I hope you all enjoyed the bank holiday weekend and are back refreshed and ready for another week.
We had a great couple of days in Cambridge last week with our CEO dinner at Hinxton and the latest BIA breakfast at the Babraham Research Campus. Our guest speaker for the dinner, Dr David Roblin, COO and Director of Translation, Francis Crick Institute updated us on the Crick’s mission to create a world-class discovery institute extremely open to translation. In a little under 24 months they hope to have 1500 staff including 1250 scientists at their new state-of-the-art facility near King Cross Station in London. The BIA will be working closely with David and the Crick team over the next few months and will keep members updated on their progress and news.
The following morning, we headed over to the Babraham Research Campus for the third in our series of investor-ready events in 2015. Kymab’s David Chiswell kicked off the morning discussions, following their recent announcement of a US$90 million fundraise. Jane Dancer, COO F-Star, followed with an interesting presentation on the advantages of the company’s flexible modular structure – creating the two asset-centric vehicles F-star Alpha and F-star Beta. We also heard from Autifony’s Barbara Domayne-Hayman, who discussed the transformational effect of the Biomedical Catalyst for prospering start-up companies. Serial biotech entrepreneur Andy Richards concluded the presentations, providing an overview of the current economic market. It was interesting to hear his thoughts on the shift in the biotech ecosystem, as more start up companies look to scale up, and the challenges of doing so. Some lively discussion brought the morning to a close, with comments around the current need for more bright young talent to move into the small pool of seasoned CEOs – something we recently covered as part of the vision the BIA launched at the end of April.
Many thanks to all who came along to both events – we’ll be writing up the highlights on the BIA blog in the coming weeks, so keep an eye out.
On the topic of bright young talent, congratulations to Heptares Therapeutics’ Dr Steve Andrews, a Principal Scientist in its Medicinal Chemistry group, who has been awarded the prestigious EFMC Prize for a Young Medicinal Chemist in Industry. The prize, awarded annually by The European Federation for Medicinal Chemistry (EFMC), acknowledges and recognises an outstanding young medicinal chemist (<10 years after PhD) working in industry within Europe. A great showcase of UK talent.
Some good news last week as figures published by London & Partners, the Mayor’s promotional company for the capital, showed that a record number of leading international companies are investing in the London life sciences sector. The number of life sciences jobs in London tripled in the 2014-2015 financial year from the previous year, with eight foreign companies creating a total of 101 new jobs in the sector. It’s fantastic to see this international investment enriching the ecosystem both in London and also, more widely, the UK life sciences sector.
If you’re heading to the BIO Convention in a couple of weeks, please do register for our pre-BIO webinar ‘Making the most of your time in Philadelphia’ here. We also have two networking events in June – our Annual Lecture with Sir William Castell, Chairman, Wellcome Trust on 4 June and our Summer networking Reception on the Thames on 25 June – a busy month ahead! Please do join us.
For those who missed it, last Monday BBC One aired the latest Panorama, ‘Antibiotic Apocalypse’ featuring interviews with Dame Sally Davies and Jim O’Neill. You can catch up on iPlayer here.
This week will see the Queen’s speech take place on Wednesday. As always, we’ll be monitoring the content and will endeavour to keep you updated on anything of relevance to the sector. I’ll also provide a top-level summary of the highlights in next week’s Newscast CEO update – which, in a change from our usual schedule, will take place on Tuesday next week.