The UK government on Wednesday said that as part of a deal with the life sciences sector, 25 organisations, including AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline and Johnson & Johnson, will make "significant investment" in the country. The announcement follows Merck & Co.'s recent pledge, under the same initiative, to open a new research centre in the UK that will support a total of 950 jobs, including 150 newly-created research roles.
According to the government, Johnson & Johnson's Janssen Pharmaceutica unit will collaborate with the University of Oxford on novel clinical trial methodologies in the UK, including platform trials focused on mental health disorders, such as depression. In addition, AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline will invest in initiatives to harness advances in genetic research in the development of medicines.
GlaxoSmithKline indicated that it will invest 40 million pounds ($53.5 million) to expand its previously announced effort to generate genetic sequencing data from UK Biobank. The drugmaker explained that the new funding will support the sequencing of data from all 500 000 volunteer participants, beyond the first 50 000 subset announced by the company earlier in 2017.
Meanwhile, the government noted that The Medicines Company has initiated two projects, including one with the University of Oxford to perform a large multinational cardiovascular disease clinical trial. The second project with The Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership is designed to improve the understanding, management and economics of cardiovascular disease.
Liam Fox, secretary of state for international trade, remarked the "deal is a clear signal to life science investors around the world that the UK is open for business." Further, Mike Thompson, CEO of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, commented "these are smart investments for the future that acknowledge the government's willingness to build upon the UK's global strength in R&D, our leadership in new technologies such as genomic medicine and the potential that exists in making the best use of health data."
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