It seemed like Westminster woke up last week and immediately rushed to Scotland to campaign for a No vote in this Thursday’s referendum. A Yes vote would have significant impact and the campaign so far has failed to provide any detail on crucial issues on our sector. For instance I can find no detailed plan for how drugs would be licensed or regulated in an independent Scotland, and have raised the question to the MHRA at a recent meeting. This, along with the integrated nature of the UK’s bioscience research community, means the costs of separation would cause significant disruption to member businesses and the research community, so I’ll provide more reflection on this next week once the result is in.
I’ve also enjoyed good meetings with George Freeman, the new Minister for Life Sciences and the Labour front bench ahead of the party conference season. The main three party conferences kick off with Labour this coming weekend, and I’m glad to report that all sides of the house see the continued importance of our sector to the UK economy and are receptive to new ideas.
That’s why I’m delighted that Lord Drayson will be giving the keynote speech at our UK Bioscience Forum on 7 October – he has a unique perspective from both government and industry angles, and it’s shaping up to be a fantastic day. See the full agenda here.
One deadline coming up this week is for the Treasury’s consultation on tax-advantaged venture capital schemes (mainly the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and Seed EIS). The BIA will be submitting our evidence this Thursday.
Finally, the EMA has issued guidance on the Adaptive Licensing pilot in the form of a handy Q&A document following intial experience with the system. I’m glad to see this greater clarity for members who I know follow this agenda closely.