Authored by James Sheppard
The UK government has announced it has created a new role of Minister for Life Sciences to which it has appointed former biotech venture capitalist George Freeman. Mr Freeman has a long history is biotech having worked in the space from 1997 until his election as Minister of Parliament for Mid-Norfolk.
Mr Freeman most recently oversaw Merlin BioSciences, which is now part of Takeda and also founded a biomedical consultancy. When Pfizer took the step to downsize its operations in Sandwich, UK, the government used Mr Freeman’s expertise to revive the industry in the UK. Mr Freeman was appointed an advisor and began work on a 10 year plan to overhaul biotechnology in Britain.
Central to Mr Freeman’s philosophy is encouraging greater collaboration between the NHS, universities and industry to drive the biotechnology industry. Mr Freeman recently said ‘It’s about making sure that Britain is unlocking and using all of our assets through the NHS, through medical research.’
With AstraZeneca only recently avoiding the clutches of Pfizer and Shire being snapped up by AbbVie, the UK pharma and biotech industry is finding itself in the crosshairs of many global players. Mr Freeman’s new role is looking ever more important to maintaining the UK’s leading position in the global pharma & biotech market.