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  • Heather Fearfield

AstraZeneca at Future Cities Forum


AstraZeneca's Head of Discovery Sciences, Dr Mike Snowden will be joining our Cambridge forum on 20th November. He will be speaking on creating the best environments for R&D collaboration, alongside Dr Bruno Holthof, Chief Executive of Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Dr David Hardman, Chief Executive of Innovation Birmingham.

Mike joined Glaxo Group Research in the UK in 1988 after completing a PhD and postdoctoral studies at Liverpool University. Recruited as a microbial biochemist and enzymologist, he worked initially on anti-infectives and then in the Cardiovascular and Respiratory areas where he led a number of early phase dyslipidemia and inflammation projects. In 2001 at the formation of GSK, Mike was appointed to head a cross therapy area group providing HTS and SAR screening support to Neuroscience and Respiratory, joining the senior leadership team in the Respiratory business unit to manage their early portfolio in 2005.

In 2009, he assumed responsibility for Outsourcing and Business Development for Molecular Discovery at GSK, a department providing early phase scientific support to targets in the preclinical phase of Drug Discovery. Mike left GSK in 2010 to join Innovative Medicines at AstraZeneca as Head of Discovery Research. With groups in Sweden, UK and the US, his current group focuses on internal and collaborative research to provide a comprehensive range of technical and translational activities to preclinical project teams including, HTS and SAR screening, X-ray crystal/biophysics support, statistics, bio-reagent generation and assay development capabilities.

The BBC reported recently that the UK Prime Minister has unveiled a £200 million cash injection for the UK's health and life sciences industry. The funding will be matched it reports by £400 million of private investment to allow science companies to expand development plans. The government hopes the investment will allow companies to raise capital to run clinical trials, employ more industrial scientists and boost manufacturing in the UK.

The broadcaster reported that Boris Johnson said it was part of his vision to have a 'vibrant post-Brexit economy fuelled by science and technology'. He said 'the UK has the best universities in the world and we have a proud history of scientific discovery from penicillin to sequencing the human genome. But too often we left another country commercialise this discovery. I want the lifesaving cancer treatments of tomorrow to say 'discovered and made in Britain'. That means allowing enough late stage capital to be mobilised so that these science discoveries do not have to go overseas to be commercialised.'

Meanwhile the Office for Life Sciences has issued its ninth annual update of its Strength and Opportunties report which gives a detailed picture of the size and shape of the life sciences industry in the UK. The report confirms that the UK remains a global hub for life sciences, with 5,469 life sciences business having a prescence in the UK, generating £70 billion and employing nearly 241,000 people.

For the first time, employment in medical technology overtook biopharmaceuticals. Digital health added an extra 1,100 jobs this year. Genomics contributed £1.7 billion in turnover in 2017. Nearly 70% of employment is outside London and the South East with significant presence in East and North West of England. SMEs continue to be a large part of the industry accounting for 82% of the total.

Through the Life Sciences Sector Deal, the government is increasing investment in research development to 2.4% of GDP by 2027 and 3% over the longer term, delivering an estimated increase of £80 billion over the next ten years. It has also set up plans for the Health Research Authority to speed up approvals for clinical trials.

#AstraZeneca #OfficeforLifeSciences #Cambridge

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