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A key aspect of debates about the efficiency of the biopharmaceutical industry in generating new medicines is the role of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and universities as sources of pharmaceutical innovation. Some of the most important recent therapeutics and vaccines did not emerge directly from large drug companies, but rather were acquired through asset licensing, buy-outs of biotech firms, or came from publicly funded academic spin-offs. Furthermore, SMEs play a pivotal role as innovation sources in high priority areas for public health, such as antimicrobial research and development (R&D). This has been highlighted in the COVID-19 pandemic, with crucial vaccines and drugs identified by academic institutions and/or SMEs being developed through partnerships with larger biopharma companies.
The views expressed in this article are the personal views of the author(s) and may not be understood or quoted as being made on behalf of or reflecting the position of the European Medicines Agency or one of its committees or working parties.