Drug development in the UK took center stage recently, as life sciences minister George Freeman set out his initiatives to make Britain “the best place in the world to get quicker access for patients to innovative medicines”. The Government also announced the Innovative Medicines and Medical Technology review for 2015, which will seek to integrate the NHS more closely with pharma and life sciences research organizations. But was the focus right?
Much of the coverage explored the mismatch between expensive new drugs and limited NHS spending power. This is a popular narrative, but fails to strike at the heart of the challenge at hand. Accelerating speed to market for new drugs does not begin with pricing strategies, nor with clinical trials – these are at the end of a long journey. It starts with research and development (R&D).
In the melee of factors that impact a new drug’s speed to market, data – and the way it is used at the R&D stage – is what drives the development of innovative new pharmaceutical products. It is projects like the government-backed Genomics England, which encourage a radically more collaborative approach to sharing and learning through data, that will have the greatest impact on bringing new products to market and patient outcomes.
We have seen the benefits of this approach first hand, with organizations like Inventiva. Thanks to a more centralized, automated approach, Inventiva’s teams are able to work more collaboratively, and expect up to 20% more productivity.
The support of these projects, and placing data-centric insights and collaboration at the heart of R&D efforts, will be key in this latest push to inject urgency into innovation across the UK’s life sciences sector.