SBC open innovation summit

With the official campaigns chosen, Vote Leave and Stronger In, we are now less than ten weeks away from the date of the EU Referendum.

For a summary of BIA’s work on the referendum and the views of the UK life science industry, we’ve compiled our resources into a handy web page. This includes a helpful new guide, produced by the BIA Communications Advisory Committee, that outlines the key issues for companies to consider when preparing to engage with the EU Referendum debate. The simple flow chart leads you through the thought process for preparing a statement – download it here.

On Friday we completed our submission to the House of Commons BIS Select Committee’s inquiry into business views on EU Referendum – you can read the response in full here, which largely draws on similar arguments from our previous responses on the topic. There has been a huge amount of interest from policymakers on this issue – our most recent submission marking our third written response on the subject, in addition to the two oral evidence sessions earlier this year. This week will see the second evidence session as part of the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee inquiry into the impact of European regulation on UK life sciences, with contributions from Cancer Research UK, the MHRA and Minister George Freeman. We also expect to see the House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee publish its report on EU membership and UK science this week, so lots of movement in the run up to the 23 June.

Also on Europe, the BIA was in attendance at last Thursday’s Science Council debate between the two official lead campaigns for the EU referendum, on the subject ‘UK Science Doesn’t Need the European Union’. You can read some of the best tweets and post-debate reaction on Storify, and a summary of the event on the Science Council blog from BIA’s Policy and Projects Manager, Martin Turner.

Some great news for the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst last week as Sanofi announced the creation of a new partnering office at the site to engage and collaborate with the network of bioscience companies and academia that form part of the UK’s vibrant life sciences ecosystem. The announcement came as the SBC hosted its 4th annual Open Innovation Summit (pictured) where two panels discussed developing and managing collaborations, and the future of healthcare. There were also excellent pitches from existing and future BIA member companies profiling their new treatments and therapies.

Across in the US, Chancellor George Osborne was in Washington to discuss international action to tackle the growing problem of antimicrobial resistance. Noting that reimbursement models for antibiotics and diagnostics are “broken”, he backed a proposal from Jim O’Neill to create market entry rewards – lump sums paid to a company, or set of companies, that successfully get a new antibiotic or diagnostic to market. The Review on AMR, led by Lord O’Neill, is expected to publish its final recommendations next month. You can watch the panel session with the Chancellor on our blog here, where he appears alongside experts including Dr Margaret Chan, Director General of the World Health Organisation, and Larry Summers, the former US Treasury Secretary who is Charles W. Eliot University Professor and President Emeritus, Harvard University; and Chair, Board of Directors, Center for Global Development.

The annual BIO International Convention returns to San Francisco, California on 6-9 June 2016. This year the BIA is working with our United Life Sciences (ULS) partners One Nucleus and BioPartner UK, as well as with UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) to enable UK companies to get the most out of the event. BIA members can benefit from $200 off either Convention Access or Convention Access Plus Partnering. More information is available here, space on the UKTI stand is now available, and don’t forget to sign up to our webinar on 26 May, which will take you through an outline of the main BIO networking events, the UK delegation activities, sessions/keynotes and details on some of the main activities happening throughout the four days so you can plan your time in San Francisco effectively.

I’m looking forward to some great discussions around the upcoming Mayoral elections at our London breakfast this week. Previous London Mayors have accomplished notable achievements in the life science sector, including launching Medcity, a collaboration between the Mayor of London and the universities, businesses and scientists from London. We’ll be discussing some of these past accomplishments and giving some considerations to what the next mayor could bring to the life science sector with our guests Kit Malthouse MP, Sarah Haywood from MedCity, Dr Jonny Ohlson of Touchlight Genetics and Dr Keith Powell, Chairman of Domainex. More info on the event is available here and look out for some highlights from the morning next week.

Finally, the NIHR are running a couple of short surveys – to inform their web presence and ensure that the NIHR CRN meets the needs of the life sciences industry. Both questionnaires are anonymous (unless you choose to leave your email address) and the outputs will be used to support improvement and development of services to further meet your needs. Follow the hyperlinks above to contribute.