High investment in pharmaceutical R&D strengthens increased investment in collaborative working – ABPI

Pharmaceutical companies are increasingly working in partnership with other firms, academia, and catapults through collaborative models, in the search to discover and develop new medicines, accoring to a new report.

The research and development (R&D) sourcebook from the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), Open for Innovation: UK Biopharma R&D Sourcebook 2016, reveals how this step change towards collaborative working and open innovation – a contrast to the older model of closed corporate research and development labs – supports the UK economy. The report reveals that the pharmaceutical industry in the UK invested £4.2bn in 2015 – equal to a fifth of all UK business R&D spending – making it the highest spending business sector on R&D.

The figures demonstrate how pharmaceutical organisations have increased their absolute level of investment in collaborative and outsourced drug discovery in the UK over the last five years, with collaborations showing particular strength in oncology and rheumatology. The sourcebook also shows an ongoing change in focus of research into new medicines. Projects and investments increasingly address unmet need, such as rare diseases and cancer, with the UK showing great strength in these areas.

The sourcebook considers four key areas:

  • Global health and the role of biopharma 
  • Investing in innovation
  • Driving clinical research to deliver medicines
  • Collaborating for innovation.

In addition to the core data, guest essays provide further detail on how new collaborative models are working.

Dr Virginia Acha, Executive Director – Research, Medical and Innovation at the ABPI, said: “We are in a period of great change, not least with the UK embarking on a journey outside of the EU, but also as an industry. It is therefore vital for the future discovery and development of medicines that we continue to collaborate and explore outside of our companies, industry and sector. By focusing on open innovation, this sourcebook aims to shed light on the complex, changing face of the pharmaceutical industry.”