After spending a day in mid-October at this year’s excellent UK BioScience Forum, I was left with one particular thought ringing loud and clear in my mind. Simply that the UK has some of the world’s most exciting science, a supportive business environment and strong leadership teams developing our life sciences companies – how can we make sure that, post-Brexit, it continues to thrive?

A quick look at the evidence shows just how strong UK life sciences is:

  • Life Sciences supports the economy with £60bn+ in revenue and generates 500,000 jobs
  • Productivity is higher than in most other sectors of the economy including Financial Services
  • The UK is closing the gap between the San Francisco Bay Area and Boston while retaining the lead here in Europe
  • 50% of EU venture capital is raised in the UK

The answer, I’m sure lies in supporting Sir John Bell’s Life Sciences Industrial Strategyreport which recommends:

  • Facilitating the movement of skilled people by influencing Brexit negotiations
  • Creating HARP (Health Advanced Research Programmes) to do high risk “moon-shot programmes”, be bolder!
  • Improving UK clinical trial capabilities and translational science to accelerate patients’ access to new medicines and evidence based practice
  • Better integration of the Life Sciences clusters in the “research triangle” to foster even closer collaboration
  • Accelerated Access through early engagement NHS, arms-length bodies (MHRA, NICE etc.) and industry
  • Genomics and AI in focus to support digital pathology screening

Freedom of movement is vital

Of course, here at The RSA Group we work with talented people and support executive leadership in building value in life sciences companies and institutions. Movement of skilled people following the UK’s exit from the EU is and remains a key priority for us all, as an interview published last week with Mene Pangalos, EVP at Astra-Zeneca confirmed. A new immigration procedure will be key to making this as seamless as possible.  I also believe that apprenticeship programmes based on the German model should be considered to help talented and skilled students, researchers and workers enter the UK and support our economy.

I remain a realistic and optimist who sees many opportunities but also several political hurdles over the next 2-3 years.

If you’d like to discuss any of these issues of hear more about our  Proof of Candidate®methodology and how it can help you, do contact me.

Thomas Schleimer, Partner & Head of Commercial Excellence |

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