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UK is a leader in early clinical research but falls in later study stages, says ABPI

The UK faces challenges to stay competitive in clinical research globally


According to a new report from the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), the UK is in the lead in Europe for early-stage clinical research but falls down when it comes to late-stage studies. 

The findings come from the ABPI’s first annual report into clinical trials, and demonstrated the strengths and weaknesses of the UK’s clinical research sector.

According to the report, cancer research is the UK’s strongest area, with an average of 201 trials starting per year since 2012. However, it also a world-leader in research for heart disease, immunology and conditions affecting the nervous system.

The figures show that in 2017, the UK ranked first in Europe and third globally for the number of early clinical trials (phase one) and ranked second in the world and first in Europe for phase 2 clinical trials.

When it comes to later stage trials, the UK drops down in rankings. In 2017, the UK ranked fifth globally for phase 3 trials, behind Germany, Spain, the US and Canada. The US dominates in the global rankings across the board, topping the list for phase 1, 2 and 3 trials.

The ABPI also highlighted that while European countries continue to heavily invest in science and healthcare, emerging competition is coming from countries such as China and Brazil, as new innovators of medicines R&D.

Sheuli Porkess“These new figures are good news for the UK, showing just how strong we are as a nation at research and development which leads to new medicines and vaccines, but there’s no room for complacency,” said Sheuli Porkess (pictured left), executive director of research, medical and innovation at the ABPI.

“The report also shows the importance of the UK globally and the pressing need to keep pace with other established and emerging research hubs in order to continue to attract commercial clinical research,” she added.

Following the findings of the report, the ABPI has outlined a list of recommendations to ensure the future success of UK medicines development.

This includes increased investment into clinical research, simplifying the processes for setting up and running clinical trials and investing in training and addressing skill-gaps for the future workforce.

The ABPI also recommends that the government secures a future UK-EU relationship on medicines and research following Brexit that ensures the UK’s clinical research environment remains stable and world-leading.

It also highlights that a future strong relationship with the EU will mean continued regulatory and research alignment for medicines.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

22nd November 2019

From: Research



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