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Four UK Bio Trade Groups Join Forces

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Four UK life science and biomedical trade organizations have banded together in an effort to represent their field to the UK government and the public in a new initiative called LifeSciencesUK, the organizations said jointly today.

LifeSciencesUK will make the case for the biomedical research sector in the country by offering "a strong, unified voice to the government" and will push for better collaborations between companies, academia, patient advocacy groups, and the media.

The initiative said it will focus its efforts on improving the investment environment for UK companies; improving access to medicines, devices, diagnostics, and other technologies; and demonstrating the importance of the life sciences sector to the UK economy.

LifeSciencesUK is intended to "facilitate joint working" between the British In Vitro Diagnostics Association, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, the BioIndustry Association, and the Association of British Healthcare Industries. All four groups will continue to represent the interests of their individual sectors.

"In vitro diagnostics has a central role to play in helping to turn the UK's inherent strengths in life sciences into economic growth, as well as realizing improved outcomes and cost-effectiveness for the NHS," BIVDA's Director General Doris-Ann Williams said in a statement.

"By aligning under the LifeSciencesUK initiative, BIVDA believes that our four associations can better work together to build on the good work we have already started in fully achieving the huge potential our industry holds for Britain," Williams continued.

LifeSciencesUK cited a government report that showed that the biopharmaceutical sector was the largest contributor to R&D investment in the UK in 2009, accounting for more than 35 percent of R&D investment in the top 1,000 UK companies.

The biomedical trade collaboration comes as country's life science research community is paying close attention to the coalition government's plans to rein in spending. Belt-tightening initiatives have already led to large budget cuts for the UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation, and members of the House of Lords science committee have questioned whether budget cuts will stall the committee's plans for new genomics research efforts.

BIA's Chief Executive Nigel Gaymond said that the initiative will "present a united and powerful voice on areas of common interest, such as the importance of life sciences to the UK's economic growth."

"This will enable us to be more effective in creating a supportive environment for the industry, which will ultimately result in greater healthcare benefits for patients," Gaymond added.

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