Wading through the aftermath of the Brexit vote…


On the day of the EU Referendum vote, I awoke to find torrential rains had not only flooded many parts of central London during the night, but also had made a path straight into our home, creating a wading pool in most of the living area.

Some may think that was an ominous sign and it foreshadowed the gloom to come.

But I actually chose to draw a different conclusion: Firstly, I don’t believe in moaning over things I can’t control and secondly I like to think that with every set back there is an opportunity. Pragmatic and solution driven; and that is also how as a firm, Halsin is approaching the Referendum results.

What does this mean in terms of the services we offer our clients?

With so many of our clients placed abroad, in fact Brexit impacts them very little. So when it comes to communications  – the media are still reporting on the industry, whether in the UK, US or rest of Europe, and investors are still looking for great innovation, solid science and excellent management, and fundamentally a good investment story.  Collateral materials still need to be created, with clean crisp informative websites and evocative infographics.  Insightful KOL events are still beneficial to lend credibility and validity to therapeutic, diagnostic and medical device companies. Clinical trials will continue to enroll across Europe and our teams are ready to work with patients and clinicians to gather testimonials and carry these stories to local press, radio or television whether in Italy, Spain, Germany, France, Switzerland and yes, in the UK too.

And what about companies operating in the UK?

The BioIndustry Association (BIA) in the UK campaigned hard leading up to the referendum and highlighted the need to protect UK life sciences in the event of Brexit. Particularly as a net recipient of EU funding for health research, this gap will need to be filled.  London is also the home of the EU-wide regulator, the European Medicines Agency (EMA), which would need to find a new home.

The UK healthcare industry is in fact so entwined and entangled with the EU that it will take a long time to negotiate and find an optimal solution.  Issue by issue will be deconstructed and new frameworks reconstructed. It could be that many of the EU regulations will either be replicated or continue to be applied by the UK in order for our sector to remain competitive.

There are both benefits and costs to the UK science sector from EU membership and we will we be on a roller coaster as it pertains to negotiations with the EU – probably, but fundamentally ours is a resourceful industry which has grown up with long product development time horizons, risks during every phase of clinical trials and financing woes that make drip feeding sound a like a champagne bath.

And when it comes to London – this is still a fantastic city, situated in the most advantageous time zone to able to collaborate and execute during all client working hours from San Francisco, and Boston to Düsseldorf and Barcelona to Dubai and Tel Aviv. London in particular remains a great hub and spring board. Our teams across Europe and the US are still there to execute locally and share their insight.

Finally, there is in fact a positive impact of Brexit with the £ to $ reaching historic lows – it has never been this cost efficient to “buy British” ;-).