The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence is looking to get together with venture capitalists to help give a clearer picture of how the value of a medicine to the National Health Service is determined.
The Financial Times has reported that the cost watchdog is planning a meeting sometime in the Autumn with several groups that fund drug research in its early stages, at which it plans to better educate investors on the type of evidence needed for NICE technology assessments.
In an emailed statement to PharmaTimes UK News, Professor Carole Longson, Health Technology Evaluation Centre Director at the Institute, said the proposed move to offer advice to the investment community builds on the development of NICE's scientific advice programme and comes on the back of recent requests for dialogue.
"The interest in NICE is reflective of the shift in emphasis of technology developers, and those that support them, from primarily clinical and regulatory considerations to considerations of how to demonstrate value to healthcare systems," she explained.
Stressing that the whole area is very much in the early stages of development, Longson said NICE's focus "lies in providing clarity about the data that needs be generated in order to demonstrate the value of products to the healthcare system", in order to help investors "ask the right questions about value and the generation of research evidence tailored to meet the requirements for health technology assessment".
No price discussions
She also clearly stressed that any discussions "would not involve the pricing of products nor would we provide advice on which assets they should invest in", although presumably educating investors might help them to better detect and therefore back the medicines more likely to demonstrate value to the NHS.
Matthew Foy, a partner at venture capital group SR One, told the FT that the move could "lead to better products coming to NICE, venture capitalists making better investment decisions and more funding for UK life sciences".
However, an early sticking point may prove to be NICE's policy of cost recovery. “As with our core scientific advice programme, work undertaken with the investment community would be on a cost-recovery basis, so that NICE’s resource costs are covered but it does not make a profit,” Longson noted.