bpuk Web banner 720 x 215FOM

A welcome ‘back to school’ this week as many of you return following the summer break.

Getting back to business and starting with some great news for the sector today as it was revealed that BIA member, Shield Therapeutics have announced their intention to float on the LSE main market. The Newcastle-based company plan to raise £110m in their IPO next month. An excellent piece of news to kick off the post-summer period.

Many congratulations to BIA Board member Ian Tomlinson, who has become the new Chairman of Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst. With the forthcoming addition of MRC Technology and the new Cell Therapy Catapult Manufacturing Centre, the SBC is entering an exciting phase of development, expanding as a hub for life sciences in the UK – our next BIA breakfast is there on 24 September.

Also on new appointments, it was great to hear Dr Christian K Schneider has been appointed the new director of NIBSC following the announcement of the forthcoming retirement of current Director Dr Stephen Inglis who has led the institute for the past 14 years. This is an excellent appointment from a scientific and international perspective. I look forward to building upon the relationship between BIA and NIBSC established under Dr Stephen Inglis, and wish him well in his retirement.

Last week saw the joint statement from the Wellcome Trust, MRC, AMRC, Academy of Medical Sciences and BBSRC, in support of the continued use of CRISPR-Cas9 and other genome-editing techniques in preclinical research. This continued thought leadership and explanation from within the UK for key technology will help enable a new generation of breakthroughs and ensure that it has ongoing political and public support.

Also in the news, there were further developments on the Early Access to Medicines Scheme as another positive scientific opinion was awarded – this time to Novartis for their heart failure drug, sacubitril/valsartan – and AstraZeneca received a Promising Innovative Medicine (PIM) designation for their non-small cell lung cancer drug, AZD9291.

Looking forward to this week, our Women in Biotech event with BTG’s Melanie Lee takes place on Wednesday and promises to be a great evening with all tickets sold out. Apologies to those of you who were unable to secure a place – we’ll be writing up a blog from the evening in the coming weeks and will keep you updated with any future WIB events. Also on BIA events, next week we’ll be hosting a webinar with GE Healthcare on flexible manufacturing. Do register here to listen and take part next Thursday at 11am.

Finally a quick call for help if you’re able – the MRC, UK Clinical Research Collaboration (UKCRC) and National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) are overhauling the UK Experimental Medicine Resource Finder. The portal was first set up in 2008 to help industry and academia identify infrastructure to support experimental medicine research. At this stage they are mapping potential stakeholders who could provide information for the new tool, or who have resources which could be included. To help, please contact Glen James at MRC.

And for the cycling enthusiasts amongst you, the Tour of Britain kicked off yesterday – great to see BioCity flying the flag for UK bioscience and supporting Stage 6 as race reaches Nottingham on Friday (11 Sept). Do head down if you’re in the area.

Have a great ‘first week’ back!