Forensic scientists fight the axe, competitors look to a bright future


London – The UK government’s plan to wind up its Forensic Science Service (FSS) has not only provoked fierce opposition by leading forensic scientists across the country. The Commons Science Committee also announced on January 19th that it is to hold an inquiry into the closure of Europe’s largest service facility for genetic fingerprinting. The FSS employs 1,600 people and has since 1985 carried out all forensic analyses in the UK – more than 120,000 cases per year. As the service costs the government EUR2.3m a month, many of its operations are now to be transferred to private sector enterprises by 2012. In a letter to The Times, 33 leading UK researchers headed by Alec Jeffreys called on the government not to close the FSS, saying it was essential to “ensure continuous funding for independent forensic research and development and to secure an impartial system for quality assurance to all providers of forensic services.”Competitors see the plan in a more positive light. One insider, who wished to remain anonymous, told EuroBiotechNews that the move is good news for service providers in the UK and on the European continent, as it will lead to a more balanced market situation. “The FSS has played a far too dominant role in European politics and research, outshining excellent forensic work in other countries,” he said, adding that he believed the worries about a loss of quality were overblown: “The good thing is that some decided hurdles will fall, and Europe will come to broader consensus in standardisation.” Key players in private sector forensics are Life Technologies and Promega, which hold more than 60% of the global market.



London - The not-for-profit UK Biobank, the most comprehensive health study in Britain, is now accessible to researchers from industry and academia. The resource, which contains some 1,000 pieces of health and lifestyle...



London – The British Wellcome Trust announced on 20 March that it will launch a £200m business to invest directly in healthcare and life sciences companies. The business, up to now running under its working title Project Sigma,...



Nanopore sequencer Oxford Nanopore Technologies, a UK firm that promises its third-generation technology could theoretically sequence a human genome in 15 minutes, impressed scientists with the first public presentation of its...



GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is further strengthening its activity in the area of rare diseases. The London-based pharma giant has signed an early-stage deal to develop and commercialise treatments for lysosomal storage disorders...



London/Montreal - Angiochem will collaborate with British pharma trust GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) plc on treatments for lysosomal storage diseases (LSD). London-based GSK will pay $300m, including up to $31.5m in upfront cash and...



London - GlaxoSmithKline re-adjusts its €3.7bn R&D budget. Following a review, three of 38 R&D units will be cut and four new ones installed, the UK drug company said in a statement on 7 Februray. Furthermore, six of the...



London - AstraZeneca tries to shed some weight, anticipating a tough year ahead. 7,300 jobs will be gone soon, the Anglo-Swedish drug company said in a statement. Research and development operations will be cancelled in...



Newhouse – An example of Schumpeter's dictum of creative destruction can be witnessed in Scotland. A former research site of US-pharma company Merck will be reborn as a biotech science park. BioCity Scotland Ltd, a joint venture...

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