Last week I had the pleasure of attending our charity of the year JDRF’s event, #Type1Catalyst, at the Terrace Pavilion in Parliament. The event saw 100 JDRF supporters, including young children from across the UK, join over 30 MPs to launch a new report Type 1 Research Today. The report outlines the current landscape of type 1 diabetes research in the UK – revealing that funders have committed funding to tackle the condition amounting to £97m in this country. The event celebrated this and the recent acceleration of ground-breaking research in JDRF’s mission to cure, treat and prevent type 1 diabetes and its complications. It was great to see the Home Secretary Theresa May, event host Jamie Reed MP who lives with type 1 diabetes (as does his young son), as well as my local MP Chuka Umana there.


Our policy and regulation work is one of the key benefits to all BIA members and we have released our latest Quarterly Update, which reviews all of the latest activity that the team has done to represent members both in the UK and on the international stage. Highlights from this issue include:

  • The EU referendum and how BIA has engaged in the debate. With the EU referendum set for 23 June, the BIA has been working to ensure that the voice of the UK life sciences industry is heard loud and clear. For all of the latest information on the EU referendum go to the BIA website.
  • A new Advanced Therapies Manufacturing Taskforce was launched by the Medicines Manufacturing Industry Partnership (MMIP) to secure the future of manufacturing advanced therapies in the UK. The taskforce will be co-chaired by George Freeman MP and Ian McCubbin, GlaxoSmithKline.
  • The new PRIME (PRIority MEdicines) scheme, launched by the European Medicines Agency on 7 March, has got off to a good start with 18 applications as of 21 April. We understand that 60% of the applications were from SMEs, an important target audience of the scheme.
  • While November’s Comprehensive Spending Review may now seem like a distant memory, details are now starting to emerge about some of the spending policy changes it led to. We’ve updated our Spending Review outcomes table to summarise the current state of play.
  • There was also a roundup of our annual Committee Summit took place on 25 February, during which each of BIA’s eight advisory committees held their Q1 meeting and the quarterly report details the specific policy priorities of each committee for the year.

Speaking at BioTrinity 2016 last week, Life Science Minister George Freeman highlighted the need for the NHS to be more integrated into the life sciences – citing progress with Genomics UK and NIB digital agenda initiatives; the key part that precision medicine and manufacturing have to play in delivering modern medicines and keeping value in the UK; and citing the rise of the northern powerhouse as a great opportunity for the industry. We, like him, look forward to the publication of the Accelerated Access review following the referendum. Jim Mellon from Mann Bioinvest followed with an energetic keynote on his ‘Vision for Biotech 2030’ which focussed on enabling technologies, 3D bio-printing, and the population trends that are determining the therapeutic areas of interest going forward.

Next week, the BIA will be hosting An evening with Clive Dix who was this year’s lifetime achievement award winner at the Gala Dinner and he will be being interviewed by his friend and colleague Brenda Reynolds CEO, Calchan, about his career in what I hope will be a relaxed and entertaining evening. Clive has made an outstanding contribution to the sector and this is a great opportunity to celebrate his continuing success as a leader in the industry, as well as a great opportunity for future leaders to pick up some tips. You can register for tickets on the BIA website.

I look forward to seeing many of you at the sold out BIA/MHRA sixth joint regulatory conference on Accelerated Development and Access to Innovative Medicines for Patients that takes place tomorrow at the Royal Society of Medicine. There is a packed agenda with an excellent speaker list and it’s likely that access to medicine and the upcoming EU Referendum will be the hot topics of discussion for the day.