IMG_1728_600x300I was delighted to be able to attend and speak at the official launch of the Centre for Process Innovation’s new £38m National Biologics Manufacturing Centre (NBMC) in Darlington last Wednesday. Announced in 2012 as part of the government’s Strategy for UK Life Sciences, the NBMC will support companies of all sizes to develop, prove and commercialise new biologic process technologies. The Centre is a fantastic addition to our ecosystem in the UK, significantly increasing our manufacturing capacity in biologics and bolstering our position as a world-leading location for life science companies. It’s amazing to see it built and opened in a few short months, and its great that BIA members have engaged so fully on its industrial advisory Board. The kit, the space and the enthusiasm of the team make it well worth engaging with as you consider or look to improve bioprocessing.

The NBMC was officially opened by Steve Bagshaw, CEO of BIA member Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies and Jo Johnson, Minister of State for Universities and Science – who I managed to catch up with on the train to Darlington.

I’m heading North again today, to Manchester, for the Conservative party conference – updates to follow next week. Down in Brighton last week the Labour party conference was busy with delegates, despite the notable absence of several Labour MPs. With the new Shadow Ministers having only been in position for under two weeks, most of the fringe events focused on fairly broad topics rather than drilling down into much policy detail. However, in her speech at the conference, new Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Angela Eagle MP said that “to win this race, we need to support R&D and innovation which can create the industries of tomorrow. We need to support small business. We need to ensure that business finance is available to exploit the pioneering scientific innovations we are so good at producing in this country. And then we need to convert these innovations into the next generation of world beating companies”. This sounds like a promising start and we await further details of evolving Labour policy.

I chaired our roundtable event with Life Sciences UK and the AMRC (pictured), at which we had a full table of representatives from UK life science business, charities, the local Academic Health Science Network, Brighton and Sussex University Hospital, NHS Providers and learned societies. We were delighted to be joined by Lord Hunt OBE and Daniel Zeichner, MP for Cambridge and member of the Science & Technology Select Committee. Attendees heard about partnerships between different types of organisations that are achieving great results, such as Ataxia UK’s new collaborative drug discovery programme with Pfizer, and Oxford Immunotec’s partnership with the Wolverhampton Refugee and Migrant Centre to tackle tuberculosis in hard-to-engage populations. Lord Hunt was enthusiastic to follow up with this conversation after the publication of the Government’s Accelerated Access Review – it’s great to have his support and active engagement to progress this area.

In other policy matters, last Monday we submitted our written evidence to the House of Lords Science & Technology Select Committee inquiry into genetically modified insects. In our response we highlight the great potential economic and societal benefits of synthetic biology, including the work of BIA member Oxitec and its recent acquisition by US-based Intrexon Corporation. The business deal highlights excellent science and research that is being undertaken in the UK, and will send a positive signal: a) to other companies, encouraging them to invest and grow in the UK and potentially to list on the public markets; and b) to the investment community, stimulating additional interest in UK biotechnology from specialist and cross-over investors. Therefore, while it is still ‘early days’ for the UK’s synthetic biology industry, it is important that the Government continues its sustained strategic support (for life sciences and the Chancellor’s Eight Great Technologies) to enable emerging companies to grow, and help the UK to maintain its leading position. You can read the evidence in full here.

We’ve also been busy submitting our comments to the government Apprenticeship Levy consultation, which you can read in full here. The bioscience sector is underpinned by skilled, science-based and high ‘Gross Value Added’ jobs and accordingly ensuring the UK has a highly skilled and mobile workforce is of great importance. Our response highlights the need for proportionate investment of higher value apprenticeships and, given the wider skills agenda the UK needs to pursue in order to remain globally competitive, states the case for a workforce or skills levy rather than a pure apprenticeship levy. As well as concerns around practicalities, our response also expresses concern and disappointment at the government’s decision to cease match funding for the Science and Industry Partnership (SIP) post March 2016. Our sector’s experience (for both large companies and SMEs) of the SIP has been incredibly positive and proved to be an effective mechanism for employers to contract with quality providers and thus drive their investment in apprenticeships, skills and development.

Following an official UK Government e-petition against the recently approved beagle farm in Yorkshire, which has now reached over 15 000 signatures, the Government has issued an official response. I’d recommend having a read if you have the time – it’s a very clear and comprehensive response, which openly discusses the importance of animal research and the role it plays in the development of new medicines.

At a European level, last Monday the European Commission marked the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the first EU pharmaceutical law with a conference in Brussels. Overall it was great to see EU pharma law celebrated as a success story, however challenges still remain and collaboration and partnership remain key to overcome these. The perennial issue of transparency cropped up throughout the day, with European Health Commissioner, Vytenis Andriukaitis urging for open debate on pricing. He also called on pharma to begin to shift focus to the prevention of disease, as he sees the need for a move from healthcare to disease prevention, and also innovation and advanced therapies. June Raine, MHRA and EMA, highlighted the importance of keeping patients at the heart of benefit-risk assessments. Delegates also heard from Guido Rasi – now nominated as executive director of the European Medicines Agency. More information from the day is available from the European Commission, and you can watch the conference in full via video recording.

It’s now just over a week until this year’s UK Bioscience Forum, which takes place at the Royal College of Surgeons next Thursday 15 October. For those of you yet to register, and to whet the appetites of those who have, we’ve listed five key reasons you’d be mad to miss this year’s offering on the blog – read it here.

Finally, a couple of notes on deadlines. A reminder that Wednesday is the closing date for the receipt of ballot papers and proxy forms with regards our AGM on 15 October. Do take the time to cast your vote if you haven’t already more information here. And I’m pleased to announce that applications for OneStart 2016 officially opened last week. More information on our Funding Opportunities page.



Steve Bates, BIA CEO, travelled to Darlington on Wednesday to provide the closing remarks at the official opening of the National Biologics Manufacturing Centre (NBMC). The new Centre was opened by Jo Johnson, Minister of State for Universities and Science and Steve Bagshaw, CEO of Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies.

Announced in 2012 as part of the government’s Strategy for UK Life Sciences, the CPI’s NBMC aims to significantly increase the UK’s manufacturing capability in biologics and strengthen the UK’s position as the location of choice for life science companies. It will support companies of all sizes to develop, prove, demonstrate, scale up and commercialise new biologic process technologies.

Watch the video to find out more…

Do you have a video you would like the sector to see? Contact us.

UKBSF_2014_600_300It’s that time of year again – as we enter October and the seasons swing into Autumn, our award-winning UK Bioscience Forum is now only two weeks away. For those of you yet to register, and to whet the appetites of those who have, we’ve listed five key reasons you’d be mad to miss this year’s offering…

  1. Hear from Minister for Life Sciences, George Freeman

This year’s keynote speaker will be George Freeman MP. The last time the Minister for Life Sciences addressed the BIA was at our Parliament Day in June. With the next key date for our industry being November’s Comprehensive Spending Review, hear an update from George and get his take on this year’s report with EY, which will be exclusively launched on the day.

  1. Be the first to read this year’s State of the Nation report with EY

Our State of the Nation 2014 report showcased a return of strength and confidence to the UK sector, forecasting a banner year for 2014 with the UK raising significant capital, a healthy product pipeline and the return of IPOs. Find out if our expectations were correct as BIA Chief Executive Officer, Steve Bates and Executive Director, Assurance Services, EY, Ian Oliver, discuss the key takeaways from this year’s report and cast their predictions for the future of the sector as we look to build the third global cluster.

  1. Get ahead for 2016

As we approach the closing months of the year, the forum provides an excellent opportunity to get ahead for 2016, with a programme packed full of sessions on the latest developments in the sector. Hear which areas of new technology and innovation bioscience leaders expect to attract continued investment in 2016 – from stock market sweetheart immuno-oncology to novel DNA technologies. Discover how Genomics England and Public Health England are harnessing the power of Big Data to improve health outcomes. And find out the important IP issues set to face the bioscience industry in 2016, including the Nagoya protocol, supplementary protection certificates and the parenting of personalised medicine. Confused? Key IP and legal experts can explain!

  1. Partner with key members of the community

With the event set to attract over 300 industry professionals, the UK Bioscience Forum is the ideal setting to make new contacts, build relationships and develop your business. Following previous years’ success, 1-to-1 partnering will return this year. The day will feature four hours of 10 minute partnering slots, and meetings can be arranged using the structured partnering system. Who’s going to be there? See who attended last year’s event for a flavour or register now to add your name to the list and start partnering!

  1. Celebrate sector success

With the expansion of the Catapult network set to transform the UK’s capability for innovation, the response of Public Health England to the Ebola outbreak, and more companies receiving Biomedical Catalyst funding, there are certainly some sector success stories worth celebrating. Hear from Innovate UK, PHE and successful BMC funding winners before rounding of the day at the Autumn Reception, where the BIA Board and staff invite you to join them for an evening of networking and drinks.

Of course, for those of you unable to attend, we’ll make sure you’re kept up-to-date on Twitter (@BIA_UK) or by following the #UKBSF hashtag.

UK Bioscience Forum – Building the third global cluster’ will take place on Thursday 15 October at the Royal College of Surgeons, London.

IMG_1675_editLast Thursday we travelled to Stevenage for the latest in our series of BIA Breakfasts, focused on science and finance. Among those speaking at the event was David Miles, Co-Director and Head of Business Development, AKL Research and Development. In today’s blog, David provides an account of the decision to redomicile the company in the UK, now based at the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst, in order to benefit from the current UK business environment, as told at the BIA Breakfast.

AKL Research & Development Limited (“AKL”) is an emerging pharmaceutical development company with a disruptive approach to drug development. The company develops synthetic drug candidates from natural products, whose safety and efficacy have already been established in non-prescription markets and then moves to proof of concept through robust clinical evaluation.

To date, AKL has successfully taken a formulation via this process to a Phase II clinical trial in respiratory disease. However given the challenges of regulatory compliance for naturally derived drugs, AKL has resolved to focus on synthetic versions of natural products such as its current area of focus, APPA in the treatment of osteoarthritis (OA).

When we did what for us was a major funding in 2008, our investor base was largely US and central American. On their insistence at tax efficiency, the company was moved offshore.

IMG_1691_editSince then we’ve seen quite a turnaround in the UK environment for small companies like AKL, so in April of this year, AKL was effectively redomiciled in the UK as AKL Research & Development Ltd.

This has not been without its challenges. The cost of moving companies from one jurisdiction to another is challenging, expensive and time consuming, particularly considering our fairly large investor base of angels, friends and families. Dealing with UK bureaucracy is also quite involved, especially compared to the more relaxed approach found offshore.

But in spite of these challenges, the positives have far outweighed any negatives and we remain very happy to have made the move. For a small company like AKL, R&D Tax credits make a substantial difference. The Patent Box was also a very persuasive reason for our existing shareholders in supporting the UK move.

From a funding perspective, prior to being based in the UK we managed to fund early development and the first clinical trial with investments from four business angels / family offices, supported to a lesser degree by 15 family and friends.

Now we’re home, as it were, we have access to funding through High Net Worth Individuals and the considerable tax advantages available to them – EIS for example – and that really has made our life a lot easier. As it stands our investors have indicated a willingness, subject to successful completion of pre-clinical work, to continue funding APPA to clinical proof of concept.

IMG_1673_editFunding a small company is always tough and I think it would have been challenging to source affordable money by another route. In summary we’ve managed to fund the company entirely on private investment and at this critical juncture, this latest round of investment wouldn’t have been possible without the UK tax incentives.

Prior to the move,  we had thought that another advantage to being UK-based would be access to non-dilutive grant funds, however we’ve found the process of applying overly cumbersome: it’s very time consuming, bureaucratic, non-transparent and with no scope for discussion in the early stages. Ultimately, we’ve found it more productive and a better use of our time to source funding as described above.

That said, the positives – R&D Tax credits, the Patent Box, and the tax advantages for wealthy investors – far outweigh the negatives and we, and our investors, are very satisfied with our decision to redomicile the company in the UK.

For more information on AKL Research & Development, visit the website.

Our next BIA Breakfast will take place at BioCity Nottingham on Thursday 22 October. Find out more here.

IMG_1677_600x300We had a great morning in Stevenage last Thursday at the latest in our series of BIA Science and Finance Breakfasts (pictured above). Our guest speakers – Dr Malcolm Weir of Heptares, David Miles from AKL Research and Development, and Dr Andrew Lightfoot from Peptinnovate – provided lots of food for thought across a range of financing issues. We’ll have a blog from David Miles later this week, providing an account of their decision to re-domicile the company in the UK in order to benefit from the current UK business environment, as told at the breakfast.

Another hot topic at Thursday’s breakfast – and indeed across international media last week – was the tale of Hilary Clinton, Turing Pharma and the drop in US biotech stock prices. Having reached out to Jim Greenwood at BIO as the story began picking up speed, it was good to see that BIO have taken decisive action kicking out Turing pharma from membership. As Jim told me the company and its leadership do not reflect the commitment to innovation and values that are at the core of BIO’s reputation and mission. Even so, I fear that the industry’s reputation has already been damaged, and that the story of Turing pharma will be the prism through which the debate about prescription drug pricing will be seen in the coming US Presidential debates.

Some lively discussion as always – many thanks to those of you who came along to the breakfast, and to our speakers. Our next port of call as part of the series will be at BioCity in Nottingham on 22 October, more information available here.

We’re in the midst of party conference season now. Today and tomorrow BIA will be at the Labour conference in Brighton to get the current lay of the land in Labour politics and to host our regular breakfast roundtable, organised together with the AMRC and our Life Sciences UK partners ABHI, ABPI and BIVDA.

Last week our Public Affairs and Policy Manager Zoe was at the Lib Dem conference in Bournemouth, as we seek to stay engaged with politicians across the board. At the Health Spokespersons’ Q&A session, Norman Lamb MP said the NHS needs up-front investment now in order to meet the challenges of the near future, and responded enthusiastically to the suggestion that updating NHS infrastructure in line with digitalisation, big data and self-monitoring technologies will lead overall to better patient health and efficiency savings. Former party leader Nick Clegg MP and new leader Tim Farron MP were clear about the party’s line on remaining in the EU and that the referendum is ‘far too important for ambivalence’; a topic that was discussed at length in relation to UK science, by a panel and audience of scientists and engineers at a Science Council fringe event. And at a session focused on effective financing for company development – with Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Economics Baroness Kramer, the British Venture Capital Association and the London Stock Exchange – the UK life sciences industry was mentioned several times in the context of scaling up ‘hard tech’ businesses. Circassia in particular was mentioned as a public listing that has helped to give the confidence to other company ‘peers’ to grow and invest in the UK, and sparked interest in UK biotech amongst specialist and cross-over investors.

In other news from last week, many congratulations to former BIA Chairman, Tim Edwards who was appointed to the Innovate UK board by Business Secretary Sajid Javid. With his knowledge and experience in this innovative sector – Tim is currently Executive Chairman at BIA member, Atopix Therapeutics, and a Non-Executive Director at the Cell Therapy Catapult – he will make a fantastic addition to the board.

On the regulatory front, we joined forces with the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) and the British Generic Manufacturers Association (BGMA) to welcome NHS England’s new publication “What is a biosimilar medicine?”. The publication is a result of collaborative working between the Medicines and Healthcare product Regulatory Agency (MHRA), NHS England, National Institute of Health & Care Excellence (NICE), the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) and the pharmaceutical industry trade associations.  The BIA has a long heritage in this debate and, along with our members, we have been happy to contribute to the development of this new document which we hope will be a useful guide to healthcare professionals and ensure that patient safety remains the primary driver when considering the introduction of biosimilar medicines to the NHS. You can download the report in full here.

I was interested to read Sir Bruce Keogh’s outline strategy for personalised medicine in the NHS, also released last week. The paper sets out the concept of Personalised Medicine within the NHS, the underpinning principles and sets out the work that will now be undertaken to develop a Personalised Medicine Strategy. I look forward to seeing the strategy develop and ultimately the use of precision medicine embedded within the NHS to improve patient outcomes.

On 17 September 2015, the ABPI, in partnership with the Academy of Medical Sciences, held a workshop on ‘real world evidence’. The meeting bought together industry, regulators (both EU and FDA) as well as policy makers to explore the acceptability of real world evidence for regulatory and HTA decision-making.  The BIA was represented at the meeting, which provided some full and frank discussions as participants shared their aspirations for how real world evidence might be accepted and used in a regulatory context by 2020, and the key challenges that will need to be overcome to achieve this as well as the practical steps that could be taken to address these challenges. A key theme that emerged was the need to have some established and agreed nomenclature and definitions, as well as the view that to progress the project further would require a coordinating body. For those of you who are interested, a video from the workshop can be found here, and a report of the workshop will be published in due course.

Finally, on Friday Professor Dame Sally Davies confirmed that she intends to step back from the day to day leadership role for Research and Development in the Department of Health and make space for another to take over. The Department of Health has therefore invited applications for the post of Chief Scientific Adviser & First Deputy Chief Medical Officer Department of Health. The letter from Dame Sally is available here and the job description is available here.



In a few weeks, biologics manufacturer JHL Biotech will begin to take delivery of the largest single-use modular biopharmaceutical manufacturing facility in the world, supplied by GE Healthcare. It’s being constructed in Germany and shipped to Wuhan, the capital of China’s Hubei province.

The sixty-two completed modules that make up the factory are now on a two and a half month journey, by road and boat, to Wuhan to be assembled into a working facility at the Biolake Science Park. Watch the video to find out more.

Watch our webinar with GE Healthcare from earlier this month on flexible manufacturing here. 

Do you have a video you would like the sector to see? Contact us.

Hays Life Sciences_startupIn today’s guest blog, BIA member, Hays Life Sciences, take a look at the growth of life science start-ups and their impact on the industry. 

The life sciences industry is one of the most dynamic in the world, with growth and change occurring in every sector of the industry. The pressure of an ageing population combined with advances in technology and evolving business and medical models makes it fertile territory for new business start-ups.

There has been a recent increase in high profile companies not previously associated with the life sciences sector turning their attention towards investment in the industry, the most notable of which is Google. As a result, life sciences candidates may find their next career move coming from an unexpected source.

‘Big money’ is finding its way into the life sciences sector

Bill Maris from Google Ventures, the venture capital arm of Google, talking to Bloomberg in an interview earlier this year said:

“We’re interested in investing in companies that are helping people to live longer and healthier lives… We’ve put 36% of our capital into life science companies and the goal is to help people not die from diseases – not die from congestive heart failure or cancer or the sorts of things that affect life span.”

This move is part of a much broader trend. In the last three years, Atlas Ventures have been a source of biotech start-up capital, launching 20 new companies covering a range of different indications and therapies. In April this year it announced a $280 million fund focused on seeding and nurturing biotech start-ups.

While venture capital is a well-established principle in America and Asia – an estimated 10% of Singapore’s venture capital funds support the life sciences industry – this is less the case in Europe, where many academic start-ups rely on government grants for initial funding. Other investment models include private capital and equity crowdfunding.

Life sciences don’t just need money

If finding the money is half the battle, then finding the talent makes up the other half. But no matter where the money comes from, without the necessary human capital, start-up success will be limited.

In a recent Viewpoint interview, Riley Doyle, CEO and Technical Lead at Desktop Genetics, a rapidly growing biotech software company based in London, spoke to us about the challenge faced by many new life science start-ups:

“Finding the right candidate is definitely a challenge. In fact it has become so much of a challenge that we’re considering creating our own formal learning and development programmes.”

He went on to say that Desktop Genetics is already implementing learning and development programmes on an informal basis, in an effort to bridge the gap between job descriptions and presenting candidate skills.

Should candidates sit tight or consider working for a start-up?

Start-up entrepreneurs are typically set the task of finding highly qualified STEM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Mathematics) candidates, who are also proficient in the management of large data sets and possess excellent business and interpersonal skills.

Such broad requirements, along with the fast pace and many client-facing activities which constitute start-up culture, may make working for traditional pharmaceutical companies seem like a better fit for some.

This is not necessarily so. While it may be true that pharmaceutical companies can offer a more generalised experience and opportunities for internal movement, as the start-up sector continues to expand, expect to see an increase in convergence of workplace experience between the two.

Today’s blog was taken from The Viewpoint. You can see the original article here.

Kate Griffiths_SIPScience industry SMEs’ take-up of training and development through the Science Industry Partnership (SIP) is having a high impact on business performance, according to the latest figures. The training evaluation survey, conducted by Cogent Skills, among learners who accessed co-funded learning from the SIP’s SME-focused “Skills for Growth” programme reveals where training is having the greatest effect on business. Here, Kate Griffiths, Skills for Growth Manager at Cogent Skills, discusses the results of the survey. 

Science industry SMEs’ take-up of training through the Science Industry Partnership (SIP), which is jointly funded by the Government and employers, * is having a significant impact on business performance.

The companies involved come from growth areas such as nanotechnology, synthetic chemistry and anaerobic digestion, as well as pharmaceuticals, Clinical Research Organisations (CROs), biotechnology and formulation.

We’ve now conducted a programme evaluation survey among learners who accessed the co-funded learning from the SIP  – it shows that 73% registered a high/very high training impact on addressing challenges in their roles while 69% said that learning input had changed the way they worked.

More than 50% of SMEs polled said the training programmes resulted in a high/ very high impact on cross-skilling and sustainable business growth (53%). Half of SMEs witnessed an increase in business as a consequence of training via the SIP.

SIP SME IconSo what does all this positive feedback tell us? Bob Redfern, managing director of High Force Research, one of the SMEs involved in the SIP training, sums it up – he says that as a chemical R&D company the SIP programme has helped the company identify the skills its needs to support business growth. Not just for training scientific personnel in technical matters, but also in people skills.

In other words, a funded programme, specifically designed for science industry SMEs, has given a real boost to sector skills. This kind of approach, which SMEs had long said was missing from the landscape, is now paying real dividends.

Interestingly, the most popular areas of training undertaken by SMEs in year one of the SIP is focused on market and data analysis, closely followed by leadership and personnel management. The next most sought-after training among SMEs covered regulation, then commercialisation and laboratory practice and formulation.

SME employers and employees have also welcomed the opportunity to use SIP training solutions quality assured against criteria developed by science industry SMEs, with 100% of the learners saying that they would recommend the SIP training to other companies.

We know that SMEs employing graduates need them to take on more supervisory tasks at an early stage in their career, and the leadership and personnel management training is particularly helping them to embrace more responsible job roles and become next generation leaders.

We’re delighted that the SIP programme has been widely adopted by the science SME community and it’s fantastic to see people returning to Cogent Skills for additional training and support. The feedback we are getting shows that the style of training is a very important factor.

Ultimately there is a clear application of the training on the business, it is high impact, short and has flexible delivery options – all important factors for SME managers.

SMEs have indeed welcomed the newer training methods available through the SIP, with 86% noting a high or very high impact from the programme’s style and delivery.

This has included how well the training applies to the industries themselves, quality assurance of training providers based on SME requirements, availability of shorter duration courses and on-site training. A long overdue, tailored skills approach for innovative, high growth SMEs and supply chain companies.

 * The SIP has been partly supported by HM Government with Employer Ownership funding


Melanie Lee speaks at our Women in Biotech evening

Melanie Lee speaks at our Women in Biotech evening

Continuing the trend of positive news over the last few weeks, I’m delighted to congratulate BIA member Circassia as they join the FTSE 250 today. This is a fantastic success for the sector and it’s great to see Circassia’s growth, going from strength to strength following their record-breaking IPO last year. Providing an attractive environment to encourage the scale-up of companies is a crucial factor towards establishing the UK as a global leader in biotech. The “Scale-Up Survey” is part of a major industry-wide campaign being rolled-out during the autumn which focuses attention on the UK’s high growth firms so we can ensure that the UK is the best place in the world for companies to both start-up and scale-up. If you have ten minutes, please do take the time to have your say by 30th September. You can access the survey here.

There was plenty of mention of life sciences in Parliament over the last week or so. On 8 September Dr Ruth McKernan, CEO of Innovate UK, gave evidence to the Commons Science and Technology Select Committee’s inquiry on the Science Budget. She made many points that would resound with BIA members (you can see all the evidence so far here) and in particular, she cited one of the case studies featured in our recent Biomedical Catalyst report: “There is very good evidence that if we spend public money on translation—I can give you examples—it benefits business and the UK and will provide us with sustainable economic growth. … A company called Summit had £2 million in funding from us, and we partnered with the MRC to do that. They had not been able to get funding for a project to try to come up with a treatment for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The reason why they had not been able to get funding was that it was a very creative way of treating the disease by changing the way the genes were turned on and off, and that is not traditionally how drugs work. Having got £2 million in funding from Innovate UK and the MRC, they very quickly got £44 million of investment after they had proven that their idea was feasible. It has now gone to the public market and their drug is in phase 2.”

And it was interesting to see that example brought up once again in a parliamentary question from Stuart Andrew MP to Jo Johnson, the Universities Minister, who agreed that “Science and innovation are among the UK’s greatest strengths, and the example my hon. friend gives – I believe he is referring to the drug discovery firm Summit plc – is a good example of the way public investment in R&D crowds in additional private investment. Every £1 the public invests in R&D crowds in an additional £1.36 of investment on average.”

In other parliamentary activity, a non-specialist briefing on the 100,000 Genomes Project was published for parliamentarians, the Lords Science and Technology Committee announced a new inquiry into the relationship between EU membership and the effectiveness of science, research and innovation in the UK, the Accelerated Access review has paused its online engagement to analyse the feedback received and prepare its interim report (note the final report is now expected in April 2016, rather than by the end of the year) and there was a ministerial statement on the move of Public Health England labs from Porton Down to Harlow.

We’ll be travelling near the new site on Thursday as we visit the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst for the next in our series of BIA Breakfasts. Dr Andrew Lightfoot of Peptinnovate, David Miles of AKL Research and Development and Dr Malcolm Weir of Heptares will be joining me to discuss some top financing tips – I hope to see some of you there.

As promised, our blog from the Women in Biotech evening (pictured), which took place earlier this month, is now live – do take a look.

In other BIA activity this week, we’re in Bournemouth as the party conference season kicks off with the Lib Dems – more updates to follow.

Finally, as in previous years, there will be a trade mission to the SynBioBeta synthetic biology conference in San Francisco this November. More details on the mission – which is led this year by SynbiCITE in partnership with BIA and UKTI, and will include 1:1 business meetings – are available via the KTN’s synbio special interest group.



Back to BIO 2015 for this week’s video, when Fintan Walton, CEO of PharmaVentures, caught up with BIA CEO Steve Bates on antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

In the interview, Steve discusses the UK government’s five-year AMR strategy, the on-going Jim O’Neill review and the BIA’s efforts to help tackle this global issue.


Do you have a video you would like the sector to see? Contact us.


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