Summer is coming!

July 1, 2008
Bibiana Campos-Seijo
Pharmaceutical Technology Europe
Volume 20, Issue 7

As summer approaches, the European pharmaceutical industry is preparing for a well-deserved break. However, some will leave the arena on a higher note than others. While big pharma is embracing the globalization of the industry and suffering under extreme pressure to improve performance, the biopharmaceutical sector retires with a smile and reasons to celebrate.

As summer approaches, the European pharmaceutical industry is preparing for a well-deserved break. However, some will leave the arena on a higher note than others. While big pharma is embracing the globalization of the industry and suffering under extreme pressure to improve performance, the biopharmaceutical sector retires with a smile and reasons to celebrate.

Dr Bibiana Campos-Seijo

On a national level, the UK's contribution to biotechnology and, in particular, stem cell research has been outstanding. Interestingly, this has nothing to do with new technologies or discoveries, but with groundbreaking changes in regulation. In what became an overwhelming victory (336 versus 176 votes) on 19 May, the House of Commons voted in favour of the use of interspecies hybrid embryos for stem cell research.

Although this is a controversial move, the government hopes it will provide researchers and scientists with the legal framework they require to achieve a better understanding of disease processes, and pursue new cures and treatments. When asked, the UK's Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, said: "the question is not whether they [hybrid embryos] should exist, but how their use should be controlled."

On a European level there has been a landmark development: the European Parliament launch of the European Biobanking and Biomolecular Resources Research Infrastructure (BBMRI). This initiative aims to create a European bank or collection of samples of biological human material including blood, tissue, DNA, proteins and other genetic material. This project will also protect the data from inappropriate use by harmonizing national legislations and guarantee the quality of the samples by establishing common standards for collection and storage.

At Pharmaceutical Technology Europe, we are looking forward to the summer too! By the time this issue goes out we'll be working hard on the publication of our Buyers' Guide, an essential directory that places your products and services in front of the industry's key buyers, and on the development of a new management section that will see the light in our September issue.

Have a fantastic summer!

Dr Bibiana Campos-Seijo

bcampos.seijo@advanstar.com