George Osborne, Autumn Statement 2013

I am starting this week at the World Innovation Summit for Health where decision-makers and influencers from across the world will convene to discuss practical, lasting and innovative solutions to global healthcare challenges. The speakers include Lord Darzi, Aung San Suu Kyi, Simon Stevens the incoming CEO of the NHS, John Dineen, President and CEO of GE Healthcare, and Boris Johnson. I am looking forward to hearing what they have to say and reporting back to you all, so that the UK bioscience sector can play its role in addressing the challenges identified.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer delivered his Autumn Statement last week and he pressed the case for continued economic vigilance. There were not many headline announcements for the life science sector but we have highlighted some of the interesting points of direct or indirect relevance on our blog, including on science and innovation strategy, retail participation in capital markets, education and the tax framework and funding support. Some of these present an opportunity for BIA representations on behalf of the sector over the next period of time.

I was delighted to be able to attend the HealthTech and Medicine KTN’s annual bioprocessing conference last week. The conference drew 280 delegates ranging from the bursary winning postgraduate students presenting posters to industry veterans. As our recent engagement with the Ministerial Industry Strategy Group’s medicines manufacturing project has shown, this is an area of interest for the government and we will be working hard to deliver on the recommendations of the project. I would like to add my congratulations to those from the KTN to Andy Lyddiatt the recipient of this year’s Peter Dunnill award for his contribution to bioprocessing in the UK.

I also attended the Oxbridge Biotech Roundtable’s debate on whether there is a need to reform university technology transfer offices. There were some interesting points of view from speakers including Herman Hauser. I was struck by the quality of the panel and debate and the obvious frustrations shared across the board at unexploited patents. But, it was equally clear that ideas like incentivising tech transfer officers with siqnificant equity, enabling a market of TTOs for entrepreurial academics to choose from, or limiting a TTO stake to a golden 2 per cent share did not have universal approval. If policy reform here is an area members want us to prioritise I’d welcome your input.

Are you heading to California in early January for JP Morgan Healthcare Conference, Biotech Showcase and associated events? BIA in partnership with Biopartner, UKTI AZ, MedImmune are co-ordinating a range of activities and events before and during that week which will all be covered in our pre-event webinar entitled ‘How to get the best out of JP Morgan Conference, Biotech Showcase and other events planned for that week‘ on Thursday 19 December at 11am. Register via our website.

Finally, I have blogged some further thoughts on the recent PPRS announcement and why the deal matters for biotech companies – even those not directly selling drugs to the NHS. I’d welcome your comments.