There were a couple of standout news stories from our sector last week.
Member company MedImmune has acquired London-based antibody-drug conjugate company Spirogen for $200m plus up to $240m in milestones. The acquisition is, I believe, the largest UK deal this year.
On Tuesday it was announced that Neil Woodford, one of the most significant fund managers for UK biotech, would be leaving Invesco Perpetual in April next year. My understanding is that the team at Invesco remain committed to a long-term investment approach and are supportive of innovative enterprises. After leaving Invesco, Neil will be establishing a new fund and I hope that he will continue to invest in companies dedicated to the development of early stage technology, and therefore provide an additional source of funds for listed companies.
Co-incidentally, Invesco is one of the main investors in a new £50 million fund established to support spin-out business from the University of Cambridge. The Cambridge Innovation Capital fund plans to invest on a long-term, decade or more horizon unlike conventional venture capital funds, across a number of sectors and at various stages of company development.
In order to help you decide if the UK’s Patent Box will benefit your company this tax year we have published a short, two page document, on key considerations you need to take into account to make your decisions. The document has been prepared by Colin Hailey, of Confluence Tax, with additional expert opinion from our Finance and Tax Advisory Committee.
Last week I had a great visit to Scotland. It was good to visit the BioQuarter in Edinburgh and the Scottish Centre for Regenerative Medicine, and have constructive discussions about our sector north of the border with the Scottish Lifesciences Association. I also met a good crowd in Stevenage on Wednesday evening at an event discussing crowdfunding for our industry.
I also met Chuka Umunna, Shadow Business Secretary, at an Industry Forum event last week. He reiterated that he sees life sciences as a priority sector for the UK economy and for Labour party policy. We will be engaging with them a lot more during the next 18 months in the run up to the election.
Finally, on Tuesday I’m looking forward to a workshop for members on the latest improvements to the Voluntary Harmonisation Procedure, which delivers significant benefits for the conduct of multinational clinical trials in Europe. We expecting 90 people for an impressive pan European event headlined by Dr Hartmut Krafft, who coordinated the revision of the VHP announced earlier this year.