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[Source: EuActive] - The Netherlands and Luxembourg are battling to become the world's biobank research hub, as Europe begins to attract multi-million euro research projects from the US and beyond.
Industry sources say Europe is attempting to steal a march on the heavily-regulated biotech sector in the US, where biobanking faces political and ethical challenges from some quarters.
European leaders have agreed to offer VAT exemptions to a pan-European biobank initiative which will also be given special legal status, making it easier to recruit top scientists.
The EU, often criticised for overburdening scientists with red tape, is currently seen as friendlier to biobanks than the US, although work is underway to strengthen rules in this highly fragmented area of European research.
There is also wide variation across the 27-nation bloc when it comes to legal and ethical approaches to governing research on biological material, with northern Europeans being traditionally more receptive to biobanking.
For more information: EU attracting biobank research from US