The long awaited Myriad gene patenting decision in the US Supreme Court came out last Thursday and we’ve got BIA expert insight on what this means for BIA member companies here from our Intellectual Property Advisory Committee (IPAC). The impact is likely to be smaller than some of the headlines claim largely because technology has moved on as most claims for isolated DNA will be of the cDNA type which is patentable.
Last week our Head of Regulatory Affairs, Christiane Abouzeid took part in the EuropaBio meeting with Stefano Soro, Head of the Unit ‘Medicinal products: quality, safety and efficacy’ of the European Commission’s Directorate-General Health and Consumers. Christiane, as Chair of EuropaBio’s Clinical Trials Topic Group, led the discussions on the Commission’s proposal for a Clinical Trials Regulation. During the meeting Mr Soro said that the Commission will push to keep the Clinical Trials Regulation close to the original proposal and there was a need to reach common agreement by end of the year. Christiane has prepared a briefing paper to update BIA members on the latest developments regarding the European Parliament’s Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) Committee vote on the proposed Clinical Trials Regulation and the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee’s clinical trials evidence sessions. She has also outlined some of the next steps in our engagement on these issues.
Thank you to all who have made their voices heard in our campaign to ensure the Biomedical Catalyst continues – I know the message is being heard in Whitehall Westminster and it’s helpful to have that message amplified in the media – so I was great to see the Biomedical Catalyst plugged by Matthey Foy, Partner at SR One, when he appeared on CNBC’s Squawk Box last week (pictured).
Last week the Science Ministers and Presidents of the Science Academies in the G8 countries met in London to discuss the role of science in tackling global challenges. The UK government raised the topic of antibiotic resistance and how to address this. The vibrant UK bioscience base is eager to play its part in addressing this global challenge and UK biotech companies, such as Discuva and Cantab Anti-infectives for example, are using Biomedical Catalyst funding to discover and develop new antibiotic classes for Gram-negative bacteria. However, it will be essential to get the incentives right globally for investment in this area. For instance, we need different incentives for biotech companies to develop drugs that will only be used infrequently and sparingly rather than paid for every pill used.
I’ve a busy week ahead with the Biomedical Catalyst and manufacturing on the agenda for our regular meeting with Ministers, a meeting with members with Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls and a day at London Bioscience Innovation Centre from where I’ll be joined for my monthly webinar by guest John Burt CEO of Polytherics – where he’ll give an insight into his plans for what he tells me is London’s largest privately owned biotech.
As part of our continued support for our charity partner, the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, we are holding a charity golf day on 28 June. There are places available for individuals and teams, so please register now to join the fun and support a great charity.
Finally, a number of individuals from our sector were recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. These include BIA member Ruth McKernan, head of Pfizer’s Neusentis business, as well as Neil Woodford, of Invesco Perpetual, Fiona Fox, head of the Science Media Centre, and Professor Michael Stratton, of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. Congratulations to them all.