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UCB’s Neil Weir to chair ABPI innovation board

Will lead efforts to develop vision for innovation in UK and build international reputation

Neil Weir - ABPI Innovation Board, UCBThe Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) has appointed UCB's Dr Neil Weir to chair its innovation board.

Dr Weir, who is senior VP of discovery at UCB, replaces Dr John Stageman who retired in April, 2012.

As chair, Dr Weir will lead the board's work on developing a long-term vision for innovation within the UK's pharmaceutical industry, as well as building the UK's international reputation.

Stephen Whitehead, chief executive of the ABPI, said: “With Neil's introduction the ABPI is taking the opportunity to strengthen the link between our innovation board and our board of management. Supporting and encouraging innovation is the key role of our innovation board, but it is also a key consideration for the ABPI as a whole.”

The promotion of innovation has been a key theme of Whitehead's tenure at the ABPI, since he joined the industry organisation last year, and commenting in an article for PMLiVE he said “there is a profound need for research that will continue to gradually deepen our knowledge; providing new medicines and treatments that will be prescribed to patients day to day”.

Commenting on his appointment, Dr Weir backed this outlook: “Our ambition must be to offer innovative new medicines and ground-breaking solutions that go beyond the drug. We must remain committed to enabling cutting-edge scientific research that is driven by the patients' needs but above all we should continue to focus on our core strength and offering, namely innovation.”

In his role at UCB, Dr Weir leads the company's discovery projects, overseeing a portfolio of investigational small molecule and antibody therapies in immunology and neurology.

He is also a member of the research directors group of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) and has sponsored three call topics in the European Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), which is chaired by UCB's CEO Roch Doliveux.

In the UK, Dr Weir is also a member of the Medcial Research Council's (MRC) translational research group and the HealthTech and Medicines Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) steering board.

He will soon be joined in his efforts at the ABPI by a new director of its medical and innovation team. A search to find a candidate to fill the position is ongoing following the departure of Dr Allison Jeynes-Ellis.

11th May 2012

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