BIA breakfast February 2014

It is just over a month until the Chancellor announces the government’s 2014 Budget. Last week we sent our submission to the Treasury. The BIA is calling on government to: introduce Citizen’s Innovation Funds (CIFs), improve UK capital markets as a source of investment for innovative bioscience companies and introduce a centrally funded and reimbursed Earlier Access to Medicines Scheme. My next webinar on 27 March will provide a quick guide to the measures in the Budget that impact on our member companies.

It was great to see so many members at our BIA breakfast last week. Many people talked about the current financing environment and Circassia’s decision to list next month. I was pleased to see another company, Horizon Discovery, announce its intention to list on AIM. Over the last few years the BIA has campaigned, alongside the London Stock Exchange, for investors to be able to include shares of AIM listed companies in their Stocks and Shares ISAs. I am told by the LSE that this change to the rules has improved liquidity for companies on AIM.

Did you see the Financial Times cover feature on Biotech in FT Money this Saturday? It’s good to see more generalist coverage of the opportunities in our sector. The FT also featured biotech on its Money Show podcast last week, which included a great interview with Dan Mahony of Polar Capital (the section on biotech starts at 05.39). I’d welcome your views on how we might best capitalise on this and take further steps.

You may have noticed a new section in our Newscast, and on our blog this week, as we are going to showcase the best videos from our members. The first is a great animation from Bio Nano Consulting about their device that tests water for arsenic – a killer in places like Bangladesh. If you’d like us to share your company’s videos with our community, please drop us the link.

One of the highlights of our events is our regulatory affairs conference. This year our MHRA/BIA Innovation Conference will be held on Thursday 19 June and will give insights into the opportunities and challenges in the regulation of healthcare innovation. The conference will be co-chaired by Dr Ian Hudson, Chief Executive Officer, MHRA, and Alan Morrison, Vice President, International Regulatory Affairs and Safety, Amgen, and Chairman, BIA Regulatory Affairs Advisory Committee, and will be the ideal place to hear the latest thinking from senior experts at MHRA, NICE, European regulatory agencies, industry and research charities. Last year’s event was a sell-out so I would suggest you register early to avoid disappointment.

BIA member company Hays is compiling a life sciences salary survey and are looking for senior and influential people who would be willing to give a short interview so that the content can be included within the survey. Please visit the survey for more information.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Medical Research has launched a competition to find case studies that show the many benefits of investing in medical research – health, social and economic. The group is looking for examples that show how charities are improving care for patients and contributing to the government’s growth agenda and Strategy for UK Life Sciences. The winning case studies will be presented at the group’s Parliamentary Summer Reception to demonstrate to Parliamentarians and policy makers why public, private and charity research funders need their continued support as we head into the 2015 election and the next spending round.

Finally, a couple of weeks ago I mentioned that Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst would be launching a sector mentoring scheme. SBC is holding a launch event for the scheme on the morning of 18 March. The agenda will cover the benefits of mentoring and how the scheme operates for both mentors and mentees. If you are interested in attending the event, becoming a mentor or a mentee, please contact SBC.