Edinburgh Lunch

With the Six Nations kicking off at the weekend, I’ve been making a timely trip around the UK – in Scotland at the back end of last week for the Scottish Enterprise Life Science Awards and our Science and Finance Lunch, and in Wales this Thursday for our collaborative event with MediWales at the GE Innovation Village in Cardiff.

We had a wonderful evening at the National Museum of Scotland for the Life Science Dinner and Awards last Thursday. Many congratulations to Aberdeen-based BIA member NovaBiotics, who were awarded Investment of the Year for successfully securing £5 million of equity investment from Woodford Investment Management in 2015.

The investment theme continued the following day with our Science and Finance Lunch at the Edinburgh BioQuarter. As recent figures released at the London Stock Exchange event revealed, the sector is looking busy and standing in good stead despite the somewhat choppy global market. This sentiment was echoed by each of our guest speakers, including Sinclair Dunlop, MD Epidarex, who looked at both sides of the Atlantic, and Synpromic’s Dr David Venables, who outlined the recent success and growth of the synbio company in Scotland. It was interesting to hear Dr Howard Marriage talk about both his role at Sunergos Innovations, a recent University of Edinburgh spin-out looking to become the key commercialisation partner for universities in the north of the UK, and at the Francis Crick Institute down in London. Overall a positive take-home message that the investment environment for UK bioscience, across the length and breadth of the country, is looking healthy.

It was also great to catch up with many of you at the 2nd Annual Biotech and Money Conference last week, and also in Oxford at the new Pulse of British Bioscience event.

Alongside the Six Nations, this weekend also saw the kick off of another competition as OneStart’s London Bootcamp took place. 750 start ups from 53 countries applied to take part in OneStart 2016 – nearly ten times the number of applications received in the inaugural programme of 2012. In a strong showing of our fantastic science base, the UK made up over a third of the applications to OneStart Europe. The two day bootcamps provide intense training for semi-finalists from industry leaders, before each team is assigned industry mentors who will work with them to develop their business plan and investor slide deck over the coming weeks – a fantastic training ground for our next generation of biotech entrepreneurs. With such fierce competition this year, I look forward to seeing details of the finalists released in April.

A final note for this week, of particular interest to those of you involved in animal research. The European Commission Joint Research Centre has launched an online survey to gather information and experiences from individuals and organisations involved in animal research from around Europe on the implementation of the 3 Rs, “Replace, Reduce and Refine”. The survey forms part of the Commission’s response to the European Citizen’s Initiative to repeal the Directive 2010/63EU. It will be open until the 11th March and made public towards the end of 2016. This will hopefully be a useful resource to input to the Commission’s review of the Directive, so please do take the time to respond if you are able.

See you Cardiff on Thursday