Dr Julie Barnes receives WISE award from HRH Princess RoyalIt’s the pre-Christmas rush this week. The bioProcessUK conference, the FT pharma and biotech conference, OBR’s event on tech transfer and the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement are all happening in a week, as well as our Manufacturing, People and Regulatory Affairs advisory committee meetings.

Last week the BIA’s voice was loud in key European debates. First it was great to see our focus on competitive assessment timelines in the Clinical Trials Regulation reflected in the joint EuropaBio-EFPIA-Cancer Research UK-EGAN-ACRO press release issued on 27 November calling on legislators to improve the clinical research environment here.

We were also at the heart of a useful discussion on parallel scientific advice with health-technology assessment (HTA) bodies on evidence-generation in medicine development at the EMA. The workshop brought nearly 300 representatives from the European Commission, European regulators, HTA bodies from 12 European Union countries and EUnetHTA together with industry, payers, patients, healthcare professionals and academics, as well as representatives from EMA Committees and Working Parties. Next year, guidance for EMA-HTA parallel scientific advice will be developed and published for public consultation – to which we will of course respond.

The Ministerial Industry Strategy Group produced some positive outcomes in discussion with Ministers on medicines manufacturing, which I’ll discuss at the bioProcessUK conference tomorrow.

On Thursday we’ll watch for progress on early access, patent box and early stage financing in the Autumn Statement – and provide a briefing for members on what it means soon after.

As we prepare for the New Year, now is a good time to consider taking on a quality intern or student placement in 2014. Engaging early with Cogent’s #BigJanPlan campaign is a great way to raise your profile as an employer and get the right fresh talent into your organisation in line with the academic cycle. You can read about our recent Cogent placement here.

Finally, compare and contrast. Last Wednesday morning 40 men (including me) and one woman met in Whitehall at the Ministerial Industry Strategy Group on the future of our sector. On Thursday around 40 women networked at our Women in Biotech group to discuss how successful leaders handle conflict. We’ll be continuing to run these popular networking events in 2014. So well done to Dr Julie Barnes of Abcodia Ltd for scooping this year’s WISE Enterprise & Innovation Award presented by HRH the Princess Royal (pictured). It is great to see her leadership in our sector being recognised, for the rapid commercial success of the biotech company she founded just three years ago, which will make an enormous difference to so many lives through earlier detection of ovarian and pancreatic cancer.