Our work on the UK EU Life Science Transition Programme continues to build in the lead up to the meeting with Ministers of the new government on 6 September. Following the culmination of the subject workshops held over the summer, last week I participated in a strategy workshop with the ABPI and BIA Co-Chairs from the subject workshops as well as representatives from other trade associations in the life sciences sector. This meeting brought together the findings of the workshops, identified common themes that have emerged and considered the final output of the work. The first report draft, compiled by PwC, will be made available later today for those who have participated in the process. If you’re a BIA member interested in providing feedback but haven’t as to now participated in the process please email us for a copy. Note that we will need any comments as soon as possible and these must be received by this Thursday 25 August.
Providing further opportunity for members to stay up-to-date on the progress of the Programme, we held another town hall meeting in conjunction with the ABPI on Thursday. The meeting also provided a chance for us to hear your views on the work so far and outline for the draft report. To keep you updated the BIA and ABPI will be holding a further webinar on 2 September, open to members and stakeholders, where we will run through the final report in advance of its delivery on 6 September. Please click here to register. Once registered you will receive a confirmation email containing information on joining the webinar.
The work doesn’t stop there and if you’re interested in finding out more about the activity and discussion that went on in the lead up to the publication, we’ll be covering the topic at a range of BIA events occurring throughout the Autumn, including our Stevenage Breakfast and the UK Bioscience Forum – take a look at our Events page for more details.
All of this work is key to ensuring that the UK remains on track to become third global biotech cluster.
We’ve all been inspired by Team GB’s performance at the Rio Olympics so it’s no surprise to see the read across into Britain’s potential in other areas – like the government’s industrial strategy has been briefed this weekend by government sources.
In a bid to emulate the success of Britain’s cyclists and rowers in Rio, ministers will unveil plans this autumn to turbocharge sectors of the economy where the UK can lead the world. Greg Clark, the business and energy secretary, told The Sunday Times: “By making the most of our strengths, improving our facilities, developing the skills of athletes and coaches alike, we have become a world-beating sporting nation. We have a real opportunity to apply many of the same insights as we bring together a long-term strategy for our industrial and commercial future. Recognising our strengths — from science to the creative industries — and making sure they are nurtured and encouraged.”
From the life science perspective its encouraging to see science spoken of in this context. First, it shows the UK has the positive outlook and the attitude needed to be world beaters – just as the entrepreneurial talent you find in the UK life science sector has. Second, nurturing and encouragement via long term support pays off – which is why successes like the Biomedical Catalyst fund should be renewed. Third, listening to experts who understand their sport (or their sector) is vital to becoming world beaters. I’ll leave it to you to decide if our sector is most like hockey, cycling or rowing (our consensus is that life sciences is definitely a team sport but not one done exclusively sitting down) but I’m certain that we are all inspired by the spirit of Team GB and look forward to harnessing their positive attitude for our own endeavours, and government policy, in the months ahead.
In other news, you may have heard that NICE intends to introduce charges for the Technology Appraisal and Highly Specialised Technologies programmes in 2017. NICE has approached the BIA to ask for our comments on their proposed arrangements by 30 September. For more information, and if you have any comments you’d like to put forward by 23 September then please get in touch.
I’d like to welcome Matthew Spears to his key new role which he starts today as the CEO of the Department for International Trade’s (DIT) Life Sciences Organisation (LSO). Matthew takes over from Dr Mark Treherne and will lead a team of civil servants and sector specialists working together to support the government’s international trade and investment strategy for our sector.
And finally, congratulations to BIA member Ingenza who successfully applied for EU H2020 SME Instrument funding of €50,000 for Phase 1 of its innovative SYNBIOMAN project – a great achievement.
Enjoy the bank holiday – Newscast is back next Tuesday