The British pharmaceutical giant, GlaxoSmithKline have been extremely active, despite many pessimistic predictions following on from the vote for the UK to leave the EU. The company have pledged an investment of £275 million into three of its existing drug manufacturing sites in the UK, following a £750 million investment over the past 6 years. They have stated that the UK’s skilled workforce, scientific capabilities, incentives for investing in research and competitive tax system ensure that the region remains an attractive location.
Even more recently, GSK has set up a new company in association with Google to investigate the possibilities for fighting disease with bioelectronics. This method uses a miniature implanted ‘nerve collar’ to modify electrical nerve signals in the body; the aim is to modulate the altered impulses that are associated with many chronic conditions, including diabetes, arthritis and asthma.
The research follows on from current, accepted electrical treatments for such conditions as Parkinson’s disease, severe depression and appetite control for obese patients, and is hoped to work as a supplement to, or even a replacement for, standard drugs. GSK have been studying the possibilities in this area since 2012, but so far have only tested on animals – they are hoping that the partnership with Google will enable them to fast track their research, and conduct the first tests on human patients within three years.