Last week kicked off with BIO-Europe Spring and the BIA was in attendance with our United Life Science partners, including BioPartner, MediWales and One Nucleus (pictured above left). It was great to see a number of UK companies out in Stockholm, including several BIA members, presenting, partnering and making the most of the conference, with some interesting views and discussions to be had around the current environment for biotech in the plenary sessions. Thanks to EBD Group for a well organised three days, as always, and to BIA member JnJ Innovation for hosting a fantastic evening reception to close the conference.

Also taking place last week was SynBioBeta London, a key two-day conference on synthetic biology and its applications (pictured above right). Hosted by innovation and knowledge centre SynbiCITE, the conference was vibrant as ever with 600 attendees from the UK and overseas, spanning industry, academia and the investment community. You can look back over tweets from the conference on #SBBUK16. Plenty of BIA members were in attendance and announcements included the official opening of SynbiCITE’s £2m ‘Foundry’ automation lab (see Sky news here), and a strategic partnership that will team Synthace’s Antha language and operating system for biology with Microsoft’s cloud analytics and machine learning. Look out for our summary blog later this week with more detail on the event, the news, and the companies exploring opportunities in this developing sector.

Following an announcement made early last week by the US Treasury Department, unveiling new measures to deter inversion deals (where a US firm merges with a company in a country with a lower tax rate), Pfizer called off its $160bn takeover of Allergan on Wednesday. Had it gone through, the deal would have been the biggest pharma deal in history and the largest example of an inversion deal to hit the US.

The week didn’t end there for Allergan, who revealed another tie up on Thursday with BIA member Heptares Therapeutics. Under the agreement, Allergan will pay $125 million upfront for rights to a portfolio of treatments for neurological disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, Heptares is also eligible to receive R&D and milestone payments, plus royalties. Many congratulations to the Heptares team – a fantastic success and example of the great science being undertaken in the UK bioscience sector. Heptares’ innovative technology was previously featured in our ‘Celebrating UK bioscience’ report last Summer – download it here to find out more.

Some important information to note on the Accelerated Access Review, as it was revealed that the publication of the final report will now be delayed until after the EU Referendum in June. We’ll keep you updated with any developments as we reach the summer months.

In the lead up to 23 June, the BIA remains engaged with the Europe debate and we’ll be submitting a response to the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee inquiry on Business views on the EU Referendum this week. It’s worth noting that the official campaign period starts on Friday.

Also this week, we’ll be out and about at the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst Open Innovation Summit, looking forward to seeing some of you there.

Finally, if you haven’t already, do sign up to this Thursday’s webinar – we’ll be catching up with some of our members on their work in precision medicine and what they hope to achieve for the future, with speakers from Cellular Therapeutics, AstraZeneca and Horizon Discovery. More information here if you’re interested.