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Scientific invention to meet the healthcare challenges of today

MSD is inventing for life for our patients, through our partnerships and with our people.


SD is a global biopharmaceutical company at the forefront of some of the world’s most urgent global population health

challenges such as oncology, hepatitis C, antibiotic resistance, Alzheimer’s and Ebola and has been researching, developing and manufacturing medicines in the UK for over 80 years. John McNeill is the Country Manager

for MSD in Scotland, a role specifically created three years ago out of recognition that Scotland’s distinctiveness as a health- economy required a dedicated business focus. Outside of the UK’s London, Cambridge, Oxford so-called ‘scientific triangle’, Scotland is viewed as the second biggest centre for cutting-edge academic research on medicines, vaccines and healthcare technology, and it is important to MSD to be a part of that. As a company that puts scientific innova-

tion at the heart of everything it does, MSD has a strong focus on its ‘inventing for life’ programme, which not only aims to develop innovative medicines and vaccines for patients who have “unmet clinical needs” in diseases and conditions as wide-ranging as Ebola and Alzheimer’s but also to go beyond the pill to invest in harnessing innovative solutions and technology to help address health challenges now and in the future. Tis is reflected in MSD’s work in Scotland across three key areas for the UK organisa- tion, which it views as priorities: NHS col- laboration and partnerships, investment in innovative medicines and technologies, and utilising data and digital tools. “We’ve got a great team of very

entrepreneurial and innovative people, whether it’s healthcare innovations or medicines for patients and populations that we serve,” says McNeill. “For us over the next five to 10 years, the

focus will be on how do we partner with the NHS, with non-profit organisations and everyone who’s involved in the life sciences and healthcare industry, which includes academia, healthcare professionals and the Scottish research base to ensure that we continue to invent the next vaccines or medicines which help to extend life or

MSD’s work in Scotland is part of the organisation’s global life sciences reach

improve its quality. Tose are the aspirations of the organisation for us here in Scotland.” In terms of research, MSD currently works

with over 11 hospitals and 14 investigator sites in Scotland across its clinical and pre-clinical trials programme. Te MSD Life Sciences Fund, a three-year £3m programme developed in 2012, has paved the way for undergraduate, PhD and research post support across a range of life sciences activities including pioneering International Genetically-engineered ma- chines (iGEM) and laboratory placements. In the digital space, MSD is at the forefront

of the new national SPIRE (Scottish Primary Care Information Resource) programme, developed by NHS National Services Scotland (NSS). MSD was selected through a rigorous procurement programme to provide the software which will securely streamline the way data is collected and shared by GP practices across the NHS. For MSD, this work is a key plank of its drive towards digital innovation and partnership. Tis ‘additionality’ is part of the way

healthcare is engaging with ‘disruptive in- novation’ by new technologies and aims to improve the way patient data is collected and disseminated within the NHS in Scotland and is central to MSD’s future mission.

“We have been working in the digital

space for around 15 years in Scotland; it was MSD who partnered with NHS Scotland on GP contracts, through the QOF (Quality Outcomes Framework), providing the software and analytics for the NHS, so there’s quite a history in that space of working with health boards, government, NHS NSS, and the other associated agencies with SPIRE being another example of continuing to build on that work.” MSD recognises that no single organisation

has everything it takes to deliver complete healthcare. Te organisation is proudly exploring partnerships projects in Scotland in collaboration with the Pharmaceutical Industry Alliance (PIA) and Greater Glasgow & Clyde Health Board, and working with NHS Fife Diabetes Centre, SCI-Diabetes (the Scot- tish National Diabetes System) and the Scottish Ambulance Service to support patients who experience severe hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) with the aim of improving patient care and reducing emergency admissions. MSD has also taken a role in the Life

Sciences Scotland Industry Leadership Group whose aim is, in collaboration, to transform the life sciences sector in Scotland into a world leading industry that contributes £8bn to the Scottish economy by 2025. John McNeill co-leads one of four work streams designed to help achieve this target. He says: “Tis is all about the industry having one voice and MSD is excited to be part of that cross-sectoral work.” n

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