Greetings from Munich this week as I attend BIO-Europe 2015. Fantastic to see a number of UK companies out here for the conference, showcasing the strength of our industry.
Back in the UK, the much anticipated Accelerated Access Review (AAR) interim report was published last week. The report recognises that the two fundamental challenges are to ensure the health system is receptive to innovation and to find workable ways to ensure its adoption in order that patients can benefit from innovative treatments. The BIA, in its response to the interim report, focused on the impact we believe would be achieved through a reimbursed Early Access to Medicines Scheme. It is great to see that the report outlines that a radically new approach is required to accelerate the introduction of innovative treatments into the system and that this is one of five core propositions contained in the report. The BIA looks forward to working with its membership, government and the wider stakeholder community in developing this thinking ahead of the final report in April 2016.
Following the launch of the report, the ABPI will be hosting a workshop next Thursday afternoon, 12 November, with the AAR Workstream Champions and Leads. The timing of this workshop is also to provide review and guidance for two research projects that PWC are undertaking to inform the AAR final report and proposals. These research projects are related to the Early Access to Medicines Scheme (EAMS) [this is a review of experience to date, to inform next steps] and the adaptive pathway approach. If you’re interested in attending, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also published last week, HMRC revealed its plan for small business R&D tax relief. This followed the consultation it ran earlier in the year which the BIA responded to. We already knew from the Budget Statement in March that the government were backing the BIA’s call for advanced assurance for SMEs. However it is great to see from this latest plan that Advanced Assurance will officially launch this month, open to first time R&D tax credit claimant companies with a turnover of less than £2m and with fewer than 50 employees. Successful applicants will receive assurance that HMRC will allow their first three years of R&D tax relief claims without further enquiry. The plan also confirms that the R&D tax definition will remain unchanged and not be aligned with the accounting definition; something the BIA advocated for. We’ll be in a position to discuss these new plans directly with Treasury Minister, David Gauke MP, at a visit hosted by the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst next week.
In addition to the above, the BIA advocates for our members across a plethora of issues, engaging with decision makers and influencers in Westminster, Whitehall and across the science, health and business sectors, as well as with regulators in the UK and Europe. Our latest quarterly report, ‘Influencing and shaping our sector: BIA update July – October 2015’, sets out what we’ve been up to in the last few months – covering everything from our activity ahead of this month’s Spending Review, to an update on Patent Box developments, to the current status of the implementation of EU Clinical Trials Regulation. Find out more on the blog, or download the update in full here.
Also on the blog, as we enter November we’ve started the final run up to the 12th Annual bioProcessUK Conference. Our Manufacturing Advisory Committee (MAC) has delivered a stellar programme for you this year, focussing on the theme “Manufacturing tomorrow’s medicines today”. MAC Chair, and Cell Therapy Catapult COO, Dr Stephen Ward, has written us a guest blog covering some of the topics to be discussed at the conference – including the newly launched National Biologics Manufacturing Centre and the forthcoming Cell Therapy Catapult manufacturing centre. Read it here, and if you haven’t yet registered for the conference, you can do so here.
I’ll be finishing off the week at the London Stock Exchange, for the Silicon Valley comes to the UK (SVC2UK) CEO Summit. Looking forward to some discussions around the scale up of businesses, covered in our recently launched State of the Nation 2015 report and as part of our vision for the life sciences sector in 2025.
Looking further ahead for November, it’s a packed calendar with several events taking place. The BIA heads to San Francisco this week, supporting the UK delegation with SynbiCITE and UKTI at this year’s SynBioBeta conference, accompanied by several of our members. Updates to follow when we return, but stay up-to-date on our Twitter and by following the hashtag #SBBSF15.
Next week, I’ll be providing the closing remarks at this year’s BioInfect conference, organised by our United Life Sciences partner, Bionow, and the 3rd Annual European Advanced Therapies Investor Day takes place on the 12 November. If you’re interested in attending the Investor Day, please contact Laura Parsons or submit an online form via the event website.
With lots going on this month, do say hello if you spot us out and about!