PRR_5638_600x300Greetings from Philadelphia this week where I’m attending this year’s BIO convention. Over 400 individuals have travelled across from the UK to showcase our world-leading bioscience, making the UK delegation the second largest international delegation in attendance, and third overall behind the USA and Canada. The UK’s position as a leading global location for biotech is consistently reflected at BIO, having provided the second largest international delegation at the conference eight times over the past nine years. This year’s delegation is no exception and I’m looking forward to a great week, showcasing the strength of our ecosystem.

Whilst the conference officially kicks off today with the welcome reception this evening, we’ve already been getting down to BIO-business attending the second meeting of the International Council of Biotech Associations (ICBA) and the One Nucleus dinner. Lots more to look forward to over the next few days, including the UK/Canadian/Australian reception later tonight. If you’re around during the conference do stop by booth 1127 and say hello. For those of you at home, you can follow all the latest BIO updates on Twitter from @BIA_UK and using the hashtags #UKatBIO and #BIO2015.

Speaking of showcasing our world-class bioscience, many congratulations to Luke Alphey, of BIA member Oxitec, who was named one of Europe’s top inventors by the 2015 European Inventor Award. Luke was nominated in the highly competitive research category in recognition of his pioneering work into the control of mosquitoes, which previously saw him presented with the BBSRC Innovator of the Year Award. Luke gave an excellent presentation on his research at our UK Bioscience Forum last year – you can read our blog on his presentation here.

Congratulations also to those awarded in the Queen’s Birthday Honours over the weekend, including Dr Andy Richards, Chairman of BIA member Abcodia and previous recipient of the BIA Lifetime Achievement Award, for his services to investment in the life sciences industry. Crispin Simon was also noted for his time as CEO of UKTI, and Professor Anne Glover, previous Scientific Adviser to the President of the European Commission, received a Damehood. You can see the full list here.

Last Thursday we paired up with the MHRA to host our joint annual conference for the fifth year, and the first since their merger with NIBSC (the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control). As ever it was a truly collaborative affair and a valuable forum for industry members, regulators and patient representatives to mingle and share updates. It was encouraging to hear from Chair of the MHRA, Professor Sir Michael Rawlins, on the evolving approaches in medicines regulation, including his recognition that alternative trial designs and alternative analyses are likely to be increasingly important. Several commentators noted how important it is that the FDA’s approach must fit with the progressive approach of UK and European regulators in order to truly streamline the regulatory requirements for companies.

Patient advocate speakers Emily Crossley from Duchenne Children’s Trust and Kathy Oliver from the International Brain Tumour Alliance helped to remind us of the reason we work in this industry and the importance of involving patients at every step of the development and regulatory process. It was a delight to be hosted by the Wellcome Trust and to have their Head of Infection and Immunology, Professor Mike Turner, as our keynote speaker. Throughout the afternoon sessions – focusing on the accelerated development and regulatory pathway in response to the Ebola epidemic towards the end of 2014 – collaboration emerged as a key theme. We’ll be producing a report from the event over the coming months, so watch this space for more insights.

Also on BIA events, for those of you who were unable to attend our Annual Lecture a couple of weeks ago, delivered by Bill Castell, the Wellcome Trust have written a great blog on his lecture and our vision which you can read here.

Last week I took part in a panel discussion at Eye on Bio – a great event discussing biotech innovation and investment. Many thanks for having me. If you’re interested, check out the discussion on Twitter using #eyeonbio2015.

Have a great week