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Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Brexit: and biotechnology

There has been concern about the future of science in the UK following the referendum:
Futures Forum: Brexit: and ensuring impartial funding for scientific research

There has been talk especially about the imact on biotechnology:
What Brexit Means For Medtech Regulation - iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (NASDAQ:IBB) | Seeking Alpha
Brexit Briefing: Life sciences mobilise for voice in negotiations — FT.com
Brexit fears may see 15% of UK university staff leave, group warns | Education | The Guardian
Are Brexit and EU’s new unitary patent plans inherently incompatible? | Ars Technica UK

However, there is upbeat talk about "4IR":
Futures Forum: Brexit: and the Fourth Industrial Revolution

And the government is particularly interested in the future of biotechnology:

Brexit Is Chance to Spur Biotechnology, May’s Policy Chief Says


Alex Morales AlexJFMorales October 3, 2016

Brexit is an “incredible opportunity” for the U.K. to push its expertise in biotechnology and other sciences as the country is freed from burdensome European Union regulation, according to George Freeman, the chairman of Prime Minister Theresa May’s policy board.

Britain is a global “superpower” in both science and finance, but not in the commercialization of science and the government can do “an awful lot” to marry the two, Freeman said on Monday at a fringe event at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, central England. He called for a sense of “national mission” akin to former U.S. President John F. Kennedy’s Apollo space program.

“One of the opportunities of taking ourselves out of the European political regulatory structure is the chance to liberate ourselves from some of the dafter regulations,” said Freeman, a Conservative Party lawmaker who formerly worked in biomedical science. “We’ve seen a creeping anti-science anti-biotech attitude in Europe. It’s holding us back. The world is at the dawn of an age of bioscience and Europe is legislating itself out of the fast lane.”

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond on Monday underscored his commitment to biotechnology, which includes genetic engineering and has applications in the pharmaceuticals, agriculture and chemicals industries, by pledging 100 million pounds ($130 million) for the sector as well as 120 million pounds to help link universities with entrepreneurs.
Staying in Britain

“I want to see what is invented here, developed here,” Hammond told delegates. “I want to see what is developed here, produced here. I want to see jobs, profits and tax receipts here in Britain.”

Freeman is helping shape a new industrial strategy as the U.K. prepares to begin negotiations to leave the EU by the end of March. Business Secretary Greg Clark touted Britain’s satellite industry and identified other sectors that Britain can develop.

“Our professional services, our creative industries, our technologists –- they all set the global gold standard,” Clark said in a speech to the Tory conference Monday. “Our global leadership in combating climate change now presents us with a massive opportunity to enjoy industrial success as we put clean energy at the heart of our industrial future.”

‘Really Enlightened’

In the biotechnology sector, scrapping EU regulations would “easily compensate” for the risks” associated with losing some access to EU markets, Freeman said. “If we could build a really enlightened regulatory framework, we’d steal a march very powerfully.”

The policy chief also said Britain will try to keep the European Medicine Authority, the EU’s regulator, which has its headquarters in London, and which Milan has already indicated an interest in poaching.

“We’ve got to demonstrate that it’s not in Europe’s interest to take the EMA away,” he said. “Part of that sector’s challenge is to show that we may be pulling ourselves out of the regulatory framework, but we’re writing the playbook for 21st-century regulation.”

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