A new report by Novartis UK has recommended continuing collaboration across the life sciences sector in the UK after identifying enhanced collective efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

The New Possible report has found that responses to COVID-19 were collective and represented an enhanced collaboration between government, regulators, academia and the pharmaceutical industry.

This enhanced collaboration, according to the report, provides a new opportunity to ‘unlock’ the potential of the UK life sciences sector.

The report suggests the new ways of working, which have emerged in response to the pandemic, could help to accelerate future medical discoveries and also lead to more patient-centric approaches to healthcare in the future.

It highlighted, among other things, the potential of collaborations aimed at finding new uses for existing medicines, which could be of particular use in rare disease research.

“Patient involvement in decision-making relating to their health is really important, particularly as the health service rebuilds for the long-term,” said Rachel Power, chief executive of the Patients Association.

“The ongoing COVID-19 emergency has shown the need to ensure the NHS and its partners are continually considering the impact of their actions on patients and involving them in decisions about their care,” she added.

“COVID-19 and our collective response to it brought greater innovation and health service transformation than witnessed in generations,” said Chinmay Bhatt, managing director of Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK, Ireland and Nordics.

“We have seen that we are stronger, more innovative and more sustainable when we work together. To overcome the substantial pressures on the health service, it is crucial that we sustain these new ways of working in the years to come,” he added.