In this week’s update: Life sciences recognised in the party manifestos, the new AMR Industry Alliance, EMA’s PRIME scheme, Dementia Awareness Week, and this week’s CEO and Investor Forum.

The General  election campaign is now in full swing after Labour, the Liberal Democrats, and the Conservatives launched their manifestos last week.

What’s clear is that for the two main parties, these manifestos reflect the personal politics of their leaders and mark a radical change from the policy propositions set out by the parties to the country only two years ago. See our blog here for a reminder of what the parties said in their 2015 manifestos. Both Labour and the Conservative manifestos propose shaking up the relationship between the state and business that will have profound implications for UK bioscience companies beyond Brexit.

We’ll publish our analysis of how the new manifestos affect our sector tomorrow on our blog and I look forward to discussing the implications of the upcoming General Election at our CEO forum this week.

What’s particularly pleasing to see is that, despite the significant differences in approach to business and Europe, all the main parties explicitly recognise the importance of the life science sector, R&D and innovation. All of them touch on some of our key issues – which is vindication of the campaigning the BIA and our members and partners have done to keep our sector high on the political agenda.

On Thursday, the new Antimicrobial Resistance Industry Alliance was launched. The Alliance is hosted by the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations and brings together research-based pharma companies, genetics, biotech and diagnostic companies to drive and measure industry progress to curb antimicrobial resistance. The BIA is part of the Alliance via the International Council of Biotech Associations (ICBA). In the press release announcing the Alliance, I emphasised that small and medium-sized companies stand ready to be powerful innovators to develop new and pioneering medicines adding to our arsenal of antimicrobial drugs.

On Friday BIA’s Head of Regulatory Affairs Christiane Abouzeid participated in the European Medicines Agency (EMA) meeting with stakeholders to review the experience gained with the PRIority MEdicines (PRIME) scheme, one year after it was launched by the Agency in March 2016 to enhance support for the development of medicines that have the potential to address patients’ unmet needs. The UK has been one of the key drivers of the scheme. The EMA processed 96 eligibility requests as of April 2017 with a success rate of 22% – the majority of products recommended for PRIME are advanced therapies and biological medicines.

Last week was Dementia Awareness Week. Dementia is set to be the 21st century biggest killer, but by working together we can find a cure. For this reason, we named Alzheimer’s Research UK the BIA’s charity of the year. Alzheimer’s Research UK recently launched their new campaign “Running Down Dementia” – where you pledge to run or walk 100km and raise £100 and you, together with thousands of runners like you, can strike a blow in the battle against dementia. Go to their website for more details and to sign up.

This week, I’m looking forward to the BIA’s CEO and Investor Forum on 24-25 May in Oxford. We have a great two-day programme involving thought-leadership and networking with C-level industry peers, investors, and other key stakeholders. It’s your last chance to book.

This coming Wednesday, we will also publish our key annual look at the state of financing in our sector. This year’s document is titled “Building something great: UK’s Global Bioscience Cluster 2016”. The report looks at key statistics of how well bioscience companies are doing in the UK. Keep an eye out for our tweets and the full report will be available on our website – more on this next week.

I’m looking forward to seeing many of you on Wednesday evening.



The UK is leading the way in tackling this global health challenge. The Dementia Discovery Fund was created by the UK Department of Health and Alzheimer’s Research UK, alongside six major global pharmaceutical companies to boost innovation in research and development. Cambridge based Gen2 is its first UK investment.

Innovation is literally the life-blood of our sector and at this year’s CEO Investor Forum, we explore current and future innovations, creating an ecosystem that inspires and supports innovation, and potential barriers in the context of a new international landscape for innovative life sciences.

Our ‘pre-Forum’ roundtable will look at Innovation, diversity and talent in the life sciences – focussing on key issues facing innovative life science companies with regards to people and talent strategies, and the essential role that diversity plays in terms of innovation culture, company performance, and in attracting and retaining the very best talent.

The first panel of the main conference considers Disruption, Innovation and Societal Change – what the future holds for biotechnology companies and the technologies and social imperatives that will change our industry.  Led by PwC and featuring Gerard Brophy (CTO, GE Healthcare), Dmitry Kaminskiy (Founder, Deep Knowledge Ventures), Jackie Hunter (CEO, Benevolent) and Sumit Jamuar (CEO, Global Gene Corps), this promises to be a fascinating insight and discussion.

The Innovation Showcase will feature presentations by a selection of exciting emerging companies in BIA membership including Healx, Gen2 Neuroscience, EnteroBiotix and NewGene – a chance to learn more about some of the new technologies coming to the fore and meet future stars of the sector.

Innovation is also at the forefront of our panel representing the pharma viewpoint.  Hakan Goker (Senior Investment Director, Merck Ventures), Nerida Scott (VP New Ventures and Transactions, J&J Innovations) and Jane Osbourn (VP, MedImmune) will discuss how they are Pushing the innovation agenda forwards, and discuss recent initiatives and deals in the sector.

Sessions on the Future of funding and Trump’s America will address potential barriers in funding gaps and the US administration’s potentially troubling approaches to research and innovative life sciences.

Click here for a full programme and join us 24-25 May at The Belfry, Milton Common, Oxfordshire for two days of thought-leadership and networking with C-level industry peers, investors and other key sector stakeholders.

It’s Dementia Awareness week this week so you can find out what BIA members are doing to tackle the issue on our Celebrating UK Bioscience page and watch our video case study here. Last week, the entire BIA staff  visited our charity of the Year Alzheimer’s Research UK and it was great for both teams to meet each other and to find out how we both work across the different departments.

The General Election campaign continues, and we look forward to sharing our analysis of the main parties manifestos in the coming week, however it has caused some changes to upcoming BIA events. The BIA and MHRA would like to let you know that our joint annual conference Innovation in life sciences in a changing and dynamic environment has been rescheduled and will now take place on Friday 14 July 2017, instead of polling day 8 June. The venue remains the Royal Society of Medicine in central London and we are pleased that the vast majority of our speakers have been able to move to this new date meaning that we will have a excellent agenda for the day. Please accept our sincere apologies for any inconvenience caused through this change of date, which is due to “purdah” restrictions on Government agencies during this period. If you were already registered for the original date, your place for the 14th July is confirmed. If you can no longer attend, cancellations must be made in writing by email to for a refund as soon as possible. Please note that you may send a colleague in your place and this should also be notified in writing. If we do not hear from you we will assume that you are attending and look forward to seeing on 14 July 2017.

Last week, I wrote to Ministers and Permanent Secretaries in the Departments for Health, Exiting the EU and Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to highlight the action needed by government now to protect the UK’s ability to negotiate cooperation on medicines regulation with the EU post Brexit.  Ongoing close cooperation is in the best public health interests of patients both in the UK and the EU given the shared legacy of documentation, analysis and review and the scale and complexity of the technical aspects of medicines regulation.

I hope to be able to update further on all things Brexit and General Election at our next webinar on June 15th. And it will also be a key topic of discussion at our CEO and Investor forum in Oxford next week. It’s the last chance to book for what is set to be a great 24 hours of the latest insight and fantastic networking – looking forward to seeing many of you there.



This animation lays out the progress research is making to defeat dementia, and the challenge that lies ahead. Visit for more.

Two weeks ago, we had a look at who’s running and who’s stepping down in the general election. A lot of things can happen in two weeks in the run-up to an election and today we have a further look at a few candidates of interest of the life sciences sector who we might see in Westminster following the election on June 8.

Harborough – Neil O’Brien

Last week, the Conservatives announced that the Prime Minister’s Industrial Strategy adviser Neil O’Brien has been selected as the Party’s Harborough candidate. After representing the constituency of Harborough for 25 years, Conservative Sir Edward Garnier has announced that he is standing down. Harborough has been a Conservative stronghold since 1950 and in the 2015 election Garnier won a majority by 19,632 votes. Given the Conservative majority, O’Brien is expected to win the seat. He is running against Labour’s Andrew Thomas, Liberal Democrat Zuffar Haq, and UKIP’s Dr Tech Khong.

neil obrien

O’Brien on Twitter.

O’Brien has most recently worked as a Special Adviser on Industrial Strategy and the Northern Powerhouse to the PM. Before joining the Policy Unit at Number 10, he was a Special Adviser to George Osborne in the Treasury. O’Brien has also been director of the think-tanks Policy Exchange and Open Europe. He studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Oxford University.

Oxford East – Anneliese Dodds

Over in Oxford East, South East Member of European Parliament (MEP) Anneliese Dodds is returning from Brussels as Labour’s new candidate for the constituency. She is replacing long-standing Labour candidate Andrew Smith, who is standing down after 30 years of service. Smith and Labour have represented Oxford East since 1987. Inheriting a majority of more than 15,000 votes, it is expected that Dodds will be Oxford East’s next MP. Dodds is running against Conservative Suzanne Bartington, Liberal Democrat Kirsten Johnson, and the Green’s Larry Sanders.

anneliese dodds

Dodds’ website.

Dodds said that if elected she would use her “contacts across Europe to protect trade and scientific links which are so important to the local economy”. Dodds has also submitted written evidence to the House of Commons’ Science and Technology Committee’s inquiry into the implications and opportunities Brexit presents to research and innovation, where she stressed the importance of free movement for academics engaged in science and research, and funding schemes like Horizon 2020 and the European Structural Investment Fund (ESIF). Before joining politics, Dodds worked as a Senior Lecturer in Public Policy at Aston University. Like O’Brien, she studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Oxford University.

Chelmsford – Vicky Ford

Another MEP looking to join domestic politics is Conservative Vicky Ford. Elected MEP for East of England in 2009, she is the Conservatives new candidate for Chelmsford. Ford is replacing Sir Simon Burns, who has represented the constituency since 1987. As with O’Brien and Dodds, Ford is inheriting a majority of some 18,000 votes, making her the favourite to win over Labour’s Chris Vince.

vicky ford

Ford with Chancellor Philip Hammond, pictured on her website.

On her website, Ford explains she supports science and research, “which are key to delivering better medical care and improved lifestyles for all our families”. Following the Brexit referendum, Ford met with pharma companies such as AstraZeneca in Brussels to discuss the importance of UK patients’ participation in cross border clinical trials and ensuring undue delays to regulatory approvals are avoided for advanced medicines or medical devices.

Prior to joining politics, Ford worked in finance for JP Morgan where she raised money for large-scale infrastructure projects. She studied Maths and Economics at the University of Cambridge. Her likely departure from the European Parliament has prompted speculation over whether another Brit will replace her as chair of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee, with some reports saying that many MEPs will not back another British MEP for the post in view of Brexit.

As O’Brien, Dodds, and Ford all have links to our sector, it might very well be worth keeping an eye on their constituencies on election day.

You can click here for a full list of MPs who are running and standing down in other constituencies.

The importance of appropriate funding to early stage life science companies cannot be underestimated and whilst it’s great to see many organisations and BIA members successfully securing the investment they need, the political and economic uncertainty currently prevailing does highlight the challenges of navigating choppy waters….

BIA’s UK CEO and Investor Forum this year considers some of the huge challenges and opportunities that present themselves in the context of a new international landscape for innovative life sciences and we are gathering key investors for their views.

Kate Bingham, Partner at SV Health Investors and BIA Lifetime Achievement Award Winner will join us on 24 May for dinner and fireside chat with Steve Bates, BIA CEO, to discuss her career, her views on the sector and challenges of the current external environment.  Kate will also participate in our panel workshop earlier in the day, led by Consilium and providing key tips and advice to delegates on preparing for those all-important investor pitches.  If you’re looking at your next VC round or preparing for the public markets, make sure you sign up…

At current growth rates, China is forecast to overtake the US to become the world’s largest funder of R&D in 2022.  In our panel, Investment from the East – what are the real opportunities for Biotech? we look at current and future opportunities and discuss the realities of investment from China with seasoned investors and companies who have been there and done it…. John Hodgson from Informa chairs the session with biotech stalwart’s Dr David Chiswell (CEO, Kymab) and Dr Andy Richards, and seasoned China experts Peter Crane (CEO, Rare Pharma), Simon Haworth (Founder, Dynasty Bio) and Rob Scott (China Bluesky).

Closer to home we take a more in-depth look at the Future of Funding for UK Biotech, exploring additional innovative forms of funding and discussing the funding gaps that persist – with session chair David Mardle (Partner, Taylor Wessing), Richard Jones (CFO, Mereo Biopharma), David Pinniger (Fund Manager, Polar Capital) and Phil Walker (Head of Healthcare Corporate Finance, Zeus Capital) – and Alice Wu-Wagner (MD, Strategy Economics and BD, BBB) explains how the British Business Bank is funding innovative companies in the UK.

Click here for a full programme and join us 24-25 May at The Belfry, Milton Common, Oxfordshire for two-days of thought-leadership and networking with C-level industry peers, investors and other key sector stakeholders. 

Today, we have published an updated guide for BIA members on the new Unified Patent Court system due to come into effect across Europe later this year. IP owners should consult their legal advisers now to ensure their IP protection strategies will not be adversely affected by the new system. Thank you to Slaughter and May LLP and the other members of the BIA’s IP Advisory Committee for producing the useful guide.

Also today, the British In Vitro Diagnostics Association (BIVDA) celebrates its 25th Birthday and I would like to congratulate Doris-Ann Williams and the team on the success of the organisation and we look forward to further collaboration with BIVDA during the Brexit process.

Last week, the European Commission and EMA published a notice to make companies aware of the potential implications of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and to consider what they would need to do to keep their products on the market in the EU if the UK fails to reach an agreement with the EU on medicines regulation. The UK Government stated in response to a parliamentary question that it was seeking “continued cooperation in the field of medicine regulation in the best interest of both the UK and the EU”. It’s clear that the coming weeks are going to set the stage for the process and nature of medicines regulation going forward and I will ensure BIA members are kept up to date on what is a fast moving situation.

Ahead of the general election, we have written to the key individuals preparing the party manifestos calling on them to support the life sciences sector in the next Parliament. We have emphasised the need to prioritise the regulation of medicines as the UK leaves the EU, the importance of continued support through Innovate UK, R&D tax credits and the patent box, and the need to address the shortage of scale-up capital for the UK’s innovative growing businesses. We covered the latest news on the General election and Brexit in Fridays webinar and if you missed it you can listen to it here.

This week, EuropaBio invites small and medium sized biotech companies (SMEs) across Europe to apply for the 8th edition of the Most Innovative European Biotech SME Award – a unique annual initiative recognising biotech innovation and its contribution to society. Depending on their field of activity, SMEs can apply in 3 categories: healthcare, agricultural or industrial biotech. Applications must be submitted online at by COB Monday 26 June 2017. Two companies will be shortlisted in each category by a jury or biotech experts, with the winners celebrated during a landmark event for SMEs held in early October. Each winner will also receive a €10,000 cheque and two years free EuropaBio membership.

The next round of BIA Committee meetings launches soon and the secretariat team here at the BIA will be contacting all committee members to let you know the finer details for the meetings. If you’re not on a committee but interested in joining then check out the committee section on the BIA website for the full list of committees and their dates for the year ahead and the member of the BIA team that can help you with any questions.

Could artificial intelligence and smart technology improve every stage of our lives?

Innovate UK looks at how the future of healthcare will affect us from birth including wearable tech and the internet of things to capturing baseline health data we can use to monitor our health as we grow older.

It’s almost two years to the day that the UK’s political parties put their manifestos to the people and asked for their vote. The snap election means that this is about to happen again, with each party expected to publish its manifesto over the coming weeks. Here we take a look back at what was promised in 2015 and what we might expect to see in the coming weeks.

Conservative Party

The short notice of this election means that the parties will not have had much time to prepare their policies as they usually might. The Conservatives also haven’t had time to deliver all their 2015 promises and may be flicking back through old documents for ideas. But Theresa May will also be keen ditch many of her predecessor’s pledges and avoid committing to too much given the uncertainty of Brexit ahead.

Here are the key promises for life sciences in the Conservative’s 2015 Manifesto:

  • “speed up your access to new medicines by implementing the findings of our Innovative Medicines and Medical Technology Review” (now known as the Accelerated Access Review, which the Government has not yet implemented). They said they would increase the use of cost-effective new medicines and technologies, and encourage large-scale trials of innovative technologies and health services.
  • spend at least an additional £8 billion by 2020 over and above inflation to fund and support the NHS’s own action plan for the next five years
  • put the “NHS at the frontier of science” and prioritise funding for dementia research in the NHS
  • continue with the measures in the Science and Innovation Strategy, including investing £1.1 billion in science capital each year, rising with inflation up to 2020/21
  • seek to ensure that the UK continues to support world-leading science, and invests public money in the best possible way through the Nurse Review of the Research Councils
  • work to accelerate the global development and take-up of alternatives to animal testing where appropriate

As Theresa May came to power she said a lot of reassuring words that suggested she would continue to support the life sciences sector. When launching her leadership campaign she said it was “hard to think of an industry of greater strategic importance to Britain than its pharmaceutical industry”. The sector has also been mentioned a number of times in Government strategy documents, including the Industrial Strategy green paper and Brexit white paper, which also included a commitment to “make the UK one of the best places for science and innovation”.

However, the current administration has also presided over the NICE and NHS England decision on changes to how medicines are evaluated and funded, which could damage the progress of the upcoming Industrial Strategy and impact on patient access to medicines post Brexit.


Jeremy Corbyn has replaced Ed Miliband since the last election and ushered in a new approach to policy.

Here are the key promises for life sciences in Labour’s 2015 Manifesto:

  • introduce a new long term funding and policy framework for science and innovation
  • establish a National Infrastructure Commission that will have making the UK the best place in the world to do scientific research as one of its ten goals
  • repeal the Health and Social Care Act 2012 (the Act places a duty on the Secretary of State and the NHS to promote research, it’s not clear what would replace the Act)
  • introduce a tax on properties worth over £2 million to help raise the £2.5 billion a year for an NHS Time to Care Fund
  • strengthen the public interest test to “protect the UK’s science and research base” (this was in response to Pfizer’s attempt to buy AstraZeneca)

Corbyn and the Labour party have not said much to suggest what their approach to the life sciences sector might be. However, during a leadership contest Corbyn used his opponent’s link to the pharmaceutical industry in an attempt to discredit him. Owen Smith worked in communications for Pfizer and Amgen.

Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, has proposed plans to reduce “corporate welfare”, which could impact R&D Tac Credits and the Patent Box, among other critical schemes that support the UK’s innovative industries.

More recently, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, John Ashworth, said that the UK’s strength in the life sciences gives us a “real opportunity to lead the world in new industries such as advanced therapy manufacturing” and said that it must be supported by addressing fiscal, regulatory and skills challenges.

Scottish National Party

The SNP won all but three Scottish seats in the 2015 election, wiping out Labour’s dominance in the region. This time round polls suggest they are defending against the Conservatives. The party is against leaving the EU and is pushing for a second Scottish independence election.

Here are the key promises for life sciences in the SNP’s 2015 Manifesto:

  • use business tax allowances to encourage R&D investment
  • increase in NHS spending across the UK of £24 billion by 2020-21 – £9.5 billion above inflation
  • establish a new Ministerial-led Innovation Forum and support the network of Innovation Centres to ensure effective knowledge and innovation transfer from our academic research base into the wider business community.
  • double research funding across the UK to find a cure for motor-neurone disease

Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats are hoping for a come-back following their near annihilation in 2015. It’s former leader, Nick Clegg, has said that their manifesto would include a commitment to another EU referendum where the party would campaign for remain.

Here are the key promises for life sciences in the Liberal Democrat’s 2015 Manifesto:

  • aim to double innovation and research spending across the economy, supported by greater public funding on a longer timescale and more Catapult centres
  • ring-fence the science budget and ensure that, by 2020, both capital and revenue spending have increased at least in line with inflation
  • invest in research to develop new treatments, double dementia research spend by 2020, and establish a world-leading mental health research fund, investing £50m
  • ensure NHS funding in England will be at least £8 billion higher a year in real terms by 2020
  • require the highest standards of data protection by public service providers, including requiring that where data is used for research purposes it must be anonymised wherever possible, and impose a moratorium on the creation of new government databases without Parliamentary authority
  • support, including through rules on public funding and research, moves towards ensuring all clinical trials are registered, with their methods and summary results reported in public
  • minimise the use of animals in scientific experimentation, including by funding research into alternatives. Remain committed to the three Rs of humane animal research: Replace, Reduce, Refine.


Here are the key promises for life sciences in UKIP’s 2015 Manifesto:

  • invest an extra £130 million a year into researching and treating dementia by 2017
  • support research into GM foods, including research on the benefits and risks involved to the public. Will allow a free vote in Parliament on commercial cultivation
  • tightly regulate animal testing and challenge companies using animals for testing medical treatments on the necessity for this instead of alternatives

Green Party

Here are the key promises for life sciences in the Green Party’s 2015 Manifesto:

  • increase government funding on research from 0.5% to 1% of GDP over ten years, focussing on basic research, particularly environmental issues, and spend less on military research
  • repeal the Health and Social Care Act 2012 and increase the NHS budget by £12 billion a year
  • ban non-medical animal experimentation and government funding of animal experimentation and stop the breeding and use of genetically altered animals
  • ensure research is conducted ethically and prevent patenting of genes and living organisms
  • publish freely the results of all government-funded research