BIA Committee Chairs 2016

You may have noticed us across the media this week (including the Financial Times, BBC News and Bloomberg) as, following the reveal of the date for the EU referendum, we published a letter in Wednesday’s Financial Times co-signed by over 50 UK biotech companies.

The UK’s membership of the EU offers various advantages to the UK life sciences sector. The sector is growing and continually evolving as one of the key high-tech, high-growth sectors that the UK’s economy needs. Our industry is a global one where the UK already punches above its weight.

Continued engagement with, and reform of a more competitive EU offers the UK the opportunity to build on previous success. The established joined-up system for our highly regulated sector across this single market – the largest by volume in the world – benefits patients and citizens. It is also the secure foundation we need to future-proof growth for a 21st century bioeconomy that yields benefits for the UK.

This is an agenda we’ll continue to work on over the coming months, both publically and behind the scenes, in the lead up to 23 June. If you’re interested in adding your voice, please do get in touch.

Elsewhere last week, it was great to catch up with our eight Advisory Committees at our 2nd Annual Committee Summit, reflecting on some of the work they’ve achieved over the past year – contributing to industry reports, developing briefing papers for BIA members on areas such as the Patent Box and the Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court, delivering excellent conference programmes for both bioProcessUK and our joint event with the MHRA (do note that registration for this year’s event is well underway) and inputting to a number of consultations at both a UK and a European level – some fantastic achievements and I look forward to seeing the 2016 priorities progress though this year.

In a somewhat timely fashion, last week also saw the launch of Biodesign for the Bioeconomy: UK Synthetic Biology Strategic Plan 2015 – something the SynBio Advisory Committee and its Chair, Tim Fell, had been providing input to through last year. The report builds on the 2012 UK Roadmap for Synthetic Biology and outlines the next phase of strategic direction for this growing technology area. Find out more and read the report in full here.

In other news, the CHMP adopted the final document on PRIME, a new scheme to support the development of medicines addressing unmet medical needs, as well as revised guidelines on the implementation of accelerated assessment and conditional marketing authorisation. The documents are expected to be published on the EMA website in early March – we’ll keep you updated with any developments.

Finally, on Friday the Access to Medical Treatments (Innovation) Bill had its second reading in the House of Lords. The Bill, now sponsored by  Chris Heaton-Harris MP, has evolved since its original ‘Saatchi Bill’ incarnation in the last parliament, to address concerns around patient protection and medical negligence. It also now includes clauses to establish a national database recording the use and results of innovative and off-label medical treatments. Some concerns remain, for example as voiced by the AMRC about whether primary legislation is indeed required to established the database and whether it may adversely impact on patient enrolment onto clinical trials. We will keep members informed as it progresses to report stage.

Enjoy BioWales this week,

Best

Steve