By Claire West

British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) announced a major deal in Russia today as Business Secretary Dr. Vince Cable opened bilateral trade talks with Russian Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Alexey Kudrin.

During a meeting of the UK-Russia Intergovernmental Steering Committee (ISC), an alliance between GSK and JSC Binnopharm (Binnopharm) was announced paving the way for increased vaccination programmes in Russia.

The deal involves GSK supplying bulk vaccine to Binnopharm to finish, register and distribute locally. The additional vaccines will increase the number of highly prevalent infections covered by the national immunisation calendar, including human papillomavirus, rotavirus and Streptococcus pneumoniae.

It includes a knowledge-sharing partnership with both firms gaining from the experience of the other, giving fresh impetus to a Knowledge Partnership between the UK and Russia launched in October this year.

Vince Cable said:

“I warmly congratulate GSK on this deal. The UK has the largest pharmaceuticals sector in Europe. This is an area where the UK’s strength in R&D and its strong universities have led to the development of medicines that can help to improve the quality of life and life expectancy worldwide.

Russia and the UK face common economic challenges, which is why I’m delighted that UK and Russian scientists are sharing knowledge and learning from each others’ experience. I am confident the UK’s and Russia’s Knowledge Partnership can achieve great things in science, technology, education and across the board.”

Russia and the UK already collaborate in nationally important areas such as higher education, and have done so for many years. For example, the British Council’s recently completed BRIDGE programme created fifty-eight partnerships between British universities and their Russian counterparts.

This complements work being undertaken on science and technology as well as climate change, where both countries continue to share information on the latest climate change science and plans to adapt to changing conditions.

The UK also supports Moscow’s efforts to become an international financial centre and has supported this through a Russian Law week that took place in London this month, and the sharing of best practice on infrastructure, accountancy, legal and financial qualifications.

UK Life Sciences fact file

• The UK has the largest life sciences sector in Europe. One in five of the world’s medicines were developed in the UK, and all the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies have R&D and/or manufacturing facilities in the UK.

• UK has one of the world’s strongest and most productive life science economies

• Medicines developed in the UK accounted for 16 per cent of the global sales of the top 100 pharmaceuticals in 2008, second only to the USA. (ABPI 2010)

• Around 300 innovative UK companies, many of them SMEs, are exhibiting at Medica

• The top 12 global pharmaceutical companies have R&D and/or manufacturing facilities in the UK.

• UK research is the most productive and efficient in the G8 (The International Benchmarking Study of UK Research Performance 2009, October 2009)

• The University of Cambridge is the number one university in the world and four of the world’s top ten are in the UK: UCL, Imperial College London and Oxford University and Cambridge