Alderley Park

Alderley Park

When AstraZeneca announced the restructuring of its R&D in the UK a few weeks ago, their decision to close R&D in Alderley Park came as a big shock to the life sciences sector in the North West. I was pleased to see that a bio-incubator will be launched at the site with RedX Pharma planning to recruit over 100 researchers to work there.

The BIA has made the running in advocating for a competitive business environment for bioscience companies in the UK and I am concerned that the benefits of initiatives such as the patent box and R&D tax credits, which can provide considerable benefits to companies in our sector, may get caught up in a debate about how accountancy firms operate. As a sector we need to discuss, agree and set our posture as to how we might best position ourselves so that the hard work we have done is having a beneficial effect on companies and UK competitiveness is not lost through a debate which is to one side of the main issue. I hope that you can join this debate at Hot Issues Curry Night on 20 June.

Another opportunity to discuss the key issues for our sector will be at our BIA CEO and Investor Forum in July. The event will start with a fireside chat with Patrick Verheyen, who leads the J&J Innovation Centre in London, on his perspectives about the future for R&D and the sector over the next decade.

Last week I held my monthly CEO webinar, which you can now view on our blog. I discussed some key current issues for the BIA and our members including clinical trials transparency and the European court cases, the Patent Box, the Queen’s speech, early access to medicines, the Biomedical Catalyst and upcoming BIA events.

This week we are holding our first meeting for our recently established synthetic biology group. At the meeting we aim to flesh out what we can best achieve for this developing part of our sector and what our priorities should be.

Also, I will be attending the “Investing in medical research for the UK’s future” breakfast at the House of Commons to hear Sir Paul Nurse, Dr Harpal Kumar, Chief Executive of Cancer Research UK, and Professor Patrick Vallance from GlaxoSmithKline, discuss how government investment in life sciences research benefits people in the UK and the economy.