I started the week at Conservative Party Conference in Manchester where we held another successful event with our Life Science UK partners (the ABPI, ABHI and BIVDA) alongside the AMRC. Discussions at the Conference underlined to me the vulnerability our sector still faces ahead of a tough Spending Review and accordingly we have reached out to CEOs of our corporate members to make the business case directly to the Chancellor and the Business Secretary of the importance of continued support to science and research, particularly to sustain innovation policy funding which supports several measures including the Biomedical Catalyst. Thanks to those of you who have now already written into government. To find out more about how you can help please contact Zoe Freeman at the BIA.
The BIA will be using this Thursday’s UK Bioscience Forum to make this point loud and clear. In addition to policy themed sessions on the Biomedical Catalyst, the impact of Catapults with Ruth McKernan of Innovate UK and Hermann Hauser, the Minister for Life Sciences George Freeman MP will also address the audience. The BIA will also launch its 2015 State of the Nation report with EY at the conference and expect us to be rooting this data firmly into the current political and financing context. It’s not too late to register to join us for a varied and interesting agenda – more info here.
Our UK Bioscience Forum takes place during this year’s European Biotech Week, which kicks off today. Find out what’s going on across Europe on the website, and follow @biotechweek and #biotechweek on Twitter for the latest updates.
In the news, the biggest trade deal in decades – the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) – was agreed on Monday following intense negotiations, in particular around the length of exclusivity protection afforded to biologics. The US has long called for a 12 year protection period as part of the deal, generating long term revenue to ultimately encourage companies to invest in future innovative research. However Australia, New Zealand and several public health groups were in favour of a shorter five year period, allowing the earlier introduction of biosimilars to reduce costs. As the deal was announced it appears the compromise was weighted against the Americans, with negotiators agreeing to a minimum period of five years with the potential for participating countries to extend. As the agreement is still required to be ratified by lawmakers in each country, it will be interesting to see the final result and whether this has any effect on the progression of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the US and EU.
On events, Angels in MedCity, a partnership between Medcity, London Business Angels and Angels 4 Life Sciences, have another company presentation event taking place on 26 November. If you’re an aspiring, angel-appropriate biotech seeking funds, visit the website for more information or get in touch with Patrick O’Brien, MedCity.
Finally, Innovate UK and Research Councils UK are currently conducting a survey on the Gateway to Research portal, which contains details of projects funded by the UK’s seven research councils and by Innovate UK, to identify areas for improvement. The portal allows users to search the database of projects and find details of current research and innovation projects as well as the outcomes of past projects. It aims to be particularly useful for small and medium-sized businesses looking for information, but can also be used by academics and the wider public. You can access the survey here.
Look forward to catching up with many of you at the UK Bioscience Forum on Thursday, and a reminder that the BIA AGM will take place immediately following the forum and prior to the Autumn Reception – do come along if you’re around.