George Freeman speaking to BIA members earlier this year

George Freeman speaking to BIA members earlier this year

Last week, following our Board meeting, I was pleased to announce that the BIA will not be increasing its membership fees for 2014. As we approach our 25th anniversary in 2014, I am able to report that the BIA is in a robust financial position and has sufficient reserves to ensure that we will continue to represent members’ interests in the years ahead. Our Board members understand that the business environment continues to be challenging, and as a result of members’ feedback we have chosen not to increase membership fees over the next 12 months.

George Freeman MP has stepped down as the life sciences advisor to the government. George has been a tremendous supporter for our sector over the last couple of years and our engagement with him on our campaign to re-fund the Biomedical Catalyst earlier this year paid dividends. George will be continuing as a life sciences champion alongside Chris Brimsmead and John Bell and we will continue to engage with him in this role.

In funding news last week it was good to see Polar Capital launching a new global biotech fund – the task now is to ensure UK based companies are well represented. We also learned that the Rainbow Seed Fund will be establishing a £10 million seed fund for synthetic biology.

Following a successful week for the UK delegation at AusBiotech 2013, this week Alastair Carrington and I will be supporting the UK delegation to BioEurope in Vienna, led by Biopartner UK. I look forward to seeing many of you there.