Government at half way house in its life sciences plan, says chemistry chief
05 December 2011
Plans to revitalise the biomedical industry must be matched by significant investment in drug discovery, according to the chief executive of the Royal Society of Chemistry.
Dr Robert Parker welcomed today's announcement by the prime minister of a £180m biomedical catalyst fund, but was concerned no specific plans have been introduced to capitalise on the UK's strength in medicinal chemistry.
"For this welcome investment to have maximum economic impact, further urgent investment is needed in drug discovery - an area that the UK is genuinely world class in," said Dr Parker, "and we need to capitalise on that leading position. We do not want another year of seeing companies like Pfizer paring down their UK activity. Pharma in the UK has taken a big hit in recent years and the sector is in a critical transitional stage. It feels like we're at the half-way house at the moment.
"The RSC has seen a 20% drop in the number of our members engaged in UK pharmaceutical research since 2008. If the government wants to stop more medicinal chemists leaving the sector, action is needed now.
"Medicinal chemists have a critical role to play across the life sciences sector bridging the gap between fundamental bioscience research and the clinic on the one hand, and inventing the medicines of the future on the other. Unless this is recognised and addressed, we believe the economic benefits of these biomedical investments will not be fully realised.
"Today's announcement by David Cameron is about delivering the existing life sciences portfolio - we now need to make sure the future portfolio is also secured."
Supporting the future discovery of new medicines in the UK
21 May 2010
An RSC position statement on the current state of the pharmaceutical industry and recommendations for the future of the sector
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