From discovery to access – how can we ensure Europe is at the forefront of innovation and access delivery of gene and cell therapies?
On March 5th SME Connect, in cooperation with SME Europe of the EPP and the European Confederation of Pharmaceutical Entrepreneurs (EUCOPE), hosted a Working Breakfast on ground-breaking treatments with gene & cell therapies. The event took place in the Member’s Restaurant of the European Parliament.
The Breakfast was hosted by Dr. Paul Rübig MEP (Vice-Chair of Science and Technology Options Assessment and President of SME Connect).
Other speakers were Alexander Natz (Secretary General of EUCOPE), Irene Norstedt (Acting Director for Directorate Health and Head of Unit Innovative & Personalised Medicine at DG RTD, European Commission), Maria Kelleher (Director of market Planning at BioMarin), Karolina Hanslik (Senior Project Manager at EURORDIS – Rare Diseases Europe).
The speakers mentioned the need for new and innovative payment models for so called once-and-done clinical treatments such as gene & cell therapy. Other points on the agenda were barriers between research and healthcare, opportunities to harmonies clinical approval pathways and the challenges that make access to special treatment of rare diseases difficult or even impossible.
Europe’s expertise in giving cell therapies is strong but it has to come back to the discussion of cross-border healthcare to facilitate patient travel and bring expertise to all corners of the EU.There might be only ten centres for gene & cell therapy in Europe. The Cross-Border-Healthcare-Directive (2011) was a good starting point for patients to access urgently needed treatments across the member states but it is time for more action.
There might be only ten centers for gene & cell therapy in Europe. The Cross-Border-Healthcare-Directive (2011) was a good starting point for patients to access urgently needed treatments across the member states but it is time for more action.
The Commission will continue its funding beyond 2020 so that the competitiveness of the European pharmaceutical industry can remain. But in the end the main focus is on the patient. As Irene Norstedt from the European Commission stated in her speech: „We often forget that there are real people on the other side of discussions about money, investments and projects we are funding.“
From the point of view of SMEs, Europe is a place with good regulatory environment to accommodate innovative medical treatments, but needs to improve in areas, like reduction of bureaucracy and access to capital, to ensure further innovation in world leading Research & Development.
SME Connect thanks all speakers and participants for their attendance and is looking forward to welcome you at one of our next events.