IMG_1607_600300Following last week’s update, the focus on finance and investment in the sector continues with some great news for BIA member Immunocore, who secured £205 million in the biggest private fundraising by a European biotech company. The fundraise marks a significant step for the company, and further emphasises the findings from our report with Evaluate which indicates a current peak in biotech financing and a trend towards fewer, larger financing deals.

Also on financing, last Thursday we held the latest in our series of Investor Ready breakfasts in London – many thanks to Fasken Martineau for hosting. It was fantastic to see so many of you there, including many starting new companies, with some great discussion around the sources of funding available for UK biotech. BIA member Cell Therapy Ltd provided some insight into the challenges of crowdfunding after they hit the headlines earlier in the year, raising almost £700 000 on Crowdcube – a UK record for crowdfunding in the life sciences sector. Our next breakfast will be at Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst in September, do join us.

On policy matters, today marks the launch of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Life Sciences, a newly formed APPG to bring together parliamentarians and industry colleagues with a broad range of stakeholders to discuss the current issues and challenges facing the life sciences sector over the next Parliament. The launch of the APPG provides a timely opportunity to discuss how the UK can become a truly global centre to develop, market and give access to these essential and innovative medicines and technologies that benefit patients and the wider public. On which, further to recent updates on the government’s Accelerated Access Review – a topic for one of the meetings at this year’s BIA Parliament Day last month – the interactive site is now live here. Stakeholders are asked to feed in comments by 4 September to inform the interim report of this independent review. BIA will be developing an input over the summer so please get in touch with any views.

Following our fifth joint annual BIA MHRA conference in June, a report on the event is now available to download here. This is the first time we’ve come together to publish a report from the event, which we hope will provide a great lasting resource for SMEs, increasing awareness of the potential impact that patient engagement could have on regulatory pathways. Further information and materials from June’s conference, including presentation slides, can be found on the event website.

Also on event reports, earlier in the year I participated in a panel discussion as part of the “Eye on Bio” summit, hosted by Sidley Austin, MedCity and King’s College. A round up of the discussions from the day have now been published, debating the opportunities and challenges for biotech growth in the South East – available here.

At this Thursday’s webinar, we’ll be hearing from a number of BIA members on their efforts in tackling antimicrobial resistance. It’s not too late to register and listen to some of the UK companies leading the charge on such an important global issue.

Finally, the Wellcome Trust currently has an open call for future topics for Frontiers meetings – which Wellcome use to inform their thinking and strategic direction. They’re keen to hear ideas on future topics, so do take a look and contribute if you’re able. Further information is available from the Wellcome Trust.

Best

Steve