On Tuesday 18 June the Financial Times ran an opinion piece by Shankar Balasubramanian, Wellcome Trust Investigator at the University of Cambridge and a founder of Solexa and Cambridge Epigenetix, explaining why cuts to the science budget in the upcoming spending review would be harmful to the economy.

Almost 50 BIA members signed a letter, below, in response raising the need to ensure that the translation of basic research was also funded.

Sir,
Shankar Balasubramanian is absolutely right that government support for UK science is of continued importance (‘Cutting the UK science budget would be a false economy’, June 18). Public funding into the UK’s world leading medical research base demonstrably supports the development of new products and technologies to address some of the most serious diseases and conditions such as cancer, Alzheimer’s and diabetes.

It is also important for government to back the translation of that basic research and provide companies with the support they need to take these early stage ideas to the next level. The Biomedical Catalyst is one such policy that has accelerated medical research, supported collaboration in life sciences and demonstrably leveraged significant private capital into the UK since its introduction in April 2012.

To date £64 million has been allocated to business-led projects at various stages of development in a wide range of disease areas. The Biomedical Catalyst has had a truly catalytic effect on funding into the sector and has enabled innovative companies to leverage in at least £55 million of private investment.

The Biomedical Catalyst has not only ensured that highly innovative medical research translation continues to take place in the UK but also brought together the Medical Research Council and Technology Strategy Board providing a welcome focus on linking academia together with industry.

The existing funding for the Biomedical Catalyst has now almost all been allocated and it is vital that the Chancellor uses the opportunity of the Spending Review on 26 June to re-fund it and ensure its success continues. Such a move would be widely welcomed by the sector, would maintain the UK’s competitive strengths, be a cost-effective use of public funds and, most importantly, support the translation of the next generation of innovative treatments for patients worldwide.

  • Steve Bates, Chief Executive Officer, BioIndustry Association, London
  • Tim Edwards, Chairman, BioIndustry Association, London and Chairman, Atopix Therapeutics Limited, Abingdon, Oxfordshire
  • Davidson Ateh, Chief Executive Officer, BioMoti, London
  • Dr John Beadle, Chief Executive Officer, PsiOxus Therapeutics Ltd, Abingdon, Oxfordshire
  • Amanda Bettison, Head of Business Operations, Crescendo Biologics, Cambridge
  • Richard Bungay, Chief Executive Officer, Chroma Therapeutics Ltd, Abingdon
  • John Burt, Chief Executive Officer, PolyTherics, London
  • Mark Carnegie-Brown, Chief Executive Officer, Glide Pharma, Abingdon, Oxfordshire
  • Kevin Cox, Chief Executive Officer, Imanova, London
  • Dr Michael J Davies, Chief Medical Officer and Company Director, Blueberry Therapeutics Ltd, Alderley Edge, Cheshire
  • John Dawson, Chief Executive Officer, Oxford BioMedica plc, The Oxford Science Park
  • Clive Dix, Chairman, Touchlight Genetics Ltd, London, Crescendo Biologics Ltd, Cambridge and Conformetrix Ltd, Manchester,
  • Ted Fjallman, Development Director, Prokarium, London
  • David Flanders, Chief Executive Officer, Eagle Genomics Ltd, Cambridge
  • Dr Ian Fotheringham, President, Ingenza Ltd, Roslin, Midlothian
  • Jeremy Haigh, European COO, R&D, Amgen, Uxbridge
  • Robert Hawkins, Professor of Oncology University of Manchester and Cellular Therapeutics Ltd, Manchester
  • David Hipkiss, Chief Executive Officer, Prosonix Limited, Oxford
  • Edward Hodgkin, Partner, Syncona Partners LLP, London
  • Michael Hunt, Chief Executive Officer, ReNeuron, Guildford
  • Harren Jhoti, President, Astex Pharmaceuticals, Cambridge
  • Dr Kevin Johnson, Partner, Index Ventures, London
  • Paul Kemp, Chief Executive Officer, Intercytex Ltd, Manchester
  • Simon Kerry, PhD, MBA, Chief Executive Officer, Karus Therapeutics Ltd, Abingdon, Oxfordshire
  • Dr Gareth King, Chief Executive Officer, Critical Pharmaceuticals, Nottingham
  • Dr Melanie Lee, PhD, CBE, FMedSci, DSc(Hons), Chief Executive Officer, Syntaxin Ltd, Abingdon, Oxfordshire
  • Dr Andrew Lightfoot, Chief Executive Officer, Peptinnovate, Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst
  • Dr Eddy Littler, Chief Executive Officer, Domainex Ltd, Cambridge
  • Louise Makin, Chief Executive Officer, BTG plc, London
  • Dr John March, Chief Executive Officer, BigDNA Ltd, Edinburgh
  • Dr Allan Marchington, Partner, Apposite Capital, London
  • Brendan Martin, General Manager, Genzyme Therapeutics, Oxford
  • Dr Dave Mead, Business Development Director, Novozymes Biopharma UK Ltd, Nottingham
  • Prof Andrew David Miller, King’s College London and Chief Executive Officer and Chief Scientific Officer of GlobalAcorn Ltd, London
  • Dr Andrew Muir, Partner, Rainbow Seed Fund, UK
  • John Nicholson, Chairman and CEO, Genronix Ltd, Manchester
  • Dr Richard Pither, Chief Executive Officer, Cytox Ltd, Harwell, Oxfordshire
  • Dr Mike Romanos, Chief Executive Officer, Crescendo Biologics, Cambridge
  • Stephen Rees, Chief Operating Officer and Board Member, Enkam Pharmaceuticals A/S, UK
  • Michael L Roberts PhD, Chief Executive, Synpromics Ltd, Edinburgh
  • Gregg Sando, Chief Executive, Cell Medica Limited, London
  • Thomas Reese Saylor, Chief Executive Officer, Arecor Limited, Cambridge
  • Dr Andreas Schatzlein, Chief Executive Officer, Nanomerics Ltd, St Albans
  • Carl-Johan Spak, Chief Executive Officer, Prokarium Ltd, Keele
  • Carl Sterritt, Chief Executive Officer, Shield Therapeutics, Newcastle Upon Tyne
  • Patrick Verheyen, Head, Johnson & Johnson, Innovation, London
  • Malcolm Weir, Chief Executive Officer, Heptares Therapeutics Ltd, Welwyn Garden City, Herts
  • Dr Will West, Chief Executive Officer, CellCentric Ltd, Cambridge