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UK pharma to work with innovation network on NHS uptake

The five year deal covers AI, genomics, personalised medicine and more


The UK pharma industry association the ABPI has announced a five-year deal with the AHSN Network aimed at  encouraging a quicker, more consistent stream of  medicines and other 'biomedical innovations' such as genomics and diagnostics into the NHS.

Academic Health Science Networks (ASHNs) were first set up in 2013, and there are 15 across England acting as a bridge into the NHS, and have particularly focused on medical devices and digital innovation so far.

While there has been some scepticism in pharma about how influential the AHSNs can be in changing NHS practices, the new agreement looks to deepen their engagement with the industry.

ASHNs will work with ABPI members, including major pharma firms such as GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca and Merck on collaborative projects, including spreading proven innovation in the NHS, and addressing the new national priority areas of the AHSNs.

These areas include economic growth, digital and artificial intelligence, research, genomics and personalised medicine, diagnostics and medicines optimisation.

ABPI’s chief exec Mike Thompson, said: “As a result of this new partnership, patients will be able to benefit from the innovative medicines and technologies of the future faster and more consistently.

"The prize for success will be a virtuous circle that delivers benefits for patients and the NHS. There will also be economic benefits to the UK from a thriving life sciences ecosystem."

The arrangement was propelled forward based on similar regional-level agreements.

According to the ABPI, related agreements made for specific disease areas have also demonstrated positive results, including the Greater Manchester Pharmaceutical Industry Partnership.

Mike Hannay

AHSN Network chair Mike Hannay

This specific collaboration encouraged the progression of three projects in Hepatitis C, COPD and mental health all in its first year of operation.

Professor Mike Hannay, Chair of the AHSN Network said: The establishment of the Innovation Exchange model, commissioned by the Office for Life Sciences, provides a step change opportunity to re-engineer a more effective industry interface.

“This, together with the ABPI partnership, will enable companies to benefit from a consistent offering from whichever AHSN they interact with.

“In turn, the NHS will benefit from better identification of products and services that can benefit patients and the health system, as well as improved signposting to relevant agencies and programmes where not directly provided by AHSNs.”

The AHSN Network comprises of 15 organisations, which cover all of England.

Working regularly with the NHS, higher education, local government and industry organisations, the network aims to spread innovation, improve health and generate economic growth, and the new partnership supports its ambitions.

Article by
Gemma Jones

21st September 2018

From: Research



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