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ABPI welcomes budget boost for UK-based R&D

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) has commended the above inflation rise in the science budget in the UK revealed in Chancellor Gordon Brown's budget

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) has commended the above inflation rise in the science budget in the UK revealed in Chancellor Gordon Brown's budget.

Brown announced a 25 per cent increase in government spending on science over the four years to 2010-11. The rise from GBP 5bn (EUR 7.4bn/ USD 9.8bn) to GBP 6.3bn (EUR 9.3bn/ USD 12.4bn) in the civil science budget, which was divided between the Department for Trade and Industry and the Department for Education and Skills, amounts to an annual average increase of 2.5 to 2.7 per cent.

The focus on investment in science, including an additional GBP 100m (EUR 147.2m/ USD 196.6bn) for partnerships between academia and industry, should benefit the research-based pharmaceutical community in the UK. The pharmaceutical industry is currently working on 330 collaborative ventures with academia in the UK and trains 670 PhD students.

The budget made provision for an increase in the R&D tax credit for small- and medium-sized enterprises from 150 per cent to 175 per cent of the qualifying expenditure. Larger companies will also benefit from an increase in R&D tax credit, from 125 to 130 per cent.

The ABPI highlighted the reduction in corporation tax will as a modest but welcome step in the right direction in support of high technology bio-manufacturing, where tax breaks in other countries have had an adverse effect on the UK's global position. However, capital allowances were also significant and the ABPI said it would need to study the net effect.

Dr Richard Barker, Director General of the (ABPI), said: "We welcome any steps that can boost the UK's bioscience-based industry in the face of global competition. The UK pharmaceutical industry spends some GBP 9m (EUR 13.3bn/ USD 17.7bn) a day on researching new and innovative medicines, and the Chancellor's moves to reinforce UK biopharmaceutical R&D can only help the UK in its bid to attract more of this highly skilled work."

"Both basic biomedical research and translational medicine - bringing medicines from the lab to the clinic ñ are crucial elements in UK competitiveness, as Sir David Cooksey highlighted in his report," added Dr Barker.

The continued increased investment in the NHS has received praise, although the ABPI stressed that additional money should be used to benefit patients.

"With increased resource, it is to be hoped that the remaining barriers preventing patients being given access to the latest, innovative medicines can be removed to bring benefit to the health of men, women and children," concluded Dr Barker.

27th March 2007

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