The difficulties of the ‘big’ Pharmaceutical industry, in terms of the likely ending of the (historically quite short) blockbuster era, are well known, especially following the sad announcement about changes at Pfizer’s Sandwich site, but Pharma remains a very profitable export industry for the UK. Research Councils have an important role in ensuring a smooth and active interface with the Pharma industry, and with my CEO colleagues from MRC and EPSRC we had a very useful high-level ‘Pharma Forum’ meeting with representatives from AZ, GSK and Pfizer.
I have long had an interest in the welfare of laboratory (and farm) animals. Indeed, my very first paper was published in ATLA (Alternatives to Laboratory Animals) Abstracts, on what would now (in terms of the 3Rs) be considered some ideas for a study of replacement. In 2005 we launched a specific initiative and programme of research in animal welfare, and I was pleased to attend, and give a welcome speech at, the animal welfare programme dissemination event. This has clearly been a very effective programme, with many interesting (and in some cases counter-intuitive) findings that can be translated into good welfare practice, as well as some substantial legacy facilities. […]