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Johnson & Johnson pulls plan for first UK research centre

American healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson has pulled out of a plan to build a new research and development facility in the UK amid concerns about the economy.
It is understood the company, best known for its baby products, had identified a site for its JLabs concept, which helps fledgling pharmaceutical manufacturers to develop their products, just outside Cambridge.
But the plans have been put on hold over concerns that the UK is both politically and economically weak while negotiations to leave the European Union are ongoing.
It is understood that Johnson & Johnson had further concerns about the future of EU funding for pharmaceutical research once the UK leaves the bloc. However, a source close to the deal insisted that the decision was also fuelled by wider strategic concerns.
Johnson & Johnson pulls plan for first UK research centre

Johnson & Johnson also produces Listerine

Credit:
JB Reed/Bloomberg News
There are currently five JLabs facilities in North America, but the site in the UK would have been Johnson & Johnson’s first site for British businesses. Earlier this year it moved into Europe for the first time, opening a biotech incubator called JLinx in Beerse, ­Belgium.
It already has an innovation centre in London, from which it develops new products, but is yet to bring its incubator, which targets small businesses, to this country.
Typically, each centre houses ­between 30 and 50 small companies working to develop new pharmaceutical products. In the past, these have included firms manufacturing new cancer therapies and testing vaccines for infectious diseases, as well as companies looking for alternatives to antibiotics amid growing resistance to existing drugs.
Johnson & Johnson says the set-up allows the companies to work within a large corporation while being able to maintain “an entrepreneur’s equity and freedom”.
Johnson & Johnson invests millions in developing drugs across the world. Earlier this year, it announced a major step forward in inventing a vaccine for HIV after a successful clinical trial.
But there have been concerns within the UK’s pharmaceutical industry that access to the European market could be restricted and manufacturers could incur huge restructuring costs unless a deal can be struck with Brussels.
In June, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) advised UK-based pharma companies to move hundreds of roles and functions to an EU member state ahead of Brexit in order to maintain their existing rights to sell medicines in the common market.
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