OPINION: Vital to Vaccinate the World

Dr Nik Kotecha OBE, Chief Executive of Morningside Pharmaceuticals Ltd

There is a moral imperative to vaccinate poorer countries writes Dr Nik Kotecha OBE, Founder and Chairman of Morningside Pharmaceuticals.

As the UK and other developed nations begin to phase out Covid-19 restrictions, many lower-middle income countries feel left behind by the unequal distribution of vaccines.

This is despite the G7 pledging 870million vaccine doses for 2021 and 2022, which has been welcomed by international NGOs, but is still no-where near enough to protect populations from the rampant spread of the virus.

The official death toll from Covid is nearing 4 million, with almost 200 million cases. Whilst we have suffered almost 130,000 deaths in the UK, we know that the virus has affected every country on every continent. It has wrought destruction not only in poorer countries but rich countries too. The comparison is drawn with the Spanish flu of 1918, which killed an estimated 50 million people (including approximately 250,000 in the UK). Thankfully the development of a vaccine, as well as lockdowns and other measures, have meant that a century on, we are much better able to cope with a global pandemic.

In dealing with the pandemic, whilst governments around the world have displayed some disappointing examples of incompetent leadership and vaccine nationalism, one of the positive aspects of the global response has been some outstanding examples of collaboration and partnership, notably between government, universities and the private sector.

The AstraZeneca partnership with Oxford University, supported by the UK government, is a case in point. Together they have quickly developed a vaccine, in a matter of months, where it would normally have been expected to take five to ten years. It was sold at cost and has already provided 500 million doses in 160 countries. Where possible, AstraZeneca has enabled technology transfer, so that developing countries can quickly manufacture their own vaccines.

As the founder of my own pharma business, Morningside Pharmaceuticals, I recognise the value of working in partnership with the not-for-profit sector. We have partnered with UN organisations and global NGOs for 30 years, supplying medicines to them on the ground in Asia, Africa and elsewhere. In doing this, we know that business can be and is a force for good.

We should take pride in the fact that more than 40 million people in the UK have received at least one dose of a vaccine, but at the same time be mindful of the fact that just 5% of India has been vaccinated and, even more alarming, barely more than 1% of sub-Saharan Africa.

The Covid crisis has shown that none of us are safe until all of us are safe. The virus and its variants transmit across borders, and it’s in our practical interest to roll out vaccines worldwide.

The IMF estimates that a Covid recovery will bring a $9 trillion benefit to the global economy by 2025. Yet each country cannot operate as an island. Martin Luther King’s famous remark, from 1967, is apt for this time: “All life is inter-related. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

There is also a moral imperative to help poorer nations. I remember the amazing Live Aid concert in 1985, inspired by Sir Bob Geldof in response to famine in Africa. He captured people’s imaginations by talking about the injustice of hunger and our moral responsibility to act.

The UK is commendably one of the largest country donors to the Covax Advance Market Commitment, and has pledged that the majority of any future surplus coronavirus vaccines will go to the Covax pool, but still more can be done.

Some have estimated that one billion vaccines could be redistributed to poorer countries, without compromising the vaccine rollout of richer nations. Former PM Gordon Brown has been calling for a $30 billion a year mass vaccination programme.

Support is not just about what we can give, but about meeting the needs of the poorer countries. Sometimes countries with basic health infrastructure may not be able to receive a high volume of vaccines, or may not be able to store them at the right temperatures.

The last thing you want is medicines piling up at an airport and going to waste. Developing countries may need help implementing a vaccine rollout programme. The NHS has done an outstanding job of this in the UK and has valuable lessons to offer other countries.

The developed nations of the world now have a golden opportunity to show global solidarity and do more. History will judge whether they were able to put politics and internal self-interest aside to truly defeat Covid on a global scale.

Our LOROS Rocket Blasts Off!

LOROS Rocket Round Leicester

And we have blast off for Morningside’s rocket, as part of LOROS Hospice’s Rocket Round Leicester art trail!

It’s been a galactic challenge keeping the secret for so long, but we can now exclusively reveal the design for our rocket, called ‘Hopes, Dreams and Wishes’.

The gorgeous artwork is by artist Lynne Hollingsworth and features foxes, which represent Leicester, moving into butterflies, as you gaze up to the starry sky.

Morningside are delighted with the design, which aligns well with our focus on supporting young people into the world of work, and promoting skills to develop future careers.

The Morningside rocket is among 40 giant ‘out of this world’ instillations scattered around Leicester city centre, and is situated outside the Morningside Arena, Leicester, which we are the named sponsor of.

We would encourage anyone visiting our rocket to download the App, as there is a chance to enter a competition to win tickets to a Leicester Riders basketball game at the Arena, or to see a future cricket match at Leicestershire County Cricket Club, where we sponsor the Morningside Medical Centre.

Cliff Fung, Chief Financial Officer for Morningside Pharmaceuticals

Visitors to the art trail, which is on between July 19th to September 26th, will steer a voyage of discovery through the city’s streets and open spaces and help even life-long Leicester dwellers discover something new about where they live.

Each Rocket has been designed by a professional artist and sponsored by a local businesses. With a likely footfall of around 300,000 people, bringing in an expected £6 million to the local economy, Rocket Round Leicester will form a pivotal part of the city’s post-pandemic economic recovery, as well as a brilliant day out for everyone.

After the trail ends there will be the chance to say a final ‘goodbye’ at a Farewell Event, before each Rocket is auctioned to raise funds for LOROS Hospice to enable them to continue to care for over 2,500 terminally ill local people.

Morningside Arena, Leicester

Health & Wellbeing Week at Morningside

Health and Wellbeing Week at Morningside Pharmaceuticals

The wellbeing of our employees is a top priority at Morningside, which is why we set a series of challenges for colleagues throughout our Health & Wellbeing Week!

First off was our Steps Challenge where all teams were encouraged to keep active throughout the week. To add a bit of a competitive edge to the challenge, we asked all team members to record the number of steps they achieved, with the winning team getting the most on average over the 5 day sprint.

But at Morningside, we recognise that good mental health is as important as physical health, so we also challenged colleagues to take part in Wellbeing Bingo.

The week long bingo game set all colleagues a series of tasks, which included taking a little time away from their work to relax, unwind, be social and most of all have fun! Tasks included recording small wins like getting through their to-do lists, to more physical challenges like planking and riding a bike to work.

For many the week was also an excuse to eat a little healthier, have picnics with their teams and to generally get to know other colleagues a little better.

Well done Team Morningside!

People & Skills Summit Sponsorship

East Midlands Chamber of Commerce's People & Skills Summit 2021

Morningside Pharmaceuticals are the proud sponsors of the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce’s People and Skills Summit, which took place between 14th June to 18th June 2021.

The week-long series of events provided SMEs, organisations and charities from across East Midlands, with an opportunity to attend webinars from expert speakers and panellists.

During the week our Chairman, Dr Nik Kotecha OBE, took part in a panel Q&A, as part of the session entitled: ‘The Skills Landscape Beyond Recovery’.

The panel explored what skills are required to support recovery and growth, to what extent they exist in the region, and how we can work collectively to deliver skills for the economy beyond the recovery.

During the Q&A the panel looked at the challenges around recruiting talent in the East Midlands, how to plug the so called ‘skills gap’ and whether the Government’s Skills and Education Bill offers the solution.

The panel particularly focused on the need for academia, the public and private sectors to come together to better equip young people with ‘work ready skills’, as well as the need for more exposure to the range of careers available while in education.

A spokesperson from the East Midlands Chamber added: “People and Skills Week brought together businesses alongside academic institutions and thought leaders to identify the practical steps our region can take to address the challenge of accessing people with the right skills.

“With the economy emerging from the impact of the past year, our People and Skills Week explored what skills are required to support recovery and growth, to what extent they exist in the region, and how we can work collectively to deliver skills for the economy beyond the recovery.”

Olympic Champion Rower James Cracknell Supports Award

James Cracknell

Double Olympic Champion Rower James Cracknell has presented a national charity award, which was sponsored by Morningside Pharmaceuticals.

The national Centre for Social Justice Awards’ Small Charity category winner was revealed virtually by James via a video recording to the Oasis Community Centre, in Worksop.

View the Video below to watch James present the award:

 

The CSJ Awards honour the best grassroots, poverty-fighting charities and social enterprises in Britain. All winners received a £10,000 prize, which will go towards providing their often life saving and life changing community work.

The CSJ chose Oasis Community Centre because the charity represents the very best of localism and the power of community spirit. They deal with some of the most complex issues in their area, identifying where need is most acute and being creative enough to come up with the solutions.

The Oasis Community Centre is a beautiful and vibrant 2-acre garden, hidden in the centre of the Kilton estate, Worksop. They operate as the heart of the community through running over 30 projects and activities for all ages, needs and interests. Through their therapeutic interventions, Oasis aim to reduce isolation, to improve health and wellbeing and increase the life opportunities and chances for all people in the area.

The CSJ chose Oasis as the Small Charity category winners because they have developed themselves intentionally to be responsive to the needs of local people and to fully support everyone who comes through their door, with no thresholds or cut-offs.

After winning their award Oasis said they would like to share their model with other community centres around the country, to demonstrate how a small charity with a big dream can make a difference to the world around them.

Congratulations to them from everyone at Morningside Pharmaceuticals.

LCCC Partnership Helps Sports Science Education

Leicestershire County Cricket Club's Morningside Medical Centre

Junior cricketers aged between 10 and 18 will be invited to the Morningside Medical Centre at Leicestershire County Cricket Club to learn about sports science and medicine following the naming rights renewal with Morningside Pharmaceuticals.

The medical centre, in LCCC’s Uptonsteel County Ground, Grace Road, was originally founded in 2016 and back then for the first time enabled players and visitors to be treated onsite for injuries or other medical requirements.

Since then the facility has become a critical treatment area for the players where specialist physio can be carried out, as well as urgent medical assistance provided in an emergency.

As the medical centre has become more established, it has developed into a hub for sports science and medicine, and the junior cricketers from LCCC’s Academy are now being invited to visit and learn more about these key study areas.

Dr Nik Kotecha OBE, Chairman of Morningside Pharmaceuticals, said: “At Morningside we’re immensely proud to continue our support of the Morningside Medical Centre, which is developing into a valuable sports and education hub.

“We’re passionate about promoting sports, healthy living and team work, as well as education, skills and helping young people into the world of work; which is why this initiative resonates so well with our company values.

“Developing sports science is an essential part of the club’s long term plans and in particular we are very supportive of their focus on how sports and physical activity promotes good health, mental health, wellbeing and team work.

“I hope the ongoing programme to invite the young cricketers into the medical centre to learn about sports science and medicine will inspire them to think about a career in these fascinating education disciplines.”

About 225 young cricketers will benefit from the progamme, which is being run through LCCC’s Academy of Cricket, by the Academy Strength and Conditioning Coach; Edd Riley-Gibson, and the Academy Physiotherapist; Ryan Smith.

Sean Jarvis, Chief Executive of LCCC, added: “I would like to thank Morningside Pharmaceuticals for their continued sponsorship of the Morningside Medical Centre, which is a huge part of our ambitions to involve the young people from our Academy in the education and community work taking place at the club.

“Working with the local community, particularly young people, is also very important to us, which is why introducing them to the medical centre’s work is a crucial part of our ambitions to raise awareness of sports science and other sports and medical focused careers.”

Care Packs Provided to Every Colleague

Care Pack for Mental Health Awareness Week

At Morningside Pharmaceuticals, the mental health and wellbeing of our employees is of paramount importance, which is why we were delighted to give a Care Pack to every colleague.

The packs were just a small way to say thank you to all of our hard working and dedicated people, for everything they have achieved throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

Each pack contained a selection of treats designed to help people relax and unwind, as well as helpful support, advice and information about health and mental health.

The Care Packs were timed to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week by the Mental Health Foundation, which this year is focussing on nature, and how it is central to our psychological and emotional health.

Morningside is a proud supporter of communities and in particular working with them to ensure everyone has affordable and accessible access to good health and mental health services and support.

Opinion: 5Cs Needed for UK-India Free Trade Agreement

Dr Nik Kotecha OBE

As the UK and India commit to working towards a future free trade agreement, Founder of Morningside Pharmaceuticals Ltd, Dr Nik Kotecha OBE, looks at the 5C’s which are essential to developing relations in the Post-Covid era.    

“Watching the hundreds of funeral pyres light up the night’s sky, as many regions of India struggle to bring the latest wave of Covid-19 under control, has touched the world.

This must have been first and foremost during Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s recent call with India’s PM, Narendra Modi, which also led to an extra £1billion in trade and investment being agreed between the two nations. India has passed 21.5 million cases, and the virus has affected not only the large cities but second cities and rural areas too.

Moving away from the difficulty of the here and now, the UK-India relationship has a bright future. Both Covid and Brexit underscore the importance of the UK’s future economic and trading relationships around the world. Aside from the obvious health effects, the Covid pandemic has depressed the UK economy, which is desperate for growth. Brexit has compounded the challenge as the UK needs to seek fresh relationships with important foreign markets such as India. It was notable that the recent integrated review by the government, which assesses the UK’s future foreign, defence and trading outlook, advocated a pivot to the “Indo Pacific.”

India is an important part of the UK’s post-Brexit future. The country is viewed romantically by many Brits who reference shared language, culture and history, but the current and future relationship can really flourish if we focus on certain areas. The UK-India relationship is meaningful to me for personal and business reasons. Whilst I have lived in the UK for almost 50 years, my family originates from India and I am proud of that. In 1991, I started a pharmaceuticals business called Morningside from a garage and three years later, we started doing business in India. Given my ties to the sub-continent, it was a real privilege when I took part in the business delegation when Prime Minister Theresa May visited India five years ago.

Going forward, the relationship between the UK and India should be characterised by the 5C’s. First, Covid, which both countries have and still suffer from. As we know, the second wave in India has been lethal and there are around 400,000 official cases per day, with the actual number likely to be much higher. The UK has been sending urgent medical supplies to India. It is heartening too that the UK and India have been working together on rolling out vaccines. Over a billion doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine are being produced by the Serum Institute of India.

The second C is commerce, which was the focus of last week’s announcement which aims to double trade by 2030. UK-India trade is already worth £23 billion in 2019, and supports around half a million jobs in each other’s economies. Pharma is a particular sector of strength, with UK exports growing by 21.4% to £96.75m in 2019. I know from my visits that India is particularly keen on Britain’s burgeoning expertise in Life Sciences, MedTech and diagnostics.

A Confederation of Indian Industry survey in that same year highlighted the potential of Indian businesses in the UK, identifying 844 Indian companies operating in Britain, with combined revenues of over £48bn. UK political and business leaders appreciate that the Indian economy is expected to have one of the fastest growth rates in the G20 this year, and offers a market of 1.4 billion people. According to many estimates, India will be the third largest economy in the world by 2030. Given these encouraging statistics, therefore, it is no surprise that the UK views India as such an important economic and trade partner.

Third C for community refers to the British Indian community numbering some 1.5 million, which provides the rocket fuel in the relationship. They contribute hugely to the economic, cultural and social fabric of the UK. Whilst comprising just 4% of the UK population, they pay some 10% of taxes to the Treasury. The Anglo-Indian community is an entrepreneurial one. Research last year showed that Indian diaspora-owned companies have a combined revenue of over £35 billion and employ over 174,000 people. British Indians have reached the top of business, politics, the professions, science, the arts and other areas of public life. Indian culture has mainstream appeal whether it’s food and the ubiquitous curry house or film through Bollywood classics.

Fourth, the C of Commonwealth is an important glue in the relationship. India, of course, is the giant of the association. It joined in 1949 as a founding member when Nehru explained: “We join the Commonwealth because we think it is beneficial to us and to certain causes in the world that we wish to advance …….it is better to keep a co-operative association going which may do good in this world rather than break it.” Having hosted the last Commonwealth Summit, the UK is the Chair- in-Office and with India, they are two pivotal forces in working together to maximise its effectiveness.

The final C is climate change. Later on this year, in November the UK will host the global climate change talks, COP-26. India is a key country and is one of the countries which could be most affected by global warming. There is scope to collaborate on shared solutions, which is already happening on issues such as scaling up the electric mobility markets.

Whilst Boris Johnson’s recent planned visits to India have been cancelled twice, there is so much potential in the UK and India relationship. Together our two countries can work together on shared challenges and mutually beneficial trade. In cricket, India has just won an exciting Test Series at home, and (Covid-permitting) will hopefully play on English soil this summer. Whilst it’s winner-takes-all on the cricket field, we can plot a better future together by focusing on the 5 C’s, and enable the bilateral relationship to go from strength to strength.”

Export Deal Secured with India

10 Downing Street

Morningside Pharmaceuticals is delighted to be involved in one of 20 export deals signed, as part of the newly agreed Enhanced Trade Partnership between the UK and India.

The deal is connected to researching, developing and licencing new pharma products and is among an extra £1 billion of agreed additional UK-India trade and investment, which looks set to create 6,500 jobs.

In announcing the deal, The UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, said: “Like every aspect of the UK-India relationship, the economic links between our countries make our people stronger and safer. Each and every one of the more than 6,500 jobs we have announced today will help families and communities build back from coronavirus and boost the British and Indian economies.

“In the decade ahead, with the help of the new Partnership signed today and a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement, we will double the value of our trading partnership with India and take the relationship between our two countries to new highs.”

The package contains over £533m of new Indian investment into the UK, which is expected to create more than 6,000 jobs in vital and growing sectors such as health and technology, and £200m of these deals will support low carbon growth. The package includes a £240 million investment by the Serum Institute of India in the UK into their vaccine business and a new sales office which will create a large number of jobs.

The 20 British businesses alongside Morningside have secured new export deals with India worth more than £446 million, which will drive UK growth and create more than 400 British jobs.

Dr Nik Kotecha OBE, Chairman of Morningside Pharmaceuticals, said: “We are immensely proud to be included alongside other UK exporters in the new trading arrangements, which have been announced with India. This enhanced trading relationship is a great step forward towards a future free trade agreement, which would bring significant opportunities for exporters, as well as investment, into the UK and the Midlands.

“The Morningside companies have invested in India for many years, particularly in Research & Development and clinical trials, as well as through our manufacturing investments into developing new formulations of generic medicines for our UK and international markets.

“We are proud that much of the innovation takes place here in Leicestershire and is then ‘Technology Transferred’ to Indian partners to help bring new formulations of generic and branded medicines to the UK and global markets quicker.

“In this way, we are able to identify niche difficult to develop and manufacture molecules in a wide range of therapeutic areas. This makes our patients’ experience of taking their medicines easier, as well as delivering cost savings to the NHS and our International Aid partners.”

The announcement coincides with a plan from both sides to agree an Enhanced Trade Partnership, which it is hoped will unlock new opportunities for British businesses exporting to India and Indian businesses investing in the UK.

It is expected that the closer trading relationship will lead to the doubling of the value of UK-India trade by 2030, as well as signal of negotiations towards a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement.

Read more here on the UK Government’s .Gov website.

Our LOROS Rocket Takes Flight

LOROS Rocket Round Leicester

T-minus 3 months and counting until the LOROS Hospice Rocket Round Leicester giant rocket art trail lands on 19th July, before blasting off on Sunday, 26th September.

Everyone at Morningside Pharmaceuticals Ltd is incredibly excited about our sponsored rocket entitled ‘Hopes Dream and Wishes’ which will be among 40 giant ‘out of this world’ instillations scattered around Leicester city centre.

We can’t reveal the full design yet but here’s a sneak peak of the very talented Lynne Hollingsworth putting the finishing touches to it. As you can see we’re nearing Lift Off!

Visitors to the art trail will steer a voyage of discovery through the city’s streets and open spaces and help even life-long Leicester dwellers discover something new about where they live. Each Rocket will be designed by a professional artist and sponsored by local businesses. With a likely footfall of around 300,000 people, bringing in an expected £6 million to the local economy, Rocket Round Leicester will form a pivotal part of the city’s post-pandemic economic recovery, as well as a brilliant day out for everyone.

After the trail ends there will be the chance to say a final ‘goodbye’ at a Farewell Event, before each Rocket is auctioned to raise funds for LOROS Hospice to enable them to continue to care for over 2,500 terminally ill local people.