As we surf the current summer heatwave, this week saw the return of the Royal Society’s Summer Science Exhibition.

The Summer Science Exhibition is an annual display of the most exciting cutting-edge science and technology in the UK, featuring 22 exhibits from the forefront of innovation. This week’s video – ‘The Flu Fighters’ – was produced by The Pirbright Institute and BIA member, The Roslin Institute, as part of their exhibition at the event.

The exhibition closes this Sunday, 5 July. For further information, click here.

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

Mark Weller BIAThe life sciences industry is evolving and the UK continues to be at the forefront of new advances. The BIA Vision, published earlier this year, sets out an ambitious goal for the UK to become a top global cluster in life sciences by 2025 – backed up with the creation of 30 000 to 60 000 more direct, high skill jobs than today. In the blog below, Mark Weller, Director, Hays Life Sciences, discusses the implications of the evolution of the sector on recruiting the talent required to sustain it.

Working within a highly regulated industry with delivery of human health the ultimate priority, life science employers typically operate complex business models. As the industry’s evolution accelerates, its workforce and the methods used to recruit talent must also change. The days of traditional recruiting by direct hire, contingency staffing and strategic sourcing of high-end talent focused on intellectual property are over. The social contract between employers and candidates is changing and it’s all about greater flexibility.

What is driving biopharma business?

It’s no secret that drug development is a complex and costly enterprise. With blockbuster drugs moving off-patent and the research and development (R&D) pipeline shifting its emphasis to more highly specific disease states, the process is now becoming increasingly specialised.

Cancer, with its multiple indications and stages, is a top R&D priority for many pharmaceutical companies. It accounts for up to half the R&D spend. Immunology and addressing infectious disease outbreaks are also becoming the focus of much research activity, an example being the recent ebola epidemic in West Africa. These developments require highly specialised talent, whose skills may be needed at a moment’s notice.

An increasing number of complicated disease states combined with increasingly globalised trial management calls for higher levels of talent specialisation, as well as flexibility, within the industry.

Using ‘purposefully curated’ talent pools

In response to these changing conditions, new methods of sourcing talent are being developed, which allow companies to fill highly specialised talent gaps on an as-needed basis. One such method is the ‘talent pool’. Life science employers can gain immediate access to talent which is ‘purposefully curated’ to meet their specific project needs.

What the ‘purposefully curated’ talent pool means for employers is a ready supply of highly specialised candidates who can make a difference immediately, are an instant cultural fit, have strong team dynamics and are pre-screened for synergy with corporate mission and vision. These project sourcing strategies are fundamentally different from past models of recruitment and are changing the composition of the life science workforce as a result.

CPI_FoF3How is the workforce evolving to fill talent pools?

As these functional service provision models gain increasing traction, a new kind of life science workforce has emerged. Employers should see an upward trend towards high-level positions being filled by independent interim managers and contractors, with project managers, clinical research associates (CRAs), medical writers, those with experience in quality control (QC) and quality assurance (QA) more likely to work as freelancers than in permanent roles.

The millennials understand the power of technology and are no longer bound by geographical constraints. These candidates are interested in working virtually and in managing their own professional development outside of the traditional corporate structures. As a result, the life science labour market is bound to become geared towards greater flexibility.

Employers will need to respond by learning how to outsource business, as well as learning how to manage human capital remotely. In the new way of doing things, a stroll down the corridor will not be the means to commune with fellow employees or colleagues; this happens by video-conferencing.

A workforce for the future

As the industry evolves, it’s important that we adapt and evolve our recruitment processes alongside; attracting the right talent to sustain growth and enabling the UK to fulfil its potential as a global industry leader.

The original blog post can be viewed on The Viewpoint

Stay up to date with latest Hays news from across the globe on LinkedIn group, Life Sciences Industry Insights with Hays and on Twitter @HaysLS

Last Thursday we invited delegates to Westminster for the fifteenth annual BIA Parliament Day – an action-packed schedule of morning meetings with key stakeholders, a riverside reception in the House of Commons, an afternoon on the Accelerated Access Review and all rounded off with our summer networking reception down the Thames. Check out highlights from the event and our pictures below.

The 35-strong Parliament Day delegation had a full day, kicking off with a breakfast briefing on the shape of the new political landscape and morning meetings with key stakeholders from NICE, NHS England, HM Treasury, Innovate UK and the MRC.

At lunchtime we had a riverside reception in the Thames Pavilion in the House of Commons, kindly hosted by new Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner, where we also heard from Life Sciences Minister George Freeman and launched a new celebratory report – Celebrating UK bioscience: unravelling the stories behind UK bioscience success. The report highlights six case studies of UK bioscience excellence, in which UK science and its commercial exploitation have been fundamental to fantastic scientific innovation. We’ve often heard that the sector needs to shout louder about our successes, and this report is one step towards achieving that aim – we envisage more to come!

The parliamentary reception was also attended by Rt Hon John Spellar MP, Chris Green MP and Liz McInnes MP, and we had interest from a good number of others who were unable to attend on the day. It’s great to know that there are parliamentarians supportive of and keen to learn about the life sciences industry.

In the afternoon it was really valuable to have Chief Executive of NHS England Simon Stevens join us to talk about his forward view for the health service and answering questions from the delegation. Nicole Mather, Director of the Office for Life Sciences (OLS) and members of the Accelerated Access Review (AAR) team also joined us to convene a workshop explaining the aims and processes of the AAR and to gather some initial industry thoughts. In essence, the premise of the offer from government here seems to be we’ll help you get speedier approval and Health Technology Appraisal data on your products, for which we expect cheaper prices. Is this a win, win, win for the UK biotech sector? Formally and informally, BIA will continue to input evidence to the AAR over the next few weeks so we’d be interested if you think this is an attractive (and/or workable) proposition for our global sector. Watch this space for opportunities to have your say.

To catch up on social media, take a look at #BIA_PD2015.

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We had a particularly busy week last week, not least on Thursday when we held the BIA’s fifteenth annual Parliament Day, topped off with a fabulous summer networking evening aboard the Dixie Queen paddle steamer. The 35-strong Parliament Day delegation had a full day, kicking off with a breakfast briefing on the shape of the new political landscape and morning meetings with key stakeholders from NICE, NHS England, HM Treasury, Innovate UK and the MRC.

The Parliament Day 2015 delegation

At lunchtime we had a riverside reception in the Thames Pavilion in the House of Commons, kindly hosted by new Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner, where we also heard from Life Sciences Minister George Freeman and launched a new celebratory report – Celebrating UK bioscience: unravelling the stories behind UK bioscience success. The report highlights six case studies of UK bioscience excellence, in which UK science and its commercial exploitation have been fundamental to fantastic scientific innovation. We’ve often heard that the sector needs to shout louder about our successes, and this report is one step towards achieving that aim – we envisage more to come!

The parliamentary reception was also attended by Rt Hon John Spellar MP, Chris Green MP and Liz McInnes MP, and we had interest from a good number of others who were unable to attend on the day. It’s great to know that there are parliamentarians supportive of and keen to learn about the life sciences industry (and in fact just this morning I’m pleased to say we held the AGM to ratify a new All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Life Sciences, for which BIA will provide secretariat along with our Life Sciences UK partners the ABPI, BIVDA and ABHI).

In the afternoon it was really valuable to have Chief Executive of NHS England Simon Stevens join us to talk about his forward view for the health service and answering questions from the delegation. Nicole Mather, Director of the Office for Life Sciences (OLS) and members of the Accelerated Access Review (AAR) team also joined us to convene a workshop explaining the aims and processes of the AAR and to gather some initial industry thoughts. In essence, the premise of the offer from government here seems to be we’ll help you get speedier approval and Health Technology Appraisal data on your products, for which we expect cheaper prices. Is this a win, win, win for the UK biotech sector? Formally and informally, BIA will continue to input evidence to the AAR over the next few weeks so I’d be interested if you think this is an attractive (and/or workable) proposition for our global sector. Watch this space for opportunities to have your say.

Thank you once again to all the CEOs and senior representatives from member companies who joined us on the day. To catch up on social media, take a look at #BIA_PD2015. In the evening we were able to top off the day with a great evening in the sunshine, cruising down the Thames on the Dixie Queen paddle boat with over 100 attendees and a really positive buzz.

I also spent time at European Parliament last week as part of a EuropaBio event on the Benefits of Biotech, and I’m happy to have been elected to the Board of EuropaBio, where I will continue to fly the flag and represent UK sector interests.  It was good to hear the UK life science strategy recognised by Elcin Ergun, European VP of Merck Serono, who recommended to European colleagues that the integrated UK strategy is worth copying. Congratulations go to the 2015 Most Innovative European Biotech SME Award winners – Italy’s MolMed S.p.A. for the healthcare category and the UK’s Celtic Renewables Ltd, an Edinburgh spin-out, for the industrial biotechnology category.

On Tuesday there was more good news at the launch of BioGateway, a new life science network based at BIA member Discovery Park in Sandwich. Attendees heard from Dr Mark Treherne, CEO of UKTI’s Life Science Organisation, on the landscape of Life Sciences in the UK and the role played by networks like the BioGateway in supporting growth in the sector.

In the week that saw the launch of a new MHRA Inspectorate blog, the MHRA also published the latest in their series of case studies highlighting the work of the Innovation Office, featuring BIA member FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies. The case study details how the Innovation Office helped them to future-proof their manufacturing facility in Billingham, becoming one of the first plants in Europe to have single-use tech from start to finish. You can read the case study here.

Finally, as the weather heats up this week we are looking ahead to some forthcoming events. Our annual UK CEO & Investor Forum takes place next week at Oatlands Park Hotel in Weybridge, kicking off with dinner on Wednesday 8 July. It’s always an interesting couple of days, and it’s not too late to register for your chance to hear and join in with the conversations around successes and deals, soapbox presentations, the future of product development and more. And following on from two previous successful missions, we are pleased to announce that registration is now open for a trade mission with UKTI to AusBiotech 2015 in Melbourne, Australia, 7-9 October.

Best,

Steve

The field of precision medicine is evolving. As we look forward it is likely that many more drugs will be targeted to smaller cohorts of patients. However, this creates challenges. How do we make sure these new drugs are affordable, and what is the best way to get them to the patients? Today’s video comes from the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) on their Biotherapeutics Factory of the Future.

Read their guest blog from earlier in the week here.

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

CPI_FoF1For many, precision medicine is seen as the cornerstone of future healthcare; tailoring treatments to individual patients for improved outcomes. In today’s blog, the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) discuss advances in healthcare and how innovations in biopharmaceutical manufacture could drastically enhance the future of medicine.

Imagine a world where disease outbreaks could be stopped at the source, a world where patients could receive personalised treatment for specific diseases and have it manufactured at their bedside. The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) is working towards making this concept a reality by helping companies to scale down traditional biopharmaceutical manufacturing methods and develop new techniques for the future delivery of precision medicine.

Current challenges

The global Healthcare and Life Sciences sector is in the midst of change which presents both opportunities and challenges to patients, hospitals and business alike. This change is being driven by supply and demand pressures, lifestyle choices, longevity and a rise in the incidence of chronic disease.

The current worldwide population is over 7 billion and is rising exponentially. By 2050, it is estimated that one in five of the population will be over 60, bringing a rise in the frequency of age related disorders such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and neurological disorders. Furthermore, since 1980 there has been a global rise in human infectious disease outbreaks, the recent Ebola epidemic demonstrated the reality of this. These statistics identify not only a demand for change, but an opportunity to develop new ways in which therapies are developed, manufactured, transported and administered.

Many current treatments offer a ‘one size fits all’ approach meaning the same drug is administered to a large cohort of patients who have been diagnosed with a particular disease. It is an unfortunate fact that not all patients respond in the same way to this type of treatment and side effects often vary.

Precision medicine

CPI_FoF3Technical advances in DNA sequencing are enabling medical researchers to determine the molecular basis of disease. This facilitates the differentiation of single diseases into multiple subtypes which in turn enables the design of therapies that specifically address the causative factors of the disease.

These advances have made it possible to diagnose and effectively treat a rapidly growing number of diseases much earlier and with greater precision than ever before. Known as precision medicine, it is enabling medical professionals to customise therapies for smaller patient groups, maximising the effectiveness of treatment and minimising their side effects.

Precision medicine offers the ability to tailor a drug to meet the patients’ specific needs, but it comes with technological challenges, specifically in the way they are manufactured and administered.

The Factory of the Future

Looking to the future, it is likely that we will see a shift in the way medicines are manufactured. Whilst current manufacturing plants will remain in operation for some time to serve the market for large volume therapies, the production of small volumes of an increasing number of therapies is not practical or cost effective in the current manufacturing formats. There are a number of potential solutions to this challenge, including scaling down and integrating process technologies into a small scale single format manufacturing unit which can rapidly change between different products and can produce small volumes of specific therapies cost effectively. These units could be used to treat small patient cohorts or transported round the world to manufacture at the site of an epidemic. The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) is working towards making this concept a reality by helping companies to scale down traditional biopharmaceutical manufacturing methods and develop new techniques for the delivery of precision medicine in the future.

Innovation in the manufacture of precision medicine is imperative to the progression of healthcare both in the UK and across the globe. As technology progresses the possibilities are endless, from tailored cancer treatment specific to a patient, to treating outbreaks of disease, precision medicine is the future of healthcare and CPI is helping to drive this vision.

For more information on the Factory of the Future, please visit the CPI website 

Chiswell_600300This year, the BIA is hosting a series of events across the length and breadth of the UK as part of our investor-ready roadshow. Below, we’ve written up the highlights from our third and most recent breakfast, which took place at the Babraham Research Institute last month. With several more locations planned through 2015, look out for one near you soon

On 21 May, the BIA visited Babraham Research Institute in Cambridgeshire for the third in our series of investor-ready breakfast events, to hear the latest from some of our members on their investment experiences and to discuss how best to make your company investor ready in 2015.

The breakfast started off with an interesting talk from Kymab’s Chief Executive Officer, David Chiswell – a great example of a company that has really caught the appetite of investors recently with the completion of their US$90 million Series B financing. The investment, which included a fresh US$50 million from Woodford Patient Capital Trust plc and Malin Corporation plc, will ensure Kymab can maximize the potential of its Kymouse platform and advance its proprietary pipeline of first-in-class therapeutic human monoclonal antibodies. David expressed the significance of their new investors understanding what he was trying to achieve, which allowed automatic buy in and additional investment for the company.

IMG_1397Jane Dancer, Chief Business Officer at F-Star, followed on with an interesting discussion about the importance of company structure in accessing investment funds. Jane discussed the advantages of F-star’s flexible modular structure to reflect their modular technology base, by creating the two asset-centric vehicles F-star Alpha and F-star Beta. Essentially forming a new company every time a promising platform is established, ensuring greater financial flexibility and to enhance the type of funding deals that could be done.

IMG_1402Autifony Chief Business Officer, Barbara Domayne-Hayman, next discussed how Innovate UK’s Biomedical Catalyst has been transformational in prospering start up companies. Firstly discussing the impact on Puridify, a previous One Start winner, who have received £3 million in Biomedical Catalyst funding to date and secondly Autifony itself. Biomedical Catalyst funding has allowed Autifony to progress their schizophrenia drug into clinical trials and broaden their portfolio to develop novel pharmaceutical treatments for hearing loss. Barbara finished by outlining that with a clear commercial case and rigorously following the guidelines, the Biomedical Catalyst is an achievable government initiative that can transform a promising company.

IMG_1406Finally, the session was concluded by serial biotech entrepreneur Andy Richards – recently awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for his services to investment in the life sciences industry – who provided an overview of the current economic market. Andy took the opportunity to emphasise the recent success of the sector, urging people to look for investment now when times are good. Andy also discussed his thoughts on the shift in the biotech ecosystem, as more start up companies look to scale up and the challenges of doing so.

The morning was brought to a close by some interesting discussions, outlining the need for more bright young talent to move into the small pool of seasoned CEOs and also the real challenge of ensuring companies do not sell too early.

The BIA will be heading to London in July for the next in our series of breakfasts. If you would like to attend or find out more, please visit our website.

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Web banner 720 x 215 72dpi2 moreIt’s good to be back from Philadelphia after a busy and successful week at BIO2015, which drew nearly 16 000 industry leaders from across 69 countries – with the UK accounting for the second largest international delegation. The week provided a great opportunity to meet and strengthen ties with our international counterparts. We kicked off our visit attending the second meeting of the International Council of Biotech Associations and caught up with the Australians and Canadians at our joint reception. Together our three delegations made up 41% of international delegates at this year’s conference – great representation from the Commonwealth. I also managed to squeeze in a quick catch up with Jim Greenwood of BIO. One of the highlights from the week included a fascinating presentation live from the International Space Station, detailing a biotech study being conducted with astronaut and his twin back on earth.

It was great to see so many BIA members out there, including members of the BIA Board. Overall a fantastic week showcasing the best of British bioscience.

BIO_montage

Meeting Jim Greenwood; Jim O’Neill with Neil Murray (RedX Pharma) and David Williams (Discuva); and during live link to International Space Station

Keeping antimicrobial resistance on the global agenda, it was the focus of a BIO Super Session which took place on Wednesday where delegates heard the UK perspective from Chair of the Review on AMR, Jim O’Neill. To coincide with the session, we provided our initial response to the O’Neill review which focuses on his interim report ‘Securing new drugs for future generations: the antibiotics pipeline’, published last month.

While the BIA welcomes the review’s analysis that there needs to be a boost to the development of new antibiotic drugs, in our response we highlight the need to ensure that any new economic model is based on an informed stewardship not restrictive stewardship approach. As detailed in the accompanying paper, we believe that any economic model for securing new drugs for future generations is best delivered through the continuous supply of narrow spectrum antibiotics coupled to rapid diagnostics (to inform treatment) supported by a free market remuneration model. As the paper argues, such a strategy, combined with incentives and reasonable pricing for combination therapy, would allow us to change from empirically-driven antibiotic monotherapy, where resistance spreads like wild fire, to a more diverse and informed approach where protection from resistance is controlled locally. The BIA will continue to engage with the ongoing review and keep members updated on any developments. The accompanying paper, written by David Williams, CEO of BIA member Discuva, and John Wain, Professor of Microbiology, University of East Anglia and CSO of Discuva, is available for download here.

BIO was also the location for the launch of EY’s annual report on the global biotech sector, Beyond Borders: Reaching new heights. As the title suggests, 2014 was a record-breaking year for the industry on anumber of fronts across the globe. In Europe, the UK was named ‘the standout story in 2014 European financing’, leading European innovation capital to its highest ever levels. After a fantastic week showcasing the UK ecosystem at BIO, it’s great to see the figures to back it up. For more detail on the UK sector, we’ll be working with EY later in the year on our usual ‘State of the Nation’ report – keep an eye out.

Now just over two weeks away, this year’s UK CEO and Investor Forum will also be celebrating the current success of UK bioscience. If you haven’t registered, book your place soon. For more info visit the website.

After a short pit stop back in the UK, I’ll be heading to Brussels for EuropaBio’s Benefits of Biotechnology event at the European Parliament tomorrow, where this year’s winners of the Most Innovative European Biotech SME Award will be announced by EU Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Carlos Moedas. Best of luck to BIA member, RedX Pharma.

I’ll be back in London in time for our annual Parliament Day and summer networking on Thursday. I’m looking forward to an evening cruising down the Thames on the Dixie Queen – keep your fingers crossed for good weather! There’ll be a round-up of the highlights from Parliament Day in next week’s update.

Best,

Steve

 

The Medical Research Council (MRC) funds research across the entire spectrum of medical sciences, from molecular biology to public health. The organisation recently published details behind some of their success stories from 2013 and 2014, featuring interviews with scientists behind a selection of their most interesting and important discoveries.

Regenerative medicine is a field that holds great promise for the future, which could allow us to repair or even replace diseased tissues and organs. MRC-funded research led by Professor Clare Blackburn hit the national headlines in 2014 when she and her team grew, for the first time, a fully functioning organ from lab-created cells. This heralds the possibility of not only helping those with thymus disorders, but also boosting immunity against infections in the elderly. Watch a video about Clare’s research below.

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

Earlier this month we paired up with the MHRA to host our joint annual conference for the fifth year, and the first since their merger with NIBSC (the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control). Check out our pictures and summary of the event below. 

As ever, our joint annual conference with the MHRA was a truly collaborative affair and a valuable forum for industry members, regulators and patient representatives to mingle and share updates. It was encouraging to hear from Chair of the MHRA, Professor Sir Michael Rawlins, on the evolving approaches in medicines regulation, including his recognition that alternative trial designs and alternative analyses are likely to be increasingly important. Several commentators noted how important it is that the FDA’s approach must fit with the progressive approach of UK and European regulators in order to truly streamline the regulatory requirements for companies.

Patient advocate speakers Emily Crossley from Duchenne Children’s Trust and Kathy Oliver from the International Brain Tumour Alliance helped to remind us of the reason we work in this industry and the importance of involving patients at every step of the development and regulatory process.

It was a delight to be hosted by the Wellcome Trust and to have their Head of Infection and Immunology, Professor Mike Turner, as a keynote speaker. In his presentation, Mike provided an overview of the key action taken by the Wellcome Trust during the Ebola outbreak, taking a less conservative approach by funding riskier projects and vastly accelerating their timeline, with a three week window to award a grant and just two weeks to ethics approval in the UK and Liberia. The Ebola vaccine development process was also outlined by Professor Adrian Hill, Director of the Jenner Institute.

Throughout the afternoon sessions – each focusing on the accelerated development and regulatory pathway in response to the Ebola epidemic towards the end of 2014 – collaboration emerged as a key theme.

We’ll be producing a report from the event over the coming months, so watch this space for more insights.

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