Last week the BIA made it’s first public comment on the government’s proposals for a new statutory pricing scheme. As it stands, the government’s proposed pricing regime for branded medicines in the UK will put at risk future investment in the UK biotech base. The government’s pricing consultation is an opportunity of vital significant importance to the UK life science sector, which will set the attractiveness of the UK as a location for ongoing medical research and development and ultimately patient access to new treatments.

In our formal submission on the statutory pricing scheme consultation, the BIA makes four key observations:

  • A poor reimbursement framework undermines efforts in basic and translational research and development.
  • The government’s proposal is at odds with the positive actions and interventions taken forward under its Strategy for UK Life Sciences.
  • The proposals risk the UK ceasing to be an attractive global launch market for new treatments.
  • The life sciences sector is an ecosystem – where investment in research and development is linked to potential for reward for the resulting innovation.

On a different note, Vince Cable’s announcement that the Technology Strategy Board will establish a new Diagnostics for Stratified Medicine Catapult in 2015/16 is welcome. This new Catapult will help identify and provide the right care for individual patients, allowing businesses to develop new treatments and reducing the cost of healthcare. I encourage the sector to engage in the development of this new Catapult, which will complement the work of the Cell Therapy Catapult and the National Biologics Manufacturing Centre. The BIA is excited to play a full role in ensuring the Catapult succeeds in enabling UK life science businesses to deliver jobs and growth.

There is now more financial assistance than ever before available to eligible organisations who wish to join international trade missions to biotech events this autumn. As a Government Accredited Trade Organisation thwe are working closely with BioPartner UK and UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) to offer members the opportunity to join supported UK delegations to major biotech conferences around the globe. Upcoming discounted missions this September to November include to ‘BioPartnering Latin America 2013’ (Rio de Janeiro), ‘BioPharm America 2013’ and ‘Redefining Early Stage Investment’ (both in Boston), ‘AusBioTech 2013’ (Brisbane), ‘BIO-Europe 2013’ (Vienna), ‘SynBio Beta 2013’ (San Francisco) and ‘2013 BIO Convention in China’ (Beijing).

There were some interesting articles in the media on the sector last week. Andrew Jack’s Financial Times piece looking at the pharma sector’s refocusing on research notes a trend towards more personalised treatments. Matthew Herper at Forbes has looked at the costs of bringing drugs to market and his headline figure of $5 billion is staggering and unsustainable. Nuala Moran at BioWorld has examined the grants available to biotech companies in Europe and highlights the success of the Biomedical Catalyst.

Starting with this issue, we are now highlighting the policy and regulatory news updates through our blog. We think this is easier to view and will reach a wider audience than we have before.

Finally, there is just a week left until nominations for our Board close. Please contact Rowena Gardner for further information.