025.
The 2017 Life Sciences Strategy intends to harness what the sector has achieved in the last couple of years to help further investment in the sector. In the last three years, Scotland has seen £300 million invested industry-wide, with companies including Quotient, Piramel Healthcare, GSK, Capsugel, Johnson Matthey and ThermoFisher Scientific.
Data from 2014 shows that company turnover exceeds £4.2 billion with gross value added approximately £2 billion. Between 2010 and 2014, turnover was seen to increase by 29 per cent, with total employment in companies up by 13 per cent.
Vice-president of primary supply chain at GSK and the industry chair of Life Sciences Scotland Dave Tudor noted that now is a very exciting time for life sciences companies in Scotland. What is now required is alignment and focus throughout the industry as the Working Groups is created to help coordinate and plan the delivery of this new strategy.
“The sector has delivered a strong performance in recent years and is a key driver of innovation in Scotland with a particularly strong employment impact in and around Scotland’s cities, and that is why it is vital we continue to provide a supportive environment for business growth and fulfil our ambitions to be a world-leading entrepreneurial and innovative nation,” Paul wheelhouse, minister for business, innovation and energy, added.
He went on to note that EU nationals who do live in Scotland and work in this sector help support the economy to a great degree and, as such, the Scottish government is now exploring all ways that the country can continue to retain the benefits of being part of the EU.
It’ll certainly be interesting to see what happens to the life sciences sector – and others in the UK – once we do leave the EU. MPs have just this week (February 1st) voted to give the government the authority to trigger Article 50 with a majority of 384, which means that the EU (notification of withdrawal) bill will pass to the next parliamentary stage. Some 47 Labour MPs voted against it, alongside seven Lib Dems, 50 SNP MPs and one Conservative MP, Ken Clarke.
Article 50 itself sets out the provisions for countries that do decide to leave the EU, as part of the Treaty of Lisbon. The terms of the exit process are relatively vague, however, which means that long negotiations are likely in order to work out the terms of any deal for departing member states. Once Article 50 is invoked, there will be a two-year window to discuss the trade terms and more, including whether or not exiting nations will still have access to the single market.
Need help with material science marketing? Get in touch with us today.
Breakthrough For Delivery Of DNA Vaccines
Date Posted: Saturday February 4, 2017
A team of scientists at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, USA, have made a potential breakthrough in developing a method of delivering DNA vaccines.
Using electrically activated gold nanoparticles, the novel method causes the particles to oscillate and bore holes in the outer membrane of cells. It is then possible to introduce key molecules, such as DNA, RNA and proteins, into the cells themselves.
The reason why this discovery is exciting is because, unlike other ways of delivering such vaccines, the nanoparticles aren’t tethered to the molecules they’re introducing to the cell. As a result, this new method can improve the therapeutic potency and effectiveness of any treatment.
Mohamed Shehata Draz, PhD, and first author on the study, described their approach as “unique”. He continued: “Both the electric field parameters and the nanoparticle properties can be augmented to perform other important functions, such as precisely removing cells or blood clots.”
The study, which lasted for nearly three months, examined the technique’s efficacy in delivering a DNA vaccine against Hepatitis C in mice.
As well as recording a strong immune response, the researchers noted that there were no indications of toxicity throughout the study period.
Lead researcher Hadi Shafiee, PhD and assistant professor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, added that the team are keen to look into how their method could be used deliver other important biological molecules, including RNA.
There has been a considerable amount of research in the field of DNA vaccines recently, with the threat of infectious diseases such as the Zika virus pushing scientists in America and elsewhere in the world to focus their attention on finding effective vaccines for such outbreaks, and quickly.
A piece in the Wall Street Journal highlighted the efforts of those in the pharmaceutical sector to find a marketable vaccine for the Zika virus. Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc is currently trialling its vaccine, complete with an electroporation device that’s used to deliver a jolt of electricity to help deliver the DNA vaccine into cells.
Meanwhile, one of the National Institutes of Health is also working on its own vaccine against Zika, the newspaper revealed, with its trial beginning over the summer of 2016.
There are numerous advantages to DNA vaccines over their traditional counterparts, but particularly in terms of the speed with which they can be developed and tested.
The Wall Street Journal highlighted a Zika vaccine being developed by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).
Using a shelved West Nile vaccine, which had shown promise but was never fully developed, the NIAID was able to go from having a vaccine design to beginning human trials within four months.
But even if such vaccines prove effective in trials, it will still take a couple of years before they become more widely available, due to the regulatory requirements they need to satisfy before a company is allowed to begin marketing their product.
If you need assistance with life science marketing, contact us to find out about our services and how we can help you put a plan in place.
Advances Expected In Nanoparticle Size Analysis Instruments
Date Posted: Friday February 3, 2017
Instruments that analyse the size of nanoparticles – which covers any small object with a size in the range from one to 100 nanometers – are expected to advance in the coming year, driven by the “competitive landscape” of the sector.
Analysis by Transparency Market Research (TMR) revealed that technological advances and the introduction of novel methods for analysing nanoparticles by what it describes as “key market players” will help drive the market forward, with the improved reliability and accuracy of such products helping increase take-up within the life sciences industry.
However, the organisation noted that the high cost of these new instruments or pieces of technology is likely to restrain growth in the short term.
TMR highlighted a product available from NanoSight, which offers a nanoparticle tracking analysis technique that can measure particles in the range of 10-2000 nm in liquid suspension. This particular technique also features a unique single particle detection system.
While North America remains the major hub for nanoparticle instrument development, Europe isn’t far behind, with the organisation also predicting further growth in the Asia-Pacific region.
Nanotechnology is utilised in healthcare and medical research, with one example being the recent growth in the use of nanoparticles as a class of therapeutics for cancer diagnosis and treatment.
News Medical recently explained that nanoparticles are important when it comes to drug delivery, because being able to more effectively target cancer cells minimises the damage caused to healthy cells during treatment.
If your business has developed a new laboratory instrument, contact us to find out how we could help with lead generation for lab instruments.
Large Biotech Firm Set For London Stock Exchange
Date Posted: Thursday February 2, 2017
A large British biotech firm, backed by Sir Chris Evans, is reportedly preparing to float on the London Stock Exchange, with the Daily Mail describing this as a boost for the British biotech sector.
Sources have reportedly confirmed that Arix Bioscience, which focuses on developing medical innovations, is aiming to raise around £100 million with an initial public offering later this year, although the firm itself has failed to comment on the speculation.
The firm is headquartered in London and counts Joe Anderson, a former partner at life science investment firm Abingworth, and Jonathan Peacock, former CFO of Amgen and Novartis, among its directors, City AM reported.
In 2016, Arix Bioscience backed a number of projects exploring everything from research into drugs to fight blindness to the development of novel technologies for combined genetic and epigenetic analysis.
The last big investment announced by the firm in 2016 was funding to support a new biotech company focusing its research on DNA damage response (DDR).
Arix Bioscience provided funding alongside other leading European and US healthcare investors to help finance a pipeline of high-value DDR therapies at Artios Pharma.
These kinds of therapies have been shown to be particularly effective in treating cancer and Artios will focus its efforts on a DDR pipeline to target tumour DNA repair mechanisms to selectively kill tumour cells through a concept known as synthetic lethality.
If you need help with life science marketing, contact Voicentric today to find out how we could be of assistance.
£1bn Investment Fund To Come For Life Science Sector?
Date Posted: Wednesday February 1, 2017
Early and late-stage healthcare companies in the life sciences sector could soon take advantage of an investment fund worth up to £1 billion thanks to a new partnership between subsidiary of the Wellcome Trust Syncona and investment company BACIT.
If the proposal to combine the two is accepted, the group – likely to take the Syncona name – will see around £100 million invested annually, with Wellcome owning between 30 and 35 per cent of the shares in the enlarged company.
Syncona itself was set up back in 2012 to help tackle the lack of long-term funding for biotech in the UK and to create a team of experts to establish and run healthcare companies revolving around life science technology and innovation.
This particular transaction would see BACIT and Syncona come together alongside investment from Cancer Research UK, which will also work closely with the companies in the future to access a range of oncology opportunities.
“[Syncona] has already achieved great things, and this proposal, which will see it align with BACIT and Cancer Research UK, will allow it to spread its wings and expand its horizons further. We see this as a logical next step for Syncona and we look forward to watching it, and the companies it supports, expand and prosper,” Wellcome director Dr Jeremy Farrar said.
Chief executive officer of Syncona Martin Murphy made further comments, saying that long-term capital is required if the UK is to maintain its position as a world leader in life science innovation. Companies need to be supported from inception right through to the commercialisation of their products.
For help with life science marketing, get in touch with us at Voicentric today.
Deadline For £500k Investment For Life Sciences Start-up Approaches
Date Posted: Tuesday January 31, 2017
Start-up companies in the life science industry in northern England only have a few days left to benefit from a £500,000 accelerator fund.
Upcoming enterprises have been reminded that the deadline for the North of England Life Science Accelerator (NELSA) is January 31st 2017, giving them a short amount of time to send in their application for the competition.
NELSA plans to provide funding for up to ten projects for 12 months to enable them to conduct research, use state-of-the-art facilities and equipment at the Alderley Park site, and gain access to workshops and coaching from experts.
Helen Philippou, professor of translational medicine at the University of Leeds, completed the BioHub programme in spring 2016.
She said: “Through the customer discovery process and access to amazing support from members of the Expert Network, my understanding of the clinical potential of my product was transformed.”
Ms Philippou recommended the programme, adding that it gave her an “invaluable introduction to the commercial environment and the drug development process”.
The companies behind NELSA include Manchester Science Partnerships, BioCity, Catapult Ventures, Alderley Park Ventures, N8 Research Partnership, and the Northern Health Science Alliance.
Those who are interested in applying for the fund must have a small business in the fields of life sciences and healthcare.
Applications submitted on time will be judged by a panel of experts, and those who impress them will called back for a three-day bootcamp, at the end of which the final selection will be announced.
For help on launching life science marketing projects, visit us today.
New York To Become Life Sciences Centre After $500m Investment
Date Posted: Monday January 30, 2017
New York could one day be the centre of the life sciences industry, after mayor Bill de Blasio has promised to invest $500 million (£406 million) in funding for the sector.
Mr de Blasio will commit $300 million to be ploughed into tax incentives, so that life sciences businesses can attract investment for commercial lab space. This will help cut down on the cost of having to build new labs in the US city, The Pharma Letter reported.
While this is the largest chunk of the cash, a further $10 million will be spent on five new incubator and innovation centres, and the first of these is set to open before the end of next year showing just how invested New York is in pioneering life sciences research and development (R&D).
A new campus will be constructed at a cost of $100 million, which will help centralise the industry and its 16,000 new employees. This is in addition to a $50 million investment into R&D facilities at the centre.
The idea behind having a campus located in the heart of New York City is so that innovations and ideas remain in one location, instead of moving to other cities around the States.
Investment will also be put into life sciences education, with $7.5 million used to create new internships and curricula to create future employees in this sector.
The same amount of money will then be spent on the creation of a Life Sciences Management Corps. This will be used to finance life science start-ups to encourage new businesses in this industry to grow and prosper.
This comes after the industry could be set to receive a £1 billion boost, as a result of a partnership between investment company BACIT and the Wellcome Trust Syncona, which will be called Syncona.
If you need assistance with life science marketing, why not take a look at what we offer at Voicentric today?