The news last week that Adaptimmune have raised over $104 million from some of the US’s biggest life science funds shows that the UK is firmly on the map in the engineered T-cell therapy space. This should be a boost for all of us in the ecosystem who know we have the excellence to compete with anywhere in the world, and it’s the point that key sector investor Neil Woodford made in his first broadcast interview on the BBC Today programme on Friday – well worth a listen.
Last week also saw the US administration take administrative moves to tackle so-called tax inversion, which some commentators say now makes future global pharma deals less financially attractive, although I’d be unsurprised to see this new power tested in a court of law first. We’ll keep a watching brief.
Closer to home I’m delighted that we’ve teamed up with others to formalise the Medicines Manufacturing Industry Partnership (MMIP). This partnership, which members of the BIA Manufacturing Advisory Committee in particular have been devoting much time to getting off the ground, will work towards a common goal of creating an attractive and innovation-driven environment to ensure UK competitiveness in medicines manufacturing.
I was at the Labour conference in Manchester last week and chaired an excellent Life Sciences UK breakfast with Shadow Health Minister Jamie Reed MP (pictured above). We’ll publish a round-up at the end of all the conferences on what came out, but from Labour leader Ed Miliband’s speech peroration one section that struck me was “Together we bring up our families. Together we look out for our neighbours. Together we care for our communities. Together we build great businesses, the best in the world. Together we teach the young. Together we heal the sick. Together we care for the old. Together we invent cures for the most terrible of diseases. So, of course, friends, together we can rebuild our country.” This received little coverage but to me it suggests that the life science sector has a key role in Miliband’s vision for the future of Britain.
I’m looking forward to sharing a panel with George Freeman the Minister for Life Sciences at the Conservative Party conference fringe tomorrow – so long as my train from the BIA’s Liverpool breakfast gets me there on time!
Please remember to coordinate with your colleagues to vote in the election for BIA Board members if you haven’t done so already – the deadline is Friday.
I look forward to seeing many of you at our UK Bioscience Forum next week. If you’ve not yet booked now is your last chance, and as I expect us to sell out during this week, do book early to avoid disappointment.