Almost half (47%) of UK SMEs in health-related sectors say that cost is the main barrier when it comes to pursuing innovative activity, according to research from R&D and IP specialists GovGrant.
The research also suggests reveals that 86% the companies in healthcare, medtech and pharma think innovation is important for their recovery from COVID-19.
The news is particularly concerning in light of the role played by a German SME – BioNTech – in the development of a potential COVID vaccine, alongside Pfizer.
The research demonstrates that 76% of healthcare, 78% of medtech and 82% of pharmaceutical SMEs are aware that the government offers the R&D tax credit and Patent Box schemes to incentivise R&D and when used effectively, can alleviate the cost of innovation for SMEs.
When asked, a further 46% of SMEs in health sectors said the biggest barrier was lack of opportunity to innovate. With the launch of the R&D roadmap, the government publicly recognised the importance of innovation in recovery from COVID-19 and that the pandemic has presented an opportunity for R&D. Indeed, over three quarters (76%) of healthcare SMEs agreed that COVID-19 presented an opportunity for innovation, as well as 63% and 71% in medtech and pharmaceuticals respectively.
Luke Hamm, CEO of GovGrant said: “The UK government has publicly recognised the role of innovation in the R&D roadmap, but it needs to do more to enable and incentivise UK businesses to innovate and build back better.
“For the health sector in particular, innovation is at the forefront of the response to COVID-19 that will help drive recovery from the pandemic and we can’t afford for cost to be such a big part of the reason for why it’s not happening.”