GEN just completed a survey of 50,000 of its subscribers to get their opinions on the potential impact of the Brexit vote on British biotechnology and the global life sciences business as well. The survey, to which 956 individuals responded, took place after GEN posted two articles on Brexit on our website (What Does Brexit Mean for Biotech? and Pharma and Biotech Respond to Brexit).
Question 1: “What Impact will Brexit have on the life sciences industry? was comprised of five categories and designed to elicit responses over a range of 1 to 5, with No. 1 meaning least impacted and No. 5 most impacted. Regarding the impacts on “Global funding and investment opportunities, Global mergers and acquisitions, U.K.’s ability to retain its life science researchers, U.K.’s access to the EU market and scientific talent, and training and education opportunities between the U.K. and the EU,” respondents replied at level 3 for all five categories, i.e., 65.74%, 68.40%, 66.88%, 63.38%, and 63.21%, respectively. In other words, the majority of respondents did believe Brexit would have an impact but not one that would be extremely mild or severe.
Question 2: “Do you believe that Brexit will lead to substantial regulatory uncertainty for the European Medicines Agency.” Here there was a huge difference in responses with 78.24% indicating that there would be substantial regulatory uncertainty in store for the EMA, while 21.76% thought otherwise.
Likewise, for Question 3: “Do you believe that Brexit will have a long-term negative impact on the global biotech industry.” The overwhelming response was that 79.2% believed it would and 27.41% did not.
Regarding the responses, one of the key themes that emerged from the two GEN articles referenced above was that there would definitely be a period of uncertainty post-Brexit about the potential impact of the U.K.’s decision to leave the EU. The responses to Question 1 seem to reflect that uncertainty, with the majority of respondents not indicating any type of total calamity scenario (No. 5 on the impact scale) or even a minimal impact state of affairs (No. 1 on the scale)
This was also the case when looking at the responses to Question 2. There was a clear indication in the GEN articles that Brexit would lead to a significant impact on the EMA, with the likely result that the EMA would most likely have to move out of London. Our survey respondents obviously concurred.
Some surprising results could be found regarding Question 3, where 79.2% think that Brexit will have a long-term negative impact on the global bioindustry. Most of the learned opinion has held that only Britain would be the big loser as a result of Brexit and that the global pharma and biotech industries would not suffer serious damage. GEN’s readership, on the other hand, does not agree with this conclusion.