BIA CEO and Investor Forum July 2013

It was an incredibly busy week in the sector last week. Our CEO and Investor Forum in Herfordshire last week brought together ninety senior sector delegates. It was great to have such a lively and active debate on the opportunities and challenges facing the sector, particularly around financing and access to the public markets. Some of these will certainly feed into our upcoming work on a manifesto for the sector.

I was delighted that the Technology Strategy Board announced last week that the Biomedical Catalyst will reopen for applications for early- and late-stage awards on 29 July 2013 at One Nucleus OnHelix event. The news follows our successful campaign to get additional funding for the BMC. I know many of our member companies are waiting for the opportunity to make applications and I encourage them to prepare their applications as I am certain there will be strong demand once again.

Want to reduce cash burn? Accessing the UK’s world leading clinical research infrastructure can enable bioscience companies and their investors to accelerate clinical development. To help companies achieve this we, together with the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Office for Clinical Research Infrastructure (NOCRI), have published a guide for “Navigating England’s clinical research infrastructure: How NOCRI helps simplify access to accelerate discoveries“. I think of them as your “research sat-nav” – enabling you to speedily find your way around the clinical development highways and byways of the NHS. This booklet is a time and cash saver – it will help you speedily access the right expertise and the right facilities at the right time. Do take a look.

Most of our synthetic biology member companies were at the sixth international meeting on Synthetic Biology in London last week where David Willetts, Minister of State for Universities and Science, announced arrange of initiatives to support this emerging sector. The most eye-catching was that Imperial College is to host SynbiCITE – a new £10 million Innovation and Knowledge Centre for synthetic biology. The BIA supported Imperial College’s bid and we look forward to working with them developing this centre of national importance. Most of our synbio member companies also presented at SynbioBeta – the start up company focussed event and there was a real buzz about this emerging group.

Finally, I am hoping that some of you could assist us. Last week Louise Makin, CEO of BIA member BTG, attended the government’s business-led taskforce on EU regulation hosted by Prime Minister David Cameron in Number 10 Downing Street, on behalf of the life science sector. The group is tasked with helping identify where action is most needed to roll back EU red tape with life sciences one of the sectors of focus. We would like to pull together a group of CEOs from small- and medium-sized member companies as a focus group to feed into this process. Please contact Antonis Papasolomontos if you are interested in contributing.

We’ve a busy range of events planned for the second half of the year which I plan to unveil on this Thursday’s webinar – do join me to find out more.