Tue. Dec 7th, 2021

AstraZeneca’s chairman has urged the UK government to increase investment in science as the drugmaker opens a £ 1bn research and development campus in Cambridge.

Leif Johansson said it was important to learn the lessons of the pandemic, including making healthcare systems more resilient and spending more on academic science, using South Korea as a potential model.

He also warned against “vaccine nationalism”, emphasizing the need for global cooperation, rather than building manufacturing facilities in every sovereign state.

“Anything Britain can do to further increase academic science as a percentage of GDP, which is the way we often measure it. . . ” could increase GDP in the UK by one percentage point, ” he told the Financial Times.

The United Kingdom recently his target pushed back to spend £ 22bn a year on research and development over two years, until 2026-27, due to fiscal challenges.

But Johanssonn said investing in academic science has helped the rapid development of a Covid-19 vaccine. “One of the reasons we were able to do the Oxford vaccine was that academics have already done the academic research for it,” he said.

Prince Charles, talk like him opened that discovery center known as Disc, praised the company’s work in collaboration with the University of Oxford on its Covid vaccine.

“Throughout the pandemic, I very much admired Pascal’s dedicated dedication. [Soriot] and the whole AstraZeneca team, ”said the prince. “You have developed and delivered a vaccine for the world in a remarkably short period of time, which will have a positive impact on communities and society for years to come.”

The AstraZeneca vaccine has driven much of the UK’s initial vaccination campaign. But the UK favors the BioNTech / Pfizer propulsion deployment vaccine, leaving AstraZeneca to focus on commercialization it in other, mainly middle-income, countries.

Earlier Tuesday, Soriot said the AstraZeneca vaccine may be one of the reasons why British hospitalizations lagged behind those in Europe, which relied more on mRNA injections to vaccinate older people. He suggested that the shot could elicit a longer-lasting immune response from T cells.

AstraZeneca’s sleek glass center, designed by the architects behind Tate Modern, will house 2,200 scientists in laboratories around a square-style courtyard.

Although there were small signs of AstraZeneca’s work on Covid, including a prominently displayed copy of Vaxxers, a book by Oxford scientists, and a glass sculpture of the coronavirus, the company is trying to draw attention to future drugs.

It has shown its investment in new technologies to accelerate drug discovery, including the use of organ-on-chips to better study early models of disease, to provide scientists with Microsoft’s HoloLens to help direct experiments remotely, and smart use inhalers and pill bottles to increase remote participation in clinical trials.

Johansson said the investment was decided before Brexit, but the company persisted after the UK left the EU. He said scientific innovation works best in “clusters” such as the biomedical research campus in Cambridge.

“It’s absolutely a commitment to British science, but it’s also a commitment to everything we have locally here around us, the university, the hospital, the biological centers,” he said.

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