What the Brexit Vote Means for Biotech by Mickael Marsali

With uncertainty spreading throughout much of Europe, the Brexit vote has left many industries in a panic over what’s to come. Voters have effectively altered the future of many countries economies across Europe, though they may still not fully understand the gravity of their decision.

What the exact implications of the vote will be for biotech, a growing industry in the UK, are still hard to predict. There are a few key concerns rising to the top of people’s minds, but overall, the sector remains optimistic that minimal changes and disruptions will need to take place.

One concern for not only the UK, but Europe as a whole, will be how the European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) regulatory structure will operate separate from the EU. The EMA, based in London, has been in charge of the central marketing of medicines in both the European Union and the European Economic Area (EEA). The MHRA, UK’s primary drug regulator, have played an increasingly authoritative role within the EMA, being responsible for nearly a third of its regulatory work.

Many are worried about the fate of the unified patent initiative (run on European basis) as well as the future flow of investments. Until now, the UK has offered investment incentives, and freedom of employment, but this will certainly change in light of the recent vote.

Many companies like F2G, an antifungal company, have taken advantage of these incentives in the UK and would like to continue doing so. The CEO, Ian Nicholson has expressed his concern, exemplifying that almost a quarter of his workers are from other countries within the European Union. He claims that not only his company, but the market as a whole, relies on the freedom of these individuals. And he believes this reliance will only increase moving forward. The Brexit vote has put an unexpected wrench in this shift.

As a whole, there is reason to believe the Brexit vote will not affect the Life Sciences sector of the market too drastically; however, it will still be a fairly rough patch for many in the coming weeks and years. We can certainly expect small changes to legislation, but ultimately the UK will benefit from not changing anything too drastically as this will require time and resources they simple don’t have.