Brexit deal secures UK access to €95.5bn research and innovation program, says GlobalData

Through the Brexit deal struck between the UK and EU on 24 December 2021, the UK will be part of Horizon Europe, the EU’s next framework program for research and innovation. The UK-EU trade deal will give the UK researchers and businesses access to Horizon Europe funding on equivalent terms as EU counterparts, including eligibility to lead projects, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Keshalini Sabaratnam, Pharma Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Despite the Brexit deal to be part of Horizon Europe, the UK will be excluded from the new European Innovation Council Accelerator fund, which was specifically set up to provide equity investments to start-ups, university spin-offs, and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This blocks UK companies access to a significant pot of funding for new technology and research.”

Horizon Europe will run from 2021 to 2027 with a proposed budget of €95.5bn (US$114.4bn). EU research programs are open for researchers, micro enterprises, SMEs, and nonprofit organizations. They promote collaborative innovation to drive growth and competitiveness across Europe.

Ms Sabaratnam explains: “Horizon Europe will focus on oncology, as the EU has defined fighting cancer as one of five missions to be tackled through this program, with the aim to reduce the significant cancer burden across Europe.”

The UK’s participation in Horizon 2020 (H2020), the 2014–2020 research and innovation framework, remains unchanged. This will allow UK firms to continue to participate and receive funding for the full duration of individual projects.

Ms Sabaratnam adds: “A significant amount of H2020 funding has helped several UK Bio/Pharma companies advance their innovative technologies towards clinical trials. As such, the UK’s continued participation in the EU’s research framework programs, which provide access to funding, networks, and collaborations, will be instrumental in propelling further growth and innovation in the sector in the coming years and will help advance innovative technologies towards commercialization.”

Stablepharma Ltd received €50,000 (US$59,900) to further develop its StablevaX technology, which can thermally stabilize and deliver a wide range of vaccines without requiring refrigeration.

Ms Sabaratnam continues: “Stablepharma has so far identified over 90 vaccines suitable to use with the StablevaX technology.”

The European Investment Bank, supported by the InnovFin Infectious Diseases Finance Facility and funded by H2020, lent €24m (US$28.8m) to UK- and Austria-based F2G Biotech for the development of novel drugs for life-threatening fungal diseases. Most of this fund was spent to accelerate the clinical trials of the company’s new, first-in-class, anti-fungal drug, olorofim.

Ms Sabaratnam concludes: “As there are few classes of molecules used in the clinical treatment of fungal infections, olorofim can provide another option for treatment for those refractory or intolerant to the available therapies, as resistance to current treatments is increasing in multiple countries and this drug has a novel mechanism of action.”

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