Policy Workshop: Life Sciences Viewpoint Archive

Let the UK remain part of EU medicines regulation, says pharma industry

The key industry bodies from across Europe have signed a letter to UK Brexit minister David Davis and EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier saying the UK must stay in the European Medicines Agency system

Formula for a breakthrough: hard work and long-term stable funding

As the European Research Council turns 10, grantee Ben Feringa, winner of the 2016 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, gives Science|Business his recipe for success. The secret ingredient? Funding for the long haul in the lab

Start-ups must be made to feel at ease to grow in Europe

As head of innovation at EIT Digital, Chahab Nastar gives entrepreneurs the guidance to scale-up that was missing when he was building his own company

‘Know-Nothing’ Trump cuts science funding – and opens a door for Europe

Budget cuts proposed in Washington ignore what we know about the value of science. To support science everywhere, join us April 22 on the streets, at Science March Brussels

Rocks and hard places: Romanian R&D needs EU help with funding dilemma

Changes to Horizon 2020 salary rules are compounding difficulties Romania faces in attracting and retaining researchers. The EU could help by speeding up amendments on how salaries are calculated, says Daniel David, Vice-Rector for R&D, Babeș-Bolyai University

Why optimism is in short supply following Theresa May’s Brexit speech

A Portuguese researcher who has worked in the UK for more than 15 years gives her reaction to the prime minister’s plan for a clean break from the EU

Countries need to dig deeper on patient outcomes data to improve healthcare systems

The head of the health division at the OECD, Francesca Colombo, says members are making poor use of health data. She is calling for a broader collection of personal health information, to reflect the outcomes that matter to patients

Find the Brexit cure for UK life sciences

Four months after the Brexit vote, the landscape is as uncertain for UK companies as on 24 June. The needs of life sciences must be understood and the sector given a bigger say in exit negotiations, says former health minister, Stephen Dorrell

The chaos of scientific advice: Why it’s so hard for politicians to ‘get’ science

Oxford mathematician Marcus du Sautoy tells Science|Busines how to get scientific evidence across to a broader public

US fast track for cancer patents shows intellectual property can drive innovation

While Brexit has put hopes for the unified European patent on hold, a new US pilot exemplifies how a single efficient patenting system can be used to underpin and promote innovation

Government must step in if Brexit leads to science funding shortfall

Uncertainty reigns in British science, not least because the UK gets more out in R&D funding than it contributes. Nicola Blackwood MP, chair of parliament’s Science and Technology Committee, has written to Chancellor George Osborne demanding answers

We need to radically overhaul antibiotic R&D, says superbug review

The world needs a global plan to tackle antimicrobial resistance. Alongside a $2B fund to jump-start innovation there should be a $1B reward for companies when a new antibiotic is launched, says Jim O’Neill, chair of the review

How to enhance the value Europe gets from its healthcare expenditure

Factoring real world evidence and patients’ opinions into the operation of healthcare systems can reduce inequality within and between countries, whilst increasing sustainability. We need to start by measuring outcomes

Why big pharma is turning to text mining

As the volume of information soars, it is no longer enough to search for papers - researchers need computers to read and analyse them too, says Jon Hill, computational biologist at Boehringer Ingelheim

New reward system needed to encourage pharma to develop new antibiotics

As the first World Antibiotics Awareness week has highlighted, the traditional business model for antibiotics is broken. Incentives are required to promote development of new products, says Luke Moore. What about a lump sum payment?

Don’t let new EU medical devices bill restrict access to genetic tests

Irish geneticist David Barton adds his voice to leading research and patient groups across Europe who say proposed new regulations will create unworkable obstacles to DNA testing

How to fix Horizon 2020’s disheartening success rate

One of the best features of Horizon 2020 risks becoming its fatal flaw. Open-ended competitions have resulted in a flood of doomed applications, some 80 pages in length. Proposals should be shorter, and call topics tightened

Patents can make or break drug discovery in Poland

There are several barriers holding back science-industry collaboration, but the most urgent one is the reluctance to protect intellectual property in advance of publishing research results, according to two of Poland’s leading patent attorneys

Patients should have more control over their health

Smartphones can help you understand and look after your health says Bruce Hellman, chief executive of health app start-up uMotif

Our research saves lives – if you let us

A new EU data protection law risks killing some types of medical research, researchers at the Karolinska Institutet say. Their prescription: A law that regulates Big Data, but allows for research

How to make regenerative medicine happen

Cell therapies hold the promise of more effective treatments for a range of diseases, but they face a long and expensive route to market. The key is to reduce risk and attract investors, says Keith Thompson, head of the UK Cell Therapy Catapult

Vital life sciences research is impeded by a lack of understanding of the role of patents

The uncertainty sparked by the US ruling that the BRCA1 and BRCA2 breast cancer genes are not patentable is holding back the development of diagnostics and therapies, says patent lawyer Adrian Tombling

Back small companies to deliver new medicines

Pharmaceutical R&D functions at its best in small, agile and innovative SMEs. Replacing state subsidies and grant funding for research with start-up and development capital, would bring productivity improvements, says Mark Bloomfield, CEO of French biotech Polyplus Transfection

Changing model of pharma R&D opens the door for Poland to promote translational research

Poland must break down the silos between academics and industry, to build the trust and infrastructures needed to underpin multilateral collaborations, and enable Polish medical researchers to capitalise on pharma’s thirst for external innovation

View from Poland: building blocks for translational medicine are in place but the disconnect between research and industry persists

The EU-funded BASTION project aims to build relationships between science and industry and promote the translation of cancer research into new treatments. But a number of obstacles must be removed before true collaboration can flourish

View from Poland: Research funding agencies should invest for innovation

The EU-funded BASTION project aims to build relationships between science and industry and promote the translation of cancer research into new treatments. A number of obstacles must be removed before true collaboration can flourish

Antibiotics resistance should be a global grand challenge

The rising tide of drug-resistant infections and dearth of new antibiotics calls for the same kind of urgency and action as the HIV/AIDs epidemic, says Laura Piddock, founder of Antibiotic Action

Don’t let data protection kill research

Amendments to the European Data Protection regulation proposed in response to revelations of blanket electronic eavesdropping by the US must be dropped. If not, major international research projects in cancer, obesity and Alzheimer’s disease will come to a stop, say R&D funding bodies

Time to rethink the value of innovation in health

The traditional view holds that if a healthcare innovation provides any benefit - however small - it should be adopted. This approach is not sustainable, health economist Uwe Reinhardt told the European Health Forum at Bad Hofgastein, Austria

Collaboration is the critical ingredient in cell therapy

There’s a one word answer to removing bottlenecks identified in the recent House of Lords report on translating stem cell science into effective therapies, and that’s Collaboration. “It’s a no-brainer,” says leading researcher, Fiona Watt

It’s time to change the academic mindset and engage with industry

The Medical University of Warsaw has eyes on becoming a leading university at the heart of a high tech cluster. The route to this future is through partnership with industry – and with peers - says Slawomir Majewski

Help older people access the Internet

With more and more services available over the Web, those without access are at an increasing disadvantage. An EU-funded programme is plotting a route across this digital divide, helping SMEs develop products and empowering older people

Harmonise clinical trial regulations to boost medical research - and save lives

Complex and inconsistent clinical trial regulations are causing delays and raising costs for academic clinicians conducting international studies. Governments need to harmonise trial approval processes, says the OECD

Europe needs smarter data – and smarter data protection

Third generation cognitive computing is making sense of data mountains and starting to deliver remarkable improvements in healthcare. Now, sensitively calibrated data protection rules are needed – to reassure patients and protect privacy, whilst allowing progress to continue

EU regulation proves its worth in driving innovation

It’s a virtuous circle: New approval processes put in place by the European Medicines Agency are de-risking drug development, promoting investment in early-stage biotech and meeting unmet medical needs, says Paul Morton

Why we need a new strategy for health research in Europe

European Medical Research Councils - along with learned societies and patients’ groups - make the case for changes to the Horizon 2020 proposals – calling for increased spending on biomedical science and the creation of a European Clinical Research Fund

What am I letting myself in for?

Concerns about job security and a relentless lifestyle are holding back would-be biotech entrepreneurs. Academics need to be shown the fun and energy of being in the start-up world says Kevin Johnson of Index Ventures

Health Matters: Horizon 2020 must fund research in neglected diseases

The evidence is that research into poverty-related and neglected diseases will both benefit developing countries and improve Europe’s economy. Amongst many competing demands it is crucial that R&D funding for global health is maintained in Horizon 2020 says Karen Hoehn

Let citizens promote innovation

The public should be given the opportunity to take a direct role in supporting innovative start-ups, says Steven Bates, chief executive of the UK BioIndustry Association

Support innovation by using innovation – and pay a fair price

The pharmaceutical industry – Europe’s most R&D intensive sector – is being damaged by cuts to drugs budgets. This will drive investment in innovation elsewhere, the EU is warned in a letter from Andrew Witty, president of EFPIA

Horizon 2020 must fund embryonic stem cell research

The UK’s big guns of medical research have united with patients’ group to pre-empt the expected call by some MEPs to end funding of human embryonic stem cell research, when the plan for Horizon 2020 is debated in the European Parliament

Don’t put the kibosh on innovation

The European Medicines Agency’s thumbs-down for rare disease treatment Glybera flies in the face of Commission policy. It’s also against the wishes of the European Parliament, and the impetus DG Sanco is putting into Orphan Drugs. Worse still, it’s bad for patients and kills innovation. By Nuala Moran.

The path to a healthy, wealthy Europe is stronger research

Over 600 researchers from all round Europe have contributed to a critical review of Horizon 2020. They say collaboration is needed across disciplines for the €80B research programme to deliver, writes EMRC Chair Liselotte Højgaard

Europe must pay for innovation

Hard-pressed healthcare systems can no longer pay premium prices for new drugs. The consequence will be less innovation in Europe says Andrew Witty, CEO of GlaxoSmithKline.

A Manifesto for an e-Healthier Europe

eHealth provides the means to reduce costs and improve the quality of our healthcare systems. It is now time for policy makers to take concrete measures to scale-up and accelerate adoption of technologies for real impact, says Elena Bonfiglioli

In times of austerity, ehealth can be a source of efficiency and growth

Investments in ehealth can pay off for patients and healthcare administrators, as a growing number of systems across Europe testify. Now is not the time to cut back on investment

Heartening news of new drug exposes flaws in the innovation system

A new treatment for prostate cancer launched in the UK this week. The drug was discovered by scientists in London, funded by the public. So why is it owned by a US pharma giant?

GM crops opt-out will make Europe a science museum

This week’s European Parliament vote to allow member states to ban cultivation of approved GM crops on environmental grounds undermines science-based decision-making system at an EU level, says Carel du Marchie Sarvaas of EuropaBio

Urgent action is needed over new drugs for mental illness

A funding crisis threatens development of new treatments for mental illness. There needs to be a renewed effort to tackle Europe’s foremost health care challenge – which is currently costing €386 billion per annum

Personalised Medicine is progressing

A year after Science|Business highlighted the hurdles that stand in the way of deploying personalised medicine there has been progress, even if some barriers remain in place

Maybe Europe’s pharma sector can save itself

As the second tranche of projects in the €2 billion Innovative Medicines Initiative was announced this week, a quick stock take of progress to date hints at what this wide-ranging collaboration could deliver

Symphogen’s €100M funding is not a sign of more to come

Europe’s biggest-ever private financing round by a biotech doesn’t mean the capital drought is over, says Martin Edwards of Novo Ventures.

Personalised medicine will win venture capitalists’ favour

Index Ventures raised $400 million dollars in its last fund, of which about half will be invested in life science start-ups. Senior partner, Francesco de Rubertis says personalised medicine will take a large share of this.

Early stage investing is worth it

Venture capitalist Shahzad Malik challenges the view that life sciences start-ups are too risky to invest in.

Pass the baton

To fill the funding gaps, drug development must be a relay race, not a marathon, says biotech veteran Stephen Evans-Freke.

How to get IP protection for new varieties of plants and animals

Genomics is turbo-charging traditional plant and animal breeding. But can new varieties get patent protection, ask Nicholas Jones and Rachel Wallis of Withers & Rogers LLP.

Big science needs pan-European infrastructure and sharing of data

Large scientific projects with contributions from many governments could be run more like multinationals says Hervé Pero.

Personalised healthcare: the information challenge

One game-changer can deliver the promise of personalised healthcare. It is information technology, says Alan Davies of GE Healthcare.

The road to smart, sustainable SMEs

As European SME week gets underway, Tom Saylor, Chair of EuropaBio’s SME Platform argues Europe’s ‘Innovation Engine’ needs sustained fuel injection.

Personalised Healthcare

The technology is coming on apace, but Europe’s health services are not set up to get personalised healthcare to the patients.

English Court of Appeal deals with first gene patent

Human genes are patentable, says the English Court of Appeal, but only if the patent describes a practical way that the gene or protein can be exploited.

Europe must capture the potential of Personalised Healthcare

Personalising medicine will improve healthcare and create important new markets. Europe needs to move now and seize the benefits it offers, writes Richard L. Hudson.

Opinion on DNA patents is cause for concern

A European Court ruling on GM soy protein has implications for the patent rights of biotechs, say Nicholas Jones and Josie Zhou of the law firm Withers & Rogers LLP.

Pay more attention to Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases are Europe’s latest big health issue, new MEP Antonio Fernando Correia de Campos tells Science|Business.

Induced stem cells can’t replace embryonic ones

Producing pluripotent stem cells from skin is valuable, but they can’t replace stem cells from embryos, say US scientists.

Getting personal: Health insurers welcome quality but fear extra costs

Philippe Swennen of the Association Internationale de la Mutualité tells Fabrice Delaye how insurers feel about the advent of personalised healthcare.

Consumers should care

The new Health and Consumer Care Commissioner John Dalli is right to put patients first, but that means tending to pharma too, writes Nuala Moran.

Don’t kill curiousity-driven research

Setting up large teams to study the “known unknowns” of science leaves no room for the unexpected, says Sir Alec Jeffreys, the discoverer of genetic fingerprinting.

It is broke and it needs fixing

It’s no great revelation that the biotech funding model is broken, yet the market for the industry’s drugs has never been greater. So where is the fix, asks Nuala Moran.

Lowering your risk

As life sciences investors shy away from drug development and opt for lower-risk devices and diagnostics, what can Europe learn from Israel’s experience?

Will Roche get what it paid for?

Beyond its blockbuster drugs Genentech has a commodity rare in a large company – an entrepreneurial culture. Can Roche preserve this?

Money can’t buy innovation

Everyone’s strapped for cash – except pharma. But the latest spending spree is no more of a fix for expiring patents than botox is for ageing skin, writes Nuala Moran.

EPO’s final rejection of fundamental stem cell patent creates further uncertainty

Depending who you ask, the long-awaited and final ruling on the University of Wisconsin’s WARF patent is either a landmark decision or signifies nothing.

Suddenly it's all going right for stem cells

There could be no more graphic and endearing image of the potential that stem cell research has to replace damaged or diseased tissue - and treat the previously untreatable - than the picture of the smiling, happy and restored Claudia Castillo, after a windpipe transplant.

Counting the cost of healthcare

The Future Delivery of Medicine: technology is delivering huge potential to improve treatments, but can we afford it?

More money than sense

Cash-rich pharma is dropping any pretence they are buying cash-strapped biotech for access to innovative technology. What it wants is products. Let’s hope it doesn’t suffocate the feedstock of innovation in the process.

Why on earth doesn’t Europe have its own BIO?

Europe’s biotechnology industry needs to speak with one voice and have a single, flagship gathering like the US’s annual BIO conference, says Eric Poincelet.

Biofuels need research, too

Biofuels’ fall from grace must not be allowed to undermine research into sustainable, climate-friendly, second-generation biofuels.

Running a biotech in a cold climate

The tightening financial scene presents fresh perils for start-ups. Experts gathered together by the a UK regional biotech initiative suggest some coping strategies, Nuala Moran discovers.

Translating the promise

The controversy over embryonic stem cell research will not dissipate until the technology proves itself in the clinic. Now the regulators have to move, say Science|Business’s Nuala Moran.

Too young to fund?

Financing high-tech start-ups is not getting any easier, but a pioneering UK biotech may have an escape route

Balance and biofuels

One moment environmental poster child, the next grim reaper. It’s time to draw breath and plan for the appropriate, sustainable use of biofuels, says Science|Business’s Nuala Moran.

Peace, progress and Presidents…

Call the Presidential candidates to account for science and make sure they recognise scientific issues are global, says world-leading biologist and Nobel laureate David Baltimore.

Bring on the bendy cucumbers

Anti-trust legislation, particularly involving raids at dawn, is no way to improve productivity in the pharmaceutical industry, says Nuala Moran.

FP7: bigger and better, but will it be value for money?

As Framework Programme 7 fires up, Europe’s auditors throw on some cold water. Nuala Moran wonders how we will assess whether it has all been worthwhile.

Don’t let the GM crop wars obscure the agbiotech vision

The continuing argument over first-generation GMcrops has created a huge roadblock to more refined agbiotech developments, says Nuala Moran

Don’t let chronic disease rob us of the benefits of medical innovation

PepsiCo’s $5.2 million donation to look at lifestyle and chronic disease looks like an act of the archest cynicism. But someone needs to do something, says Nuala Moran.

Broken in biotech: the VC financing model doesn’t work

IPOs are up in the year to date. But the value of these deals is down. Rather than cashing out, VCs are getting a ticket to stay on for a white-knuckle ride.

Can pharma innovate fast enough to survive?

Soon it won’t be possible to fund the huge enterprises of the leading pharma companies with a handful of blockbuster drugs. The only question is whether they can change and innovate in time.

Memo to entrepreneurs: Stay flexible

Don't fall in love with your technology, advises Dinko Valerio, a leading Dutch bio entrepreneur and VC.

A world-class science base: Emulating Uncle Sam

The UK already has a world-class science base. The more pressing challenge is how to stay in the premier league.

How to fix Europe's broken innovation machine

Why do so many European inventions get lost in the move from lab to market? Science|Business suggests 9 simple ways that European leaders could fix that problem – for the benefit of Europe’s economy.

Understaffed? Underfunded? Not France

What is wrong with France’s basic research? There’s something missing, but it’s not resources, says Jean-Marc Schlenker.

Editor's chair: What is to be done? The Innovation “Manifesto”

Europe is lousy at reaping the commercial benefits of its R&D. To spur reform, Science|Business is preparing a “manifesto” of policy measures for technology transfer and innovation. What’s needed? A revolution.

A good biotech business…out of Poland?

If you think it’s hard to do a biotech start up, try doing it in Poland. You’ll face international condescension, local incredulity and the mysteries of Polish law, says Charles Goldfinger.

Going for growth

Everyone wants to encourage innovation. But, says Alain de Serres from the OECD, a survey of the world’s leading industrial countries shows they are going about it in different ways and with very different results.

Root out the endemic pessimism over biotech

There is much more work to do to convince public opinion that bioscience is a force for good, says UK BioIndustry Association chairman Simon Best.

Why big pharma needs little bio

On 26 January, in London, Science|Business organised a roundtable of executives in the biotech industry to discuss the state of the market. The consensus: investor appetite for biotech companies is on the rise.

Biotech: the Greens won't stop it

Marc Van Montagu, Europe's founding father of genetically modified crops and a powerful advocate for their acceptance in Europe, speaks to Science|Business News Editor Thomas Lau.

Stem cell scandal: shockwaves hit UK

The UK's stem cell community has reacted with collective dismay at the final confirmation that Hwang Woo-suk's claims to have generated patient-specific embryonic stem cell lines were fraudulent. Nuala Moran takes a look.

Nostradamus strikes back

Forget stem cells, pharmacogenomics and the next big cure - Michael Kenward gazes into his prophecy book to see what the physical sciences have in store for us this year. Or maybe not.

Memo to the CEO

T. Paul Colford, an international entrepreneur now heading a UK biotech called iQur, offers his five precepts for running a start-up.