The BIA has made a submission ahead of the upcoming 2014 Budget which will take place on 19 March. In the interest of open and transparent policy-making the government welcomes innovative ideas, which will be considered by HM Treasury. The BIA has taken this opportunity to reflect upon the needs of our member companies and the sector. 

The sector is continuously growing and improving with significant investments made in research and development activities. The UK is renowned for its world leading research base, excelling in translating research. With significant public funding support, it is important to ensure such innovations can be supported towards a commercial market.

The UK remains the strongest bioscience cluster in Europe with 400 product candidates in development in 2012. It also remains the fundraising leader, both in terms of the €363 million capital raised and with 49 financing rounds led by significant public fundraisings as well as venture capital deals.

From the BIA / EY state of the nation report, 'UK - The strongest bioscience cluster in Europe'. Size of bubbles shows number of financings per country. Total capital raised is illustrated by lower edge of the bubble.

From the BIA / EY state of the nation report, ‘UK – The strongest bioscience cluster in Europe’. Size of bubbles shows number of financings per country. Total capital raised is illustrated by lower edge of the bubble.

With this in mind the BIA calls on government to:

  • Introduce Citizen’s Innovation Funds (CIFs). The BIA’s proposal would allow for a much needed alternative source of private growth capital and would enable members of the public to support innovative UK companies. The proposal is based on the successful French FCPI scheme where, for every one Euro spent by the French Exchequer in foregone income tax, five times as much capital has been raised.
  • Improve UK capital markets as a source of investment for innovative bioscience companies. A sustainable and viable route to attract the larger amounts of private capital needed to fund later stage clinical trials would allow innovative bioscience companies to grow independently. The government can help to achieve this by: actively supporting efforts to engage more generalist investors with bioscience and innovation; creating the incentives and framework required for this; increasing analyst coverage of the sector; and examining the JOBS Act in the US, which has helped stimulate public listings.
  • Introduce a centrally funded and reimbursed Earlier Access to Medicines Scheme to enhance the environment for medical research and clinical development, support innovative bioscience companies’ ability to take a product to market and improve patients’ access to innovative medicines.

The BIA welcomes moves which demonstrate the government’s commitment to innovative bioscience companies. For example, the Biomedical Catalyst, which marked the launch of the coalition government’s Strategy for UK Life Sciences, has been an effective biotech initiative, positively impacting the sector. The funding initiative has proven to be a vital asset in helping UK biotechs to see innovative ideas through the proof of concept stage and into clinical development.

We look forward to the announcement on the 19th of March.

If you would like to help us shape our future policy asks for the sector, we are keen to hear your views to feed in to developing our Life Science Manifesto.