The ABPI has used a new conference to extoll the virtues of joint-working to help shore up the UK’s clinical research industry.

The ABPI and the BioIndustry Association, alongside NIHR Office for Clinical Research Infrastructure, last week hosted the joint conference that focused on strengthening the UK’s attractiveness for life science R&D.

The two industry lobby groups believe that clinical research is currently in decline, but believe that by partnering with the NHS and academia, it will be able to get research back on track.

The UK Government has also made moves to increase R&D efforts in the country, and last week’s conference comes one year after the publication of the government’s strategy for UK life sciences - which was warmly welcomed by industry - which aims to improve health outcomes in the UK whilst also boosting the economy.

The ABPI and BIA have supported the initiatives set out in the strategy delivered so far, but said there are a number of key areas that should continue and be strengthened where further progress is needed.

This includes creating a culture of genuine partnership where relationships become less ‘transactional’, and all stakeholders understand how in practice research is translated into new medicines.

The two lobby groups are also pushing for the introduction of a workable and fully-funded early access to medicines scheme – which could see some drugs approved locally from Phase II trials - which they believe can make the UK a more attractive option as an early launch country.

Speaking at the event Stephen Whitehead, chief executive of the ABPI, said the UK has historically been "a pioneer" in life science research, but in the last decade clinical research conducted in the UK has "fallen significantly". “But we are now starting to see the benefit of the many changes put in place over the past few years,” he said.

“Our challenge is to ensure we maintain this momentum and continue to create a world class environment for life sciences research. This will only be possible by working in partnership with all healthcare stakeholders in the R&D ecosystem and embedding a culture in the NHS that supports medical research. If we can do this, I am confident we will make real progress supported by our world-class scientists, a strong regulatory framework and the unique research capability we have with the NHS.”