PRR_3533_editThis time last week I was on my way to Liverpool for the Annual bioProcessUK Conference, hosted by the BIA for the first year. It was fantastic to see so many people attending – the largest number of delegates ever registered for the conference – with great representation from BIA members.

The UK bioprocessing industry is growing rapidly and it was great to hear about the latest initiatives and developments making us a global leader in this key industry for the 21st century. Discussions over the two days covered topics ranging from the future of bioprocessing and the latest technologies, to updates on the Medicines Manufacturing Industry Partnership (MMIP) and the Centre for Process Innovation’s (CPI) new biologics Factory of the Future. Dr Malcolm Rhodes was this year’s recipient of the Peter Dunnill Award for Outstanding Contribution to UK Bioprocessing and provided an excellent presentation on the recent growth of the industry and impact of new technologies. We also celebrated the next generation of bioprocessing with our poster award, won by Asma Ahmad from UCL/UCB. Tuesday night’s dinner and drinks reception was enjoyed against the spectacular backdrop of Liverpool Cathedral. Overall it was a fantastic couple of days and I’m looking forward to next year’s conference. We’ll be writing up some of the highlights from the two days for those who couldn’t make it – keep an eye on the blog over the next week.

Last week saw a couple of funding announcements relevant to the sector. Vince Cable revealed an additional £40m to support the Industrial Biotechnology Catalyst, and it was great to hear that Neil Woodford plans to launch a new fund for small biotech companies in 2015.

Later this week, the Autumn statement will take place on Wednesday. We’ll be keeping a close eye on the day and will keep you updated with any announcements affecting the sector.

Tomorrow morning we will be holding a parliamentary breakfast discussion together with Genetic Alliance UK on the topic of equal access to Highly Specialised Technologies, medicines for very rare diseases. We’ll let you know the key messages of what hopes to be an interesting discussion between Parliamentarians and representatives from NICE, industry and patient organisations.

We’ve now hit December and Christmas is officially around the corner, which means we’re rapidly closing in on the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference. The JP Morgan conference and its surrounding events in San Francisco each January is the defining kick off moment of the global biotech year. Join me for our webinar this Friday to find out what’s happening at this year’s event, with a focus on what UK travellers and companies need to know.

Our last regular Newscast of the year will be next week. We’ll round up the year with our Christmas special on December 15th and Newscast will resume for normal business on Monday January 12th.