Harnessing Europe’s untapped potential: small and medium pharma

EUCOPE asks the European Commission to put research at the heart of its Pharmaceutical Strategy

The European Commission’s Pharmaceutical Strategy for Europe must:

  • Provide ambitious measures to foster research in rare diseases and other disease areas for which we currently have no cure.
  • Harness the potential of small and medium pharmaceutical and medical technology companies.
  • Ensure that there is a supportive legal and regulatory framework to nurture their growth.

 

The European Commission published on 2 June the roadmap outlining the key elements of its Pharmaceutical Strategy for Europe. EUCOPE – the European Confederation of Pharmaceutical Entrepreneurs – is asking the European Commission to leverage this opportunity to harness the potential of small and medium sized pharmaceutical and medical technology companies in tackling unmet needs.

A coherent strategy that harness Europe’s untapped potential: small and medium pharma

The mission letter from President von der Leyen to Commissioner Kyriakides calls for measures supporting the European pharmaceutical industry in remaining an innovator and world leader. EUCOPE is calling for the European Commission to launch a Pharmaceutical Strategy that delivers on these objectives.

Alexander Natz, EUCOPE’s Secretary-General, elaborated on EUCOPE’s priorities:

“Our developing health crisis due to COVID-19 reminds us of the critical importance to develop new medicines. We need to enable our member companies to bring new and much-needed medicines to patients much faster. For instance, February’s Rare Disease Day served as a reminder of the need for further research, with 95% of rare diseases still not having any treatment options. The acid test for the EU pharmaceutical strategy will be whether or not it will enable research in Europe to find new treatments and cures.”

Does the European Union want to promote science and research of new medicines? Or will it put up more hurdles for pharmaceutical researchers? This is the question the European Commission needs to answer in the next six months. EUCOPE stands ready to work with the Commission to identify solutions to the biggest challenges for pharmaceutical research.

EUCOPE is advocating a focus on 3 policy areas:

Funding: Small and medium sized pharmaceutical and medical technology companies are suffering from a lack of funding, and ambitious new measures are needed.

A study by the European Investment Bank (EIB)[i], concluded that a lack of funding is limiting the growth of European life sciences R&D. Despite increases in recent years, ‘funding in the European biotechnology industry is still significantly lower than volumes seen in the US, with the average US company receiving around five times more financing than that of its European counterpart.’

The role of small and medium sized pharmaceutical and medical technology companies. The pharmaceutical ecosystem in Europe is based on strong science, with many small to medium sized pharmaceutical and biotech companies and innovators.  Most new medicines in Europe are developed by these companies.

A recent report by McKinsey[ii] stresses the importance of European companies and states that ‘Europe’s role in this industry continues to grow, and the region leads in many ways. However, European companies have an opportunity to play an even stronger role in the growth of an important and dynamic industry.’

The Pharmaceutical Strategy for Europe must fully support this innovative sector.

A supportive legal and regulatory framework to nurture the growth of small and medium sized pharmaceutical and medical technology companies. This need for a supportive legal and regulatory framework was echoed in a report from acatech[iii], the German national academy of science and engineering, into the innovation potential of biotechnology. One of the conclusions of the reports was that ‘a focus on the development of medical drugs themselves has so far been prevented by unfavourable regulatory conditions.’

EUCOPE is calling for a future regulatory framework that promotes the growth potential of small to medium sized pharmaceutical and biotech companies.

[i] European Investment Bank, ‘Financing the next wave of medical breakthroughs – What works and what needs fixing’, https://www.eib.org/attachments/pj/access_to_finance_conditions_for_life_sciences_r_d_en.pdf

[ii] McKinsey & Company, ‘Biotech in Europe: A strong foundation for growth and innovation’, https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/pharmaceuticals-and-medical-products/our-insights/biotech-in-europe-a-strong-foundation-for-growth-and-innovation#

[iii] Acatech, ‘Innovation Potential in Biotechnology’, https://www.acatech.de/publikation/innovationspotenziale-der-biotechnologie/

June 2, 2020

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