George Osborne and Sir Paul Nurse at teh Francis Crick Institute topping out ceremony

George Osborne and Sir Paul Nurse at the Francis Crick Institute topping out ceremony

As the Francis Crick Institute held its topping out ceremony last week I was delighted to see that one of the strategic priorities is to develop effective partnerships with industry. This is vital if it is to become the world’s leading centres for biomedical research. I have already had initial discussion on practical ways of developing this “permeability” for bioscience companies with Sir Paul Nurse, the Director of the Francis Crick Institute and look forward to working with them in the coming months.

The Chancellor George Osborne MP press released from the event that the Institute is exactly the kind of long-term investment he will look to prioritise in the coming Spending Round saying: “The spending review is about making choices, and for me science is a personal priority. By bringing together our Nobel-prize winning scientists, our world-class companies and entrepreneurial start-ups, we can drive innovation and create the economic dynamism Britain needs to win in the global race. We are making difficult decisions on things like welfare so that we can invest in areas like science”. I hope he sees the benefit of continuing the Biomedical Catalyst in the same light.

As previewed in my blog last week Dr Julian Huppert MP’s parliamentary debate on science and research in the UK was encouraging. I was delighted to hear Julian’s support for the Biomedical Catalyst, which has been well received in our sector and has leveraged in significant amounts of additional private funding for companies, It shows that the BIA campaign for its continuation is having an effect at Westminster. I was also pleased to hear his positive comments on our Citizens’ Innovation Funds (CIFs) proposal. CIFs are a proposed tax-advantaged investment scheme providing an opportunity to leverage the patriotic potential of the British public to invest in innovative UK companies and provide additional private investment to the new products and technologies of tomorrow.

I am certain that those of you that attended our joint conference with the MHRA found it to be an excellent event. I know we have received a lot of positive feedback and we plan to make the presentations available soon.

Next Thursday we have our Hot Issues Curry Night discussion on R&D tax credits and the Patent Box. Andrew Groves of the HMRC will be joining Colin Hailey a Partner at Confluence Tax and member of our Finance and Tax Advisory Committee, and Jason Rutt, Head of Patents at Rouse to discuss how the patent box is workingg in its early months of operation. As there are bound to be questions on all sides as the new policy comes into place I think this is an excellent opportunity to gain insight into HMRC thinking. For more details and to register visit the BIA website.

At the same time think tank IPPR has published the final report of the Commission on the Future of Higher Education. It argues that R&D tax credits are not sufficiently targeted at those areas where the country needs to raise its research and innovation rate if the economy is to be rebalanced and recommends reducing the R&D Credit for large companies, reducing the ‘Patent Box’ tax break from 20% to 15%, as well as changes to the TSB’s Catapults. I’ll be keen to get the sector’s reaction to their proposals on the night.

It’s just five weeks now to our CEO and Investor Forum. If you are interested in attending please contact Cathrine Smyth.