It’s good to be back from Philadelphia after a busy and successful week at BIO2015, which drew nearly 16 000 industry leaders from across 69 countries – with the UK accounting for the second largest international delegation. The week provided a great opportunity to meet and strengthen ties with our international counterparts. We kicked off our visit attending the second meeting of the International Council of Biotech Associations and caught up with the Australians and Canadians at our joint reception. Together our three delegations made up 41% of international delegates at this year’s conference – great representation from the Commonwealth. I also managed to squeeze in a quick catch up with Jim Greenwood of BIO. One of the highlights from the week included a fascinating presentation live from the International Space Station, detailing a biotech study being conducted with astronaut and his twin back on earth.
It was great to see so many BIA members out there, including members of the BIA Board. Overall a fantastic week showcasing the best of British bioscience.
Keeping antimicrobial resistance on the global agenda, it was the focus of a BIO Super Session which took place on Wednesday where delegates heard the UK perspective from Chair of the Review on AMR, Jim O’Neill. To coincide with the session, we provided our initial response to the O’Neill review which focuses on his interim report ‘Securing new drugs for future generations: the antibiotics pipeline’, published last month.
While the BIA welcomes the review’s analysis that there needs to be a boost to the development of new antibiotic drugs, in our response we highlight the need to ensure that any new economic model is based on an informed stewardship not restrictive stewardship approach. As detailed in the accompanying paper, we believe that any economic model for securing new drugs for future generations is best delivered through the continuous supply of narrow spectrum antibiotics coupled to rapid diagnostics (to inform treatment) supported by a free market remuneration model. As the paper argues, such a strategy, combined with incentives and reasonable pricing for combination therapy, would allow us to change from empirically-driven antibiotic monotherapy, where resistance spreads like wild fire, to a more diverse and informed approach where protection from resistance is controlled locally. The BIA will continue to engage with the ongoing review and keep members updated on any developments. The accompanying paper, written by David Williams, CEO of BIA member Discuva, and John Wain, Professor of Microbiology, University of East Anglia and CSO of Discuva, is available for download here.
BIO was also the location for the launch of EY’s annual report on the global biotech sector, Beyond Borders: Reaching new heights. As the title suggests, 2014 was a record-breaking year for the industry on anumber of fronts across the globe. In Europe, the UK was named ‘the standout story in 2014 European financing’, leading European innovation capital to its highest ever levels. After a fantastic week showcasing the UK ecosystem at BIO, it’s great to see the figures to back it up. For more detail on the UK sector, we’ll be working with EY later in the year on our usual ‘State of the Nation’ report – keep an eye out.
Now just over two weeks away, this year’s UK CEO and Investor Forum will also be celebrating the current success of UK bioscience. If you haven’t registered, book your place soon. For more info visit the website.
After a short pit stop back in the UK, I’ll be heading to Brussels for EuropaBio’s Benefits of Biotechnology event at the European Parliament tomorrow, where this year’s winners of the Most Innovative European Biotech SME Award will be announced by EU Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Carlos Moedas. Best of luck to BIA member, RedX Pharma.
I’ll be back in London in time for our annual Parliament Day and summer networking on Thursday. I’m looking forward to an evening cruising down the Thames on the Dixie Queen – keep your fingers crossed for good weather! There’ll be a round-up of the highlights from Parliament Day in next week’s update.