A survey from Odgers Berndtson has found senior executives in life sciences generally positive about the future of the UK outside the European Union. However this will only occur if the country exercises new freedoms to develop world-leading research and development capabilities.
Nearly 400 senior executives and managers working across the pharmaceuticals and life sciences were asked what they saw as being most pivotal after Brexit for the future growth of the sector. Over three-quarters (76 per cent) of respondents were evenly split between the need to invest in world class research capabilities and to use new regulatory freedoms to implement faster clinical testing and trials.
Alongside this opportunity, however, the executives also flagged the increasing difficulty for companies seeking to attract world-class leaders to the UK. Almost half (48 per cent) said chief executives would become the most difficult top people to attract, whilst senior leaders across medical/ scientific positions (43 per cent) and regulatory roles (40 per cent) followed close behind.
“These findings suggest that the UK could continue to be an attractive global centre post-Brexit,” said Chris Hamilton, head of the life sciences practice at Odgers Berndtson. “However, companies will only invest and locate senior people here if the government is able to persuade them that the potential opportunities outside the UK are likely to be realised with the necessary steps and support.”
Despite much interest in the implications for the UK health sector of a US trade deal, relatively few business executives (15 per cent) see this as a pressing challenge. Instead they cited the affordability of new technological and scientific advances and managing access to these under a universal system as the biggest issues (respectively at 44 per cent and 41 per cent).
Business executives doubt the NHS will receive the funding it needs to afford ground-breaking new therapies and treatments. Barely 15 per cent of those polled had any confidence about this, with well over half (57 per cent) expressing clear doubts. The vast majority (85 per cent) believe these are the biggest challenges ahead for NICE.
Sir Andrew Dillon, chief executive of NICE, recently spoke at an Odgers Berndtson event and commented: “Product value propositions that reflect incremental diagnostic or therapeutic benefit, combined with flexible approaches to sharing risk and managing costs, will help both companies and the NHS meet the challenges of advanced medical therapeutics.”