The BIA has eight established advisory committees who deal with a range of topics, from regenerative medicine to finance and tax. Meeting once a quarter, the committees are crucial mechanisms to highlight and explore key issues facing bioscience companies. Committee members include influential experts from across the sector. Their work informs and guides BIA policy and priorities, ensuring that member needs are met. 

Over the next few weeks we will be providing an update on what some of the committees have been up to, beginning today with a focus on the Manufacturing Advisory Committee and the People Advisory Committee.

Manufacturing Advisory Committee

The Manufacturing Advisory Committee (MAC)’s membership has increased this year and currently spans 24 organisations covering a diverse range of areas, including monoclonal antibodies, vaccines, biosimilars and ATMPS. The companies range from large international healthcare/pharma, SMEs, micro, CMOs, solution providers, Catapults and universities – all of which bring a cohesive view on industrial manufacture to the committee. MAC define their key performance indicators to cover four main aspects: influencing policy, connecting with the sector, advising stakeholders and providing practical support to members.

Influencing and connecting

In the last year, MAC lobbied to raise the importance of biopharma and ATMP (Advanced Therapeutic Medicinal Products) manufacturing to  the Ministerial Industry Strategy Group (MISG) and have been heavily engaged with subsequent output through the industry-led Medicines Manufacturing Industry Partnership (MMIP). MAC members have chaired three sub-groups of the MMIP, and the £55 million Large Scale Cell Therapy Manufacturing Facility was one of the early recommendations supported by MMIP and MAC. The committee has widely promoted the importance of manufacturing in the UK, including at the BIA’s UK Bioscience Forum and several KTN events, and has a high membership presence at the Annual BioProcess UK conference.

Advice and practical support

In terms of advising stakeholders, MAC are a member of the MHRA’s GMP/GDP consultative committee which meets every six months. The committee has also provided comments via the BIA for consultations on GMP guidelines, and have provided manufacturing information to UKTI, the Foreign Commonwealth Office and the British Council. A Quality by Design web-toolkit is currently being reviewed and refreshed and MAC are considering where further tools may be useful to address manufacturing challenges.

The central plank of MAC’s activity over the forthcoming year will be delivery on the MMIP recommendations that have been recently accepted by the MISG. This is a prime opportunity for MAC to determine and deliver a more supportive bio-manufacturing landscape for the UK.

People Advisory Committee

The BIA’s People Advisory Committee (PAC) comprises HR professionals from member companies and provides a forum for sharing best practice and information exchange, as well as informing BIA policy with regard to issues surrounding the employment and training of those working in the life sciences sector. PAC meetings comprise a closed session for corporate members to discuss personnel issues, which is followed by an open session for all BIA members with speakers addressing more general issues around employment law, immigration and industry salaries.

This year, PAC has focused on discussing and providing support on legislative changes including providing practical advice on pension auto-enrolment, recruitment and selection, designing remuneration and benefits programmes and lowering staff turnover. Guest speakers have included presentations on releasing creativity, organisation design, and employment law.

The Committee is now turning its focus to exploring possibilities for greater involvement in appropriate areas of BIA policy work, reaching out to smaller BIA members in the spirit of sharing information, and considering how to develop effective mechanisms for benchmarking HR policies and practices to the benefit of the wider membership.