The recent news that Boris Johnson has launched MedCity is a welcome investment in the life sciences arena. It is encouraging to see the well-known research hubs of the UK, namely Oxford and Cambridge, are included in the ‘Golden triangle’ with London. The question to pose is whether the investment of £4 million is great enough? And it is essential to understand what MedCity will actually deliver.
When we look at the huge sums going into The Francis Crick Institute, £4 million is small by comparison. What will the model be for commercialization? San Francisco and Boston are hubs, thanks to clusters of pharma and biotech companies. Significant investment in the infrastructure has been made over at least ten years to keep drawing these firms in. The UK has this in Cambridge and Oxford, but it is yet to be seen how London will fare.
Creating this ‘shop window’ is a positive step but there needs to be clear communication about what this will deliver. Certainly the capital offers a diverse patient demographic but the key to moving research forward is open data sharing. Perhaps this is something MedCity can disseminate across its organizations, encouraging the idea of ‘coopertition’ to break down silos and boost collaboration.