U.K.’s Brexit Disbelief Challenges Biopharma Deal


The United Kingdom government disclosed the highly anticipated deal with the life sciences sector and the document showed shared some vague details of investments intended by drug developers such as GlaxoSmithKline.

GSK has committed to a follow-up investment of £40 million ($53 million) for the expansion of a genome sequencing program it developed earlier this year with Regeneron and UK Biobank. In March, GSK and Regeneron all cut checks for the “initial investment” to sequence the first 50,000 of the 500,000 genomes.

The GSK investment, although presumed, is an illustration of a new number in the government’s report. The other projects disclosed in the report are either already known, ambiguous, or of lack importance to the U.K. life sciences sector. Novo Nordisk’s £115 million research center in Oxford would be the former and the partnership between Johnson & Johnson and the University of Oxford on clinical trial methodologies would be the latter.

The largest issue the “leaked” news reports and what really happened connects to the VC investment and relocation tale broken down by the Sunday Times and Financial Times. Both articles depicted an investment of up to $1 billion by a U.S. life sciences fund which intended to relocate a “significant” part of the company’s operations to the U.K. None of which is in the report.

Apple Tree Partners “has signalled its intention to create a biopharmaceutical company in the U.K.” was the only news that was on the same page. Apple Tree is the VC store that backs biotechs such as Gloucester Pharmaceuticals. Apple Tree’s participation in the development of a U.K. biotech would be a welcomed by the country. The remainder of the report does not depict any data the government would need to comfort businesses pertaining to the country’s post-Brexit future.


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