With the Rt Hon Sir Jim Paice MP at our roundtable discussion last week

With our UK Bioscience Forum, Autumn Reception and AGM fast approaching on the 10th October I would encourage you, if you haven’t already, to register and make the most of this day. The CPD-certified programme is packed with informative sessions on manufacturing, finance and tax and IP amongst many others together with keynote speeches from Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, and Jim Greenwood, President and CEO, BIO plus speed-partnering, excellent networking and a busy exhibition hall. Please register here if you haven’t already.

It also allows me to remind members of your chance to vote for the BIA’s Board elections. We have a panel of truly excellent candidates up for election and I would strongly recommend you have a look at who is standing and casting your vote accordingly.

Today marks the beginning of European Biotech Week with events and showcases taking place all over Europe. The BIA is doing its part to raise the importance of our sector starting last Friday with a roundtable discussion in Cambridge with Sir James Paice MP (read the blog here). The industry attendees (over 20 in all) allowed for a good discussion on the role of government support with a lot of practical ideas raised. Our activities will continue throughout the week concluding this coming Friday where members of the BIA team will attend a British Heart Foundation shop in Peterborough to say thank you to the generous public and speak to local shoppers about the positive effect their donations have on medical research.

We will also find out this week who wins the EuropaBio Most Innovative European Biotech SME Award 2013. This year two UK companies have been shortlisted for the award – PsiOxus and e-Therapeutics – and it would be great if a UK company is recognised in this European wide event.

On the policy front, last week our Head of Regulatory Affairs Christiane Abouzeid presented at a breakfast briefing on the proposed Clinical Trials Regulation hosted by the BIA and EuropaBio in Brussels. This event provided Permanent Representations to the EU with an opportunity to exchange views and better understand the European life sciences sector’s concerns with regard the current debate on the proposals. This is an important issue and one we continue to actively engage upon. The BIA also submitted comments on the European Medicines Agency’s draft policy on the publication and access to clinical trial data which called for an appropriate process to determine the proper basis for publication and access to clinical trial data.

In the synthetic biology world, I was very pleased to see Synthace complete a £1.3 million financing round led by Sofinnova Partners. The BIA’s new Synthetic Biology Advisory Committee is already active in a wide range of areas to raise the profile of this emerging innovative sector and it is fantastic to see its potential being backed by investors and I congratulate Synthace on their news.

Finally, last week the BIA’s placement student through Cogent (the sector skills council) Hana Janebdar, finished her time with us. Cogent have established the placement service to be easily useable and accessible for companies and organisations in the sector and we were very pleased with the process and all the good work Hana was able to do in her time here. Hana has commented on her reflections of what it was like to go through the process, and if any employers are interested in accessing this placement programme the BIA would be happy to connect you with the Cogent team.