Despite Brexit uncertainties, the future for UK research and development (R&D), specifically clinical trials, is looking promising, heard delegates at the ‘Brexit: What's Next for Pharma?’ Pharmaceutical Industry Network Group (PING) conference in Hatfield, UK, this week.

The UK still produces the most clinical trials in all of Europe. As of 2017/18 there was a 25% increase in participation since 2010/11, meaning 725,333 extra recruits. It also places second in terms of global ranking, with 663 commercial clinical trials reported in 2018, second only to the US.

Speaking at the conference, which was hosted by Chair of PING and head of VWV's Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences sector Paul Gershlick, Dr Jonathan Sheffield OBE, chief executive Clinical Research Network, NIHR stated that “The performance of life sciences research is a global matter, Brexit will have minimal effect on the research industry”.

The number of new studies continues to increase, despite recent news that more than half (52%) of US biotech executives believe that the UK will be a ‘less attractive’ country for conducting clinical trials after Brexit.

NIHR’s Clinical Research Network supported as many as 5,804 studies in 2017/18, an impressive rise of 77% from 2010/11, showing no evidence of waning interest in the UK.

Dr Jonathan continued, “We need to think about what the pragmatic and right solutions are. The public voted to leave and now we need to focus on getting the best outcome from that.”

The NHS Long Term Plan is aiming to increase the number of people registering to participate in health research to one million by 2023/24. People will be able to view opportunities to participate and register their interest on the NHS App by 2020.