Today’s video showcase from Innovate UK explores the process of securing funding for start-ups and small businesses. Their top five tips are listed below:

  1. Explore all your funding options
  2. Ask for the right amount of money
  3. Know your numbers
  4. Present an awesome plan
  5. Allow enough time to raise money

Find out more by watching the video, or visiting the Innovate UK blog.

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

The BIA’s eight Advisory Committees are crucial mechanisms for highlighting issues facing bioscience companies, debating and influencing sector and policy developments, and providing useful networking communities for BIA members in their respective areas of focus.

On 25 February 2016, the BIA is hosting its second Committee Summit, where all BIA members are welcome to attend and check out some of the Committee meetings. Registration closes shortly so do sign up today.

Ahead of the event we will be highlighting some of the Committee’s work and areas of focus on the blog. First up is the Finance and Tax Advisory Committee.

Time and again BIA members tell us how important access to finance and the broader fiscal environment is to the development of their businesses and the overall strength of the sector.

The Finance and Tax Committee, which comprises CEOs and CFOs of bioscience firms, independent and specialist tax and finance advisers and in-house tax and finance leaders from biopharmaceutical companies, is a source of expert knowledge and insight which greatly contributes to the BIA’s work in this area.

Chaired by Colin Hailey of Confluence Tax, the Committee has led on a number of key agenda items in 2015 and shared its expertise with the broader membership base in a number of ways.

Patent Box reform was a key focus for the Committee in 2015, given that international tax discussions led to the UK having to introduce new terms to how the current UK system operates. FTAC members attended pre-consultation events at HM Treasury and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), drafted the BIA’s formal consultation response, produced a Patent Box factsheet for BIA members and hosted a Patent Box workshop with HMRC. With the new rules taking force from July 2016, the Committee will continue to focus on this issue, contributing to HMRC guidance on how to practically comply with the new rules and doing further explanation work for members on the practical impact on the sector.

The Committee has also contributed its expertise that has informed BIA policy submissions on issues such as the operation of R&D tax credits and the EIS/SEIS scheme, which has been influential in policy thinking and contributed to some policy wins for the sector.

Beyond policy focused activities the Committee also gives thought to how it can share its expertise in practical ways with the rest of the BIA community, publishing in 2015 a FAQ on equity incentives.

The Committee has fed in its thoughts to BIA activity in the lead-up to last year’s Comprehensive Spending Review, including the campaigns the BIA has led on the Biomedical Catalyst, and it will be a key community to consult and advise upon how changes to some of Innovate UK’s funding products might impact the sector. See the BIA’s recent input into the 2016 Budget for more detail. This will be one of its areas of focus in 2016 alongside ongoing issues relating to the Patent Box, EIS/SEIS, R&D tax credits and advising on how the BIA engages with the forthcoming Business Tax Roadmap.

Keen to learn more? Then do come along to the Committee Summit on 25 February and learn more about the work of the Finance and Tax Committee alongside the seven other areas of focus from our Advisory Groups – Cell Therapy and Regenerative Medicine, Communications, Intellectual Property, Manufacturing, People, Regulatory Affairs and Synthetic Biology.

Throughout the year the BIA advocates for our members in the UK life science industry, engaging with decision makers and influencers in Westminster, Whitehall and across the science, health and business sectors, as well as with regulators in the UK and Europe.

80meetingsIn 2015, we met with over 80 parliamentarians, civil servants, ministers, shadow ministers and regulators at national and European level.

Our latest quarterly report, ‘Influencing and shaping our sector: BIA update October 2015 – January 2016’, sets out what we’ve been up to in the last few months. You can download the report in full here. Highlights include:

  • Our summary of outcomes of the Government’s 2015 Spending Review and the Nurse Review’s recommendations for the UK’s research landscape, covering the key implications for the sector. For more a more comprehensive analysis of the 2015 Spending Review announcements, our detailed table is available to download here.osborne-csr-2015
  • Further information on the European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) priority medicines (PRIME) scheme. The BIA inputted, together with EuropaBio, to the EMA consultation on the key elements of the PRIME scheme, which is due to launch by March 2016.
  • An update on the Accelerated Access Review, which has continued apace since the publication of the interim report in October 2015. The BIA and members have continued to input to the review over the past quarter, including via surveys and workshop events with the Government’s Office for Life Sciences (OLS).
  • Our Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products (ATMP) briefing paper, launched in November to coincide with the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine European Investor Day. The paper revealed a significant new level of interest in cell and gene therapies and showcased the BIA’s work in this area to raise awareness around regulatory changes for 2016 that will impact on the development of ATMPs.ATMPpaper
  • Details on the implementation of the EU Clinical Trials Regulation, which will come into effect by October 2018 at the latest, following the endorsement of the timeframe for the implementation of the EU clinical trial portal and database by the EMA Management Board.

We’re always keen to hear from our members. Which policy areas do you care about; what’s impacting your business and R&D? Do you have a story that would help us to make the case for continuity in what works and to change what doesn’t?

To learn more about BIA’s policy, public affairs and regulatory affairs work, see our previous quarterly policy updates, our consultation responses, or email Zoë with any questions.

Clive Dix LTAA packed note from me today following a busy week for the sector.

Many congratulations to this year’s recipient of the BIA Lifetime Achievement Award, Dr Clive Dix, announced by new BIA chair, Jane Osbourn, at our Gala Dinner last week. Clive has made a significant personal impact on the sector throughout his career and continues to do so in his current roles at C4X Discovery, Touchlight Genetics and Calchan, and through his enthusiasm and encouragement as a mentor to the next generation of biotech entrepreneurs. The BIA will be hosting an evening with Clive Dix on May 12th where he will be sharing his story and details will be coming soon on the BIA website.

Alongside Clive’s award presentation, our dinner guests also heard from Simon Vinnicombe, representing BIA charity of the year JDRF. An inspiring and heartfelt speech on the challenges his son faces living with Type 1 diabetes. We’ll be working with the JDRF team throughout 2016, supporting the charity to raise funds and working to see how our two organisations can work together to promote the vital role that UK bioscience plays in solving unmet patient need. You can find out more about the partnership in this guest blog from Dr Clare McVicker, Director of Research Advocacy at JDRF.

We were also delighted to welcome Life Sciences Minister George Freeman, who gave a rallying speech on recent successes in the sector, echoing sentiments from the 2nd Annual Future of Healthcare Investor Forum where he opened the London Stock Exchange (LSE) on Wednesday morning. Since the launch of the UK Life Sciences Strategy in 2011, government support has stimulated £6 billion of new investment in the life sciences sector, creating over 17,000 jobs – a great achievement. Building on these foundations, new figures released on Wednesday confirmed that the sector showed continued strength in public market activity in 2015 and raised the highest level of private investment for a decade. Our overview document, produced in conjunction with the Investor Forum, also indicates that the UK maintains its lead in Europe in terms of our pipeline of new products.

Investor Forum LSE 2016

It was fantastic to be able to celebrate and showcase these achievements both on Wednesday at the LSE and amongst friends and colleagues at our Gala Dinner.

At the BIA, we continue to lobby the Government on issues to build upon the success and strength of our sector. On Friday, we submitted our recommendations for the 2016 budget highlighting key areas that must be addressed if the UK life science sector is to continue to grow and benefit both the economy and society. The submission outlines key areas that BIA members believe must continue in order for the sector’s current success to be maintained and refined including; R&D tax credits, the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS), Patent Box and the overall tax framework. The continuation of the Biomedical Catalyst remains a prominent theme and is a core ask of our Budget 2016 submission. For more details, the full submission is available to view here as well as the accompanying press release.

Also on policy matters, last Tuesday I appeared before the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee to give evidence on the influence of EU membership on UK science, building on the BIA response we submitted to the inquiry at the end of last year. You can view the evidence session on the blog here. In terms of our sector, a potential Brexit would affect legislation, patient access to medicines, the leadership role of the MHRA, and our intellectual property and patents ecosystem. BIA has called on the Government to set out a plan of the expected disruption to UK life science businesses. In particular, this should include how it would expect to handle the European Medicines Agency and Unified Patent Court leaving London, how medicines would be approved and regulated, and the likely impact on investment. This is a topic which will remain at the top of our agenda and watch this space for more from us on Europe in the weeks and months to come.

On medicines manufacturing, it was great to see the new ADDoPT (Advanced Digital Design of Pharmaceutical Therapeutics) project launched last week. The £20.4 million project addresses a key challenge for the pharmaceutical industry; getting new innovative medicines to market in the quickest and most cost-effective way possible to ensure access for patients. The collaboration will pursue this goal by developing and implementing advanced digital design techniques that eliminate non-viable drug candidate formulations as early as possible, streamlining design, development and manufacturing processes. This is a great result for the UK medicines manufacturing partnership, of which the BIA is a key part and I look forward to seeing the new technology being applied to biologics so that we can continue to address unmet patient need with the most innovatively designed and effective treatments possible.

I was also pleased to see that several BIA members were awarded Innovate UK funding as part of the five successful projects in the ‘Developing regenerative medicines and cell therapies’ competition. You can read more about the projects on the Innovate UK blog – congratulations to all.

Finally, a short survey request from our friends at the NIHR. The Experimental Medicine Resource Finder (EMRF) is a unique tool designed to help researchers to identify centres of excellence for experimental medicine in specific therapeutic areas. In order to shape the future or the EMRF tool and to ensure it is fit for purpose, NOCRI is undertaking a stakeholder consultation during which members of the life science industry are invited to provide their feedback on the EMRF. To have your say, please complete the short online survey here, which should take no more than 10 mins.

I look forward to seeing some of you in Scotland later this week for the Life Science Awards Dinner on Thursday evening and at our Science and Finance lunch on Friday.



On Tuesday, BIA CEO Steve Bates appeared before the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee to give evidence on the influence of EU membership on UK science, building on the BIA response we submitted to the inquiry at the end of last year.

Watch the evidence session by clicking on the image below.


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

Nooman_Haque_2015_editBringing January to a close, in today’s guest blog Nooman Haque, Silicon Valley Bank, takes a look at the outlook for the sector over the remaining months of 2016.

There are good reasons to hope 2016 will be brighter after the healthcare financial markets ended 2015 in negativity. Broad macroeconomic fears started the decline in September but the sector created its own controversy when Turing’s price rise prompted an unsurprising response from Presidential hopeful Hilary Clinton and a storm engulfed Valeant across several fronts. The issues around Theranos opened the sector to accusations of style over substance and with impeccable timing, Martin Shrekli, the sector’s favourite pantomime villain returned in time for seasonal festivities, arrested for securities fraud in mid-December.

The impact was felt on both sides of The Atlantic; IPOs were pulled and suddenly, the funding climate went into abrupt deterioration. Are there positive signs in 2016 or will we experience a pervasive sectoral hangover?

Firstly, let’s acknowledge the challenges all companies face in going public today. In the US, appetite from some “crossovers” is waning, as many recorded mark-to-market losses and lowered their appetite for further risk. But perversely there’s a crude Darwinian argument here that bodes well: since 2011 equity has been cheap and prices stable (and rising). At times it seemed anybody with an idea and some early scientific results could go public and when these conditions persist, momentum investing is the result. And in such a market prices becomes detached from fundamentals.

Prices convey information in capital markets and it’s essential that those prices are driven as much as possible by fundamentals to give investors the best shot at accurately gauging risk. When momentum exists, the information aspect of prices is diminished and markets are less efficient as a result. This doesn’t help companies or investors.

Conversely, volatility acts as a check on companies and investors by forcing diligence, research and thus more accurate pricing. A high bar for equity ensures a minimum quality level that prevents the weak from flooding the market with their bad price genes. In my view, this doesn’t mean that early stage companies can’t get out, it just means that the risk will be appropriately priced when they go public. In short: you need fear as well as greed for a market to function properly.

This is no consolation to those IPOs caught up in the market turmoil. However the market will lurch to a new mean and I’m confident that whilst some companies won’t find it as easy to go public in 2016, the market will be better for it. And I strongly believe that if we do have a sensibly priced US market with higher average quality, the information that conveys to other international investors will actually make for better UK and European markets.

Originally written for Consilium Strategic Communications

Jane OsbournAs we hurtle towards the end of January and the first BIA board meeting for 2016, new BIA board chair Dr Jane Osbourn shares her vision for the organisation and the British biotech sector.

The BIA has set out a very challenging and ambitious vision for 2025, and it is important that we as an industry push ourselves so we continue to build our globally competitive edge. The aims set out in the vision are for the long-term. Our industry works on long development times and we need to build our capabilities for sustainability.

As UK biotech looks at how it can evolve, it’s vital that we learn from the more established clusters around the world and see what has worked for them. One of the most important roles that the BIA board plays is building relationships at international level so that we can share ideas and learn from the best in the business wherever they may be. Although it’s important to differentiate ourselves, we don’t want to reinvent the wheel.

There is also a lot we can learn by collaborating more in the UK and this is something that I will be personally encouraging through my tenure as chair of the BIA board. Throughout my career I’ve interacted with the BIA and reaped the benefits of working with its advisory committees – by working together we can help drive success in the industry. To find out more about the work of each of the committees and where you and your organisation could be part of their work, why not join us for the committee summit in February.

The BIA has been at the forefront of creating an environment that makes the UK stand out from international competitors. The UK is home to two of the world’s top three universities for life sciences and we’ve got a very strong connection between that academic base and small biotech. The Biomedical Catalyst scheme has helped us build small biotech and done a great job of translating academic excellence. A key focus in 2016 will be to lobby for fit for purpose funding schemes following the 2015 comprehensive spending review.

There are 4,398 life sciences companies and their sites developing, manufacturing and marketing products and services to the UK and global markets. The collaborative opportunities in the UK are really exciting, across academia, biotech and big pharma, who have been adapting their collaborative approaches to become more flexible and open about information sharing. In addition in the UK, we’re also getting more creative and ambitious about how our biotechs are evolving their business models. The focus has moved from early exits for biotechs to scaling up the business in a long-term, sustainable way.

The economic environment is also working to support the industry and the UK government has done a really good job in providing an optimal fiscal environment for the sector. It is a great result to see that, following the Government’s Spending Review at the end of last year that the science budget has been protected in real terms.

If we are going to scale our sector with the level of ambition that we’ve put out there, we’re going to need well over a hundred new companies and they’re going to have to be taking candidate drugs into the clinic. In 2016 the BIA will be looking at how we can support growing our biotech talent pool, building our managerial depth and experience in the UK, and ensuring we keep that talent in the UK to help our sector grow. We will also be looking at how our sector can more proactively engage with the investment community to ensure the growth opportunity is understood. And finally we have an opportunity that differentiates us from all other competitors, the NHS. We can use the NHS to deliver real patient benefits and we want to work at the interface to help support schemes that enable rapid patient access to innovative medicines.

Our sector has a great track record in the UK and it’s important that we celebrate our successes in solving unmet patient need so that the importance of our sector is recognised by as wider audience as possible. We have the capability to be one of the top three biotech clusters in the world, and if we work together across the sector to support UK growth we will deliver this vision.

I look forward to working with you all over my two year tenure and seeing many of you this week at the BIA Gala Dinner.


The new £40 million Apollo Therapeutics fund launches today. The fund is a unique collaboration between BIA members AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline and J& J Innovation, and the technology transfer offices of Imperial College London, University College London and the University of Cambridge, to support the translation of ground-breaking academic science into innovative new medicines for a broad range of diseases.

It’s fantastic to see these partners, across industry and academia, coming together to support the development of UK science. The fund will add to a growing momentum behind life sciences investment in Britain, providing support for high-risk early stage innovations to ultimately develop the treatments of the future. BIA Board member Ian Tomlinson will chair it, and if successful, I hope could broaden or lead to similar initiatives with other universities.

The buzz around the UK sector will continue through the week with many BIA member presenting at the 2nd Annual Future of Healthcare Investor Forum at the London Stock Exchange on Wednesday and our Gala Dinner this Thursday, where over 650 of us will be catching up with key contacts, making new ones and saying our fond farewells to Dippy the dinosaur  – updates following both to come next week.

Our sector was also in the global spotlight at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland last week. More than 80 leading international pharmaceutical companies and key industry bodies, including the BIA and many of our members, joined forces to sign a declaration to tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The UK innovation ecosystem has a lot to contribute to this global challenge. BIA members that have signed up so far include: Absynth Biologics Ltd, AstraZeneca plc, Auspherix Ltd, Discuva Ltd, GlaxoSmithKline plc, Novabiotics and RedX Pharma. The Declaration sets out how governments and industry need to work with one another to support sustained investment in new products needed to beat the challenges of rising drug resistance. This is the first time that commercial drug developers have agreed on a common set of principles for global action to support conservation measures and the development of new drugs. The declaration also makes the call for all governments around the world to move forward from existing statements of intent and to work with the industry to take concrete action. Your company can still sign up at

NHS England Chief Executive Simon Stevens also chose Davos to launch the first wave of NHS Innovation ‘Test Beds’. First outlined in the NHS Five Year Forward View, these collaborations between the NHS and innovators aim to harness technology to address some of the most complex issues facing patients and the health service. The idea is that successful innovations will then be available for other parts of the country to adopt and adapt to the particular needs of their local populations. It’s great to see BIA member MSD teaming up with Verily Life Sciences (formerly Google Life Sciences) on one of the projects to be delivered alongside NHS Heywood Middleton and Rochdale Clinical Commissioning Group. In a sense it’s a shame that the thinking here hasn’t extended to early access to medicines yet and I look forward to hearing more about the projects as they progress. You can find out more about the initiative here, including details on the five NHS Test Beds chosen.

Our latest quarterly review of BIA policy and regulatory affairs activities is now available to download here, covering the period from October to January. This great summary document  includes details on Spending Review outcomes, further developments with PRIME and the Accelerated Access Review, our recent ATMP briefing and the implementation of the EU Clinical Trials Regulation. Our analysis of implications following the Spending Review also touches upon the Nurse Review and, for further detail, we have produced a summary table – available to view here.

A quick reminder that early bird rates for SynBioBeta London, taking place this year from 6 – 8 April, are available until 6 February. You can view the agenda here for further information.

And finally, I’d like to draw your attention to a recent announcement from the Home Office that there are seven vacancies to be filled on the Animals in Science Committee. Do take a look and apply if of interest.

I look forward to catching up with many of you through the course of the week



Action to tackle anti-microbial resistance was stepped up a notch this week as more than 80 leading international pharmaceutical companies and key industry bodies, including the BIA and many of our members, joined forces through the signing of a declaration at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Read yesterday’s blog to find out more.

Today’s video comes from BIA member, Public Health England, as Chief Medical Officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies, comes together with Dr Hilary Jones, Dr Rosemary Leonard, Dr Sarah Jarvis, Dr Ellie Cannon and Dr Carol Cooper to explain the consequences of a world without effective antibiotics but also to offer advice to parents on how they can keep their families well this winter and help play a part in preserving the antibiotics that we have now.

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

Action to tackle anti-microbial resistance was stepped up a notch today as more than 80 leading international pharmaceutical companies joined forces through the signing of a declaration today at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

The Declaration on Combatting Antimicrobial Resistance sets out how governments and industry need to work with one another to support sustained investment in new products needed to beat the challenges of rising drug resistance.

This is the first time that commercial drug developers have agreed on a common set of principles for global action to support conservation measures and the development of new drugs. The declaration also makes the call for all governments around the world to move forward from existing statements of intent and to work with the industry to take concrete action.

Why is the declaration so important? 

The independent review on AMR chaired by the economist Lord Jim O’Neill, estimated that the rise of drug resistant infections could claim 10 million lives each year by 2050 and result in a cumulative loss from global output of 100 trillion dollars unless effective action is taken.Comparative deaths

What does the declaration say?

The declaration covers three areas that signatories must commit to:

  • Reducing the development of drug resistance: encouraging better and more appropriate use of existing antibiotics by working with the World Health Organisation and by supporting improved education for clinicians. They will also work to promote a more judicious use of antibiotics in livestock as part of a one health approach
  • Increasing investment in R&D that meets global public health needs: continuing and extending collaborative initiatives between industry, academia and public bodies to improve how R&D in the field is done and provide greater opportunities to overcome the scientific barriers of antibiotic discovery.
  • Improve access to high quality antibiotics for all: supporting initiatives aimed at ensuring affordable access to antibiotics in all parts of the world at all levels of income

WorldMapChief Executive of the BIA, Steve Bates commented on the declaration:
“The ever-growing threat to world health from antimicrobial resistance cannot be tackled unless industry and governments around the world work together in new ways. It’s fantastic to see so many key organisations already signed up to the declaration and the UK innovation ecosystem has a lot to contribute to this global challenge”

BIA members that have signed up so far include: Absynth Biologics Ltd, AstraZeneca plc, Auspherix Ltd, Discuva Ltd, GlaxoSmithKline plc, Novabiotics and RedX Pharma. For more information on the declaration or to sign up your company please go to


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