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Daily Brief:  Calls for early Brexit deal for science and innovation, Gottlieb threatens to name and shame

A rapid round up of news from pharma, biotech and healthcare

Science and innovation need Brexit answers, and quick

Europe and the UK need to agree on a long-term post-Brexit partnership in science and innovation funding and workforce migration, or otherwise face damage to research across the continent.

That’s the warning today from the Wellcome Trust, one of the key UK funders and co-ordinators of health research. It has made a direct call on UK and European politicians to find a rapid solution to the conundrums Brexit has thrown up around research funding and collaboration.

It says the top priority is a “quick and clear political agreement” to grant the UK ‘Associated Country’ status, which would allow it to remain within the EU’s research programme, Framework Programme 9.

The Wellcome Trust says EU Frameworks Programmes are the "most effective multilateral funding schemes in the world", and believes both the UK and Europe will lose out if no agreement can be reached.

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"We need an early deal for EU-UK science and innovation, to bring much needed certainty for researchers across Europe," said Dr Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust (pictured).

Fears about Brexit have been renewed this week, as divisions within the UK government cabinet and Conservative party have resurfaced, with Brexiteers and former ‘Remain’ ministers unable to agree on an alternative to the existing customs union with the EU.

This ongoing uncertainty is already hitting UK science, with reports that European researchers are opting not to take jobs in UK academia and pharma and biotech companies.

And even with a transition period now agreed in principle, pharma companies in the UK are still in the dark about how trade, drug regulation and migration will work post-Brexit.

Read the Wellcome briefing here

Genomics

Illumina buys genome data analysis firm

Genome sequencing leader Illumina has paid $100m for Edico Genome, a company which has developed software to speed-up the reading of genetic data.

“Our acquisition of Edico Genome is a big step toward realising the vision of reducing sequencing data acquisition and analysis to a push-button, standardised process,” said Susan Tousi, Senior Vice President of Product Development at Illumina.

US drug prices

FDA’s ‘name and shame’ website goes live tomorrow

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FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb (pictured) has warned that pharma companies which block the launch of generic competitors will be named and shamed on a new website.

The warning came yesterday via a press briefing from the FDA chief, and is part of a new push from the US administration, led by President Trump and Health Secretary Alex Azar, to crack down on loopholes and abuses which keep drug prices high.

Big pharma stands accused of using measures contained in the Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) legislation to block generics companies from gaining samples of drugs, on which they can base their copies.

The REMS regulations were intended as a safety measure and not as an obstacle to generics companies. The FDA website will go live tomorrow, and will list the names of around 50 pharma companies named in letters to the FDA from generic manufacturers as not co-operating on providing samples.

Gottlieb made his remarks at the meeting held by the Alliance for Health Policy and APCO Worldwide, a public affairs consultancy.

"I'm not looking to shame drug companies ... I'm looking to bring transparency around what I think are reasonable public health questions," he said.

Read more from MedPage Today: FDA: Pharma 'On Notice' for Blocking Generics

Plus: Novartis legal head quits over Cohen payments - but the scandal won't be easy to shake off. Read more here

Article by
Andrew McConaghie

16th May 2018

From: Marketing

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