Recent crises have highlighted the importance of Europe securing and strengthening its position as a leader in medical innovation. As the European Commission works on the next medicines strategy, we need to ensure Europe has the right environment to bring the next generation of treatments to patients. The challenge of the coming decades is not whether medical innovations will take place, but where they will take place. This article is part of a series explaining how where innovation happens matters to patients, healthcare systems, the research community, jobs and the economy.
In the past two years, the world has faced a major health crisis that has required an “all hands on deck” approach from the research-based pharmaceutical industry. In an incredibly short time, not only have vaccines and treatments been developed and produced, but we have continued to make sure every patient, around the world, gets the treatment they need.
The pandemic has exposed two indisputable truths: first, drugs are strategic assets, and second, research must be conducted in partnership with all stakeholders. In addition to the challenge of maintaining the competitiveness of our production facilities and ensuring predictable market access conditions, overcoming the innovation challenge is a prerequisite to ensure the resilience of European healthcare.
Europe will face a research challenge in the coming years if it does not ensure that the life sciences ecosystem remains strong. At Dienst, we have chosen to bet on Europe since the company was founded in France in 1954. Today, 98 percent of the active ingredients in our medicines are manufactured in Europe, where we have 12 research centers and six manufacturing sites. The skills of our people, the level of our investments and the partnerships we have with European companies and institutions can only reach their potential if collaboration across the healthcare system is possible and supported by a legal framework that allows innovation to flourish reach patients.
Today it is imperative to break down the existing silos within the European research ecosystem in order to gain a competitive advantage. The pandemic has further highlighted the importance of an open, cross-functional approach that relies on dynamic partnerships to accelerate research, including between the public and private sectors. The Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), launched in 2008 between the European Commission and the pharmaceutical industry, has been key to fostering collaboration between academia, industry and organisations. Such partnerships are fundamental to advance scientific knowledge and to jointly tackle development barriers. Our industry will continue to invest in the newly developed Innovative Health Initiative (IHI) to build on the advances of IMI2.
Within Dienst, collaborating with academia, as well as other innovative companies, was seen as an incredible opportunity to learn from each other and better serve patients’ needs. It fueled our participation in IMI and further translated into our decision a few years ago to consolidate our research and development capabilities in France in a single state-of-the-art site that promotes cross-fertilization. This place will become a reality from 2023 at the Dienst Research and Development Institute in Paris-Saclay. This new facility will benefit from its proximity and interaction with innovative companies and top-ranking universities, being in a dynamic scientific and technological ecosystem and participating in one of the best innovation clusters in the world.
However, to realize its full potential, such a collaborative research ecosystem needs to be embedded in a policy environment that encourages innovation. The recently published Medicines Strategy for Europe and the comprehensive review of the pharmaceutical regulatory framework that has followed offer an opportunity to create a policy environment that will ensure that Europe remains a world leader in life sciences.
This enabling environment would include robust intellectual property rights protections, a policy framework that unlocks the value of data, an efficient and flexible regulatory framework, an ambitious industrial strategy and predictable market entry conditions. In addition, the European Health Emergencies Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA) must have the mandate and resources to set common research priorities, guide investments and coordinate public and private efforts to address future health threats.
These are some of the many enabling conditions needed for Europe to remain an innovation cluster, where stakeholders, public, private, small and large, talk and invest together in a better, healthier future.
In Paris, Budapest, Dublin and Madrid, as well as in all European countries, we want to continue working for patients because we know that the decisions we make today will have a direct impact on people’s lives. Significant and rapid scientific advances can be achieved with political drive and ambition. We now have a unique opportunity to ensure that our research ecosystem in Europe can be at the forefront of the next generation of diagnostics, treatments and vaccines. This will also allow us to expand our impact beyond Europe to ensure our therapeutic solutions are accessible to patients and healthcare professionals.
Our industry will play its part in this joint endeavor.
https://www.politico.eu/sponsored-content/why-innovation-matters-to-the-research-ecosystem/?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=RSS_Syndication Looking to the future of healthcare – POLITICO