International Trade Secretary, Dr Liam Fox MP recently set out his vision for increased trade between the UK and the US in the fast-growing life sciences sector. Speaking to an audience of large-scale investors, including the American Pharmaceutical Group (APG) and representatives from the US Embassy at the Churchill War Rooms, he called for collaboration between the UK and the US to push the boundaries of science in key areas such as cancer treatment and realising the potential of Artificial Intelligence in a healthcare setting. Highlighting the UK’s commitment to the continued growth of the sector, he cited measures such as the £20 million in funding the government has pledged to the joint UK-US CARB-X project to address the global rise of antimicrobial resistance. He also stressed that the UK’s departure from the European Union offers an unprecedented opportunity to build on the UK’s already strong trading relationship with the US, including through a potential future Free Trading Agreement.
Representing the ten largest US research-based bio-pharmaceutical companies with a presence in the UK, the APG works to promote a greater understanding of the value of its member companies to people’s health and the UK economy, seeking a receptive environment for inward investment and appropriate access, uptake and use of innovative medicines by the NHS. All ten of the group’s members have offices in or around the Thames Valley. Within the Thames Valley, the Life Sciences and Healthcare (LSH) sector is one of the most important, having more than 135 companies and 8,000 employees, and benefitting from a number of world leading academic institutions and industry centres of excellence. The region is at the heart of the wider ‘golden triangle’ which links Oxford with London and Cambridge – one of the densest clusters in Europe, comparable to international super-clusters such as the one in Massachusetts.
Commenting on Dr Fox’s vision, Paul Britton, CEO of the Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce, said:
“Dr Fox’s call to build on the existing strong level of collaboration between the US and the UK in the life sciences sector is great news for the Thames Valley. The region is already home to a significant cluster of US-owned life sciences companies, ranging from large corporate organisations such as members of the American Pharmaceutical Group, to companies which the Chamber, working alongside the Department for International Trade (DIT) and the region’s Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) has supported; these include Alnylam, the foremost corporate exponent of RNAi therapeutics (RNA interference) and medtech leader, Alivecor, recently named the number one Most Innovative Company in Artificial Intelligence by Fast Company in its annual ranking. We look forward to further strengthening our relationship with the US in both the life sciences sector and other sectors in the region.”
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