UK mega-fund? BoJo considering £10bn fund to boost London’s drug sector

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

UK mega-fund? BoJo considering £10bn fund to boost London’s drug sector

Related tags Pharmacology

A £10bn ‘mega-fund’ being considered by London Mayor Boris Johnson to boost drug development would be roughly equivalent to what it costs to develop six new medicines based on the latest industry estimates.

The potential mega fund was discussed at event at City Hall last night, where Johnson, financiers and representatives from Pfizer and Lilly gathered to assess ways of encouraging pharmaceutical development in the English capital.

Johnson said: “London is one of the most powerful scientific discovery engines in the world, home to an incredible cornucopia of research, medical and financial pre-eminence.

“By hosting this conference we hope to harness our role as a global financial centre that will bring more life-saving drugs to market and deliver a huge boost to the economy​.”

The idea behind the ‘mega fund’ is to attract investors willing to back a pool of drug development projects in return for a small percentage of the royalties from successful products or licensing revenues that result.

According to the Mayor’s office “By pooling various drug development projects in a single investment portfolio, the overall risk would be lower, with a much higher chance of bringing a minority of successful projects to fruition, which would more than compensate for the potential failure of the remainder​.”

The tentative plan was welcomed by Tim Luker from Lilly, who said he "welcomes City Hall’s ambition to put London at the forefront of biomedical research, investment and funding.

We believe that only though research collaboration and new funding models can we speed the discovery of new medicines to treat the world’s most challenging medical conditions​” Luker added.

Current industry estimates​ suggest it costs an average of $2.5bn (£1.6bn) and takes a decade to develop a drug.

These figures are disputed – others claim industry inflates the costs​ to justify high prices and estimate that a new drug costs $200m to create​.

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