MHRA global role key to attracting drug manufacturers to UK says ATMT

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags European union Uk

A plan to attract advanced medicinal therapy manufacturing to the UK has emphasised the importance of the MHRA having a leading role in development of global regulatory standards.

The Advanced Therapies Manufacturing Taskforce (ATMT) – launched by the Government-backed Medicines Manufacturing Industry Partnership (MMIP) in 2014 – published the plan​ today, stressing that a clear regulatory framework will help attract manufacturers.

The plan calls for development of “a swift, predictable and viable route to market for these innovative products and give industry confidence the UK is a progressive global hub​.”

The taskforce also wants a “long-term regulatory strategy and plan for the MHRA to lead in global standards, supporting the scientific activities and international outreach of NIBSC​.”

Post-Brexit MHRA influence?

Development of the ATMT plan began in March, months before the UK electorate narrowly voted to leave the European Union (EU).

In April​, George Freeman, then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Life Sciences, argued for continued EU membership citing the “disproportionate” influence the currently MHRA has on EU policy as a result of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) being in London as a major benefit.

Whether the EMA remains within the MHRA’s sphere of influence after the UK leaves the EU remains to be seen.

In July​, the agency said: “The implications for the seat and operations of EMA depend on the future relationship between the UK and the EU” explaining that any relocation will be taken by member states.

We are confident that the Member States will take the most appropriate decision on EMA's location and arrangements in due course, taking also into account the complex political and legal environment generated by the outcome of the UK referendum​.”

Internationally competitive

Aside from a clear regulatory framework, the ATMT plan also stresses the importance of marketing the UK “internationally competitive.”

Measures suggested include a proactive and targeted marketing, development of a single entry point for companies looking to invest in advanced therapy manufacturing; and use of 'Business Ambassadors' to promote the UK and help land manufacturing investments.

A taskforce spokeswoman told us the recommendations are forward looking and will evolve as the full implications of exiting the EU are understood.

"What we do know is that Brexit has meant that developing new sources of economic competiveness for the UK is a priority for Government.

"The development and manufacturing of Advanced Therapies provides the UK with an opportunity to differentiate itself, drive productivity, exports and inward investment."

She added that: "We’ve been encouraged by the priority that the Government has given to the life sciences sector and we are working with them to address any possible future challenges​."

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