Biomedical Catalyst update

Update on the campaign to re-fill the Biomedical Catalyst: Thank you to all of you who have contributed your voice to the campaign to ensure the continuation of the Biomedical Catalyst. Ahead of Wednesday’s spending review we’re updating members on progress on the campaign so far. I was delighted that the government’s life sciences adviser, George Freeman MP, asked for copies of our letters ahead to use in his discussions with the Chancellor. Wednesday’s Spending Review is an important moment and will provide commentary in light of the chancellor’s announcement this week.

PPRS consulation and VBP: Last week the Department of Health published for consultation on a statutory Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme (PPRS) scheme proposing significant cuts to drug prices and new directions to NICE that it will in future apply a broader definition of value in its appraisals of new medicines. This is a significant development as the ABPI continues to negotiate a new voluntary scheme for the industry. The BIA will respond to the consultation before the deadline of 31 July and I’ll be seeking members views. With medicine prices in the UK already amongst the lowest in Europe, and the proportion of the NHS budget spent on new medicines is set to fall, not rise, in real terms over the coming years, ensuring the UK remains an attractive ecosystem in which to research, develop, manufacture and commercialise innovative medicines is in the interests of not only BIA members but UK patients and the UK economy. The ABPI are hosting an update on this on Tuesday to participate in the call you will need to register by clicking here.

Manufacturing discussed at Ministerial Industry Strategy group: Last week I attended the bi-yearly Ministerial Industry Strategy Group. Ministers agreed to industry’s call to create a small, focussed short-life working group tasked with the development of a plan to support and develop pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical and cell therapy manufacturing in the UK. The working group will report back to ministers in November 2013. The BIA will be leading the secretariat for this group and if you are interested in being part of it please contact Rob Winder.

Our programme of high level meetings with senior parliamentarians continued last week as several members outlined the concerns of the sector to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls MP and his shadow Treasury team. We had a good informed discussion on the Biomedical Catalyst, the benefits of R&D tax credit changes and the importance of uptake. It was good to engage as the team develop their policies ahead of manifesto process for the next election.

I’d like to thank London Bioscience Innovation Centre (LBIC) for allowing us to visit them on Thursday and for a lively and informal lunch where surprise guest Andy Richards dropped in. My monthly webinar recorded there with John Burt the CEO of Polytherics is available here.

I am delighted we have secured Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, and Jim Greenwood, President and CEO of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), as the keynote speakers for our UK Bioscience Forum on 10 October. Our one day conference is the place to be for bioscience companies doing business in the UK this autumn and attendees can benefit from our early-bird delegate rates by registering before 19 July.

This week it’s CF Week with our supported charity for the year, the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. You can support them by donating here and here’s my blog about why we chose to support them.