ALEX BRUMMER: Great Britain & # 39; s unrivaled sector for medical research should seize Brexit

One of the smallest reasons why Britain should grow and flourish after we leave the European Union is that the UK is a leader in research in biotechnology, pharmacology and natural sciences.

The hub of the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial and UCL – with the addition of the Crick Institute – is no match outside the Boston area in the US.

It is of marginal importance that the European Medicines Agency moves to the Netherlands, as long as Great Britain takes the initiative and creates a British regulator that is open to fast-track tests and approvals.

The European Medicines Agency will move its headquarters to London from London and will start its activities on 30 March 2019, the day after the Brexit is formally completed

The European Medicines Agency will move its headquarters to London from London and will start its activities on 30 March 2019, the day after the Brexit is formally completed

When AstraZeneca stood up against a Pfizer attack in 2014, the defense, led by French chef Pascal Soriot, was based on the future value of AZ's drug pipeline and the promise to establish a £ 700 million research center in Cambridge . Both are now happening.

AZ cancer treatments, largely based on immunological treatments Imfinzi and Tagrisso for lung cancer and Lynparza for ovarian cancer, are now on the market.

Indeed, Astra is working on a blood test that can identify tumor cells, which he hopes patients will be scanned much sooner. The faster the diagnosis, the greater the chance of survival, with the possibility of a cure rate of 95 percent.

The group's new medicine for life-threatening asthma, Fasenra, also exceeds expectations. Turnover in the third quarter rose by 9 percent.

AZ also appears to be cracking the Chinese market, where turnover has risen by 32 percent. There, the group embraced smart technology to stimulate sales.

The bottom line does not look so healthy, due to the enormous continuing costs of R & D and the development of medicines.

But by the end of the year, AZ promises an increase in earnings per share.

Like many other companies, she deposits money for unexpected events in the Brexit, including the setting up of additional production in Sweden for the blockbuster treatment Lynparza, which is currently being made in Macclesfield.

But unlike the former BT boss Sir Mike Rake and the car manufacturers, it does not scream from the sidelines.

Good Charlie

It was only 18 months ago that Sir Charles Mayfield was adorned with the gold medal prize of the Chartered Management Institute, which is considered one of the highest honors in business.

And it was not until September that the 51-year-old chairman of John Lewis described himself as energetic and noticed the longevity of the owners of the past.

But while many eyes were distracted by the deposition of our old friend Jeff Fairburn from Persimmon while he snapped his £ 75 million check, John Lewis said that Mayfield would go to the door in a relaxed way in 2020.

Although it is still fashionable to praise John Lewis' stakeholder model, where good and bad times are shared by partners, the most recent results are the earnings drop of 99 percent to £ 1 in the first half, 2 million, almost enough to make Marks & Spencer look like a Rolls-Royce operation.

In a world of online price transparency, Lewis's "never consciously unsold" & # 39; faith looks a bit worn out.

Anecdotal evidence is that some of the newer Waitrose stores struggle and fresh produce in established outlets is not what it was.

Undoubtedly, the problems of other department store chains House of Fraser and Debenhams John Lewis should offer the opportunity to reaffirm the last full-service department store.

Mayfield has more than a year to make interim corrections. But there may be partners who wonder whether it was wise to use the & # 39; tubby grocery & # 39; Mark Price, a possible successor, to give permission to go to sunset in 2016.

Argos backstop

Is Sainsbury's chief executive Mike Coupe windy about the £ 14 billion merger with Asda?

Certainly, he trusts that, if Asda would fail, the purchase of Argos and its logistics has given it an online advantage.

60 new Argos stores have been added to the supermarkets and the synergies of £ 63 million have been delivered early. Turnover and income go in the right direction.

The risk is that after a 32 percent increase in the Sainsbury shares this year, the Competition & Markets Authority is blocking or demanding solutions that could cause more purchasing power for the economy.

That could bring the stock down with a nasty bump.