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Welcome back following the bank holiday weekend. As we head into September, our summer of hard work and participation in the UK EU Life Sciences Transition Programme will culminate in the presentation of a final report on 6 September to the UK EU Life Sciences Steering Committee, including Lord Prior. In advance of this presentation, BIA and ABPI will be holding a webinar on 2 September (this Friday), open to members and stakeholders, where we will run through the final report. If you would like to attend, please click here to register. Once registered you will receive a confirmation email containing information on joining the webinar.

In other policy news, the Government has issued further information and guidance on how the Apprentice Levy will operate – available here – and are consulting on some aspects of this including Apprentice Training Agencies (ATAs), such as Cogent Skills. Two key points to note regarding ATAs which members may wish to give feedback on are:

  1. The government is proposing that no Apprentice Levy digital funds can be transferred from a company to an ATA until 2018.
  2. From 2018, only up to 10% of a company’s digital fund can be transferred to an ATA. i.e. 90% of the fund will only be able to be spent on apprentices directly employed by the company

The consultation closes on 5 September and can be accessed here if you want to have your say.

Last week it was announced that Chris Molloy has been appointed the first CEO of the Medicines Discovery Catapult. Over the past few years, as CEO of the RSA Group and a valued member of our People Advisory Committee, we’ve worked closely with Chris around progressing the talent agenda in the sector. I’m delighted to hear that he’ll be working as part of the fantastic network of Catapult centres we have here in the UK. Many congratulations to Chris and we’re very much looking forward to working with him in his new role from November.

Also in the news, it was interesting to hear AstraZeneca announce their agreement with Pfizer to sell the development and commercialisation rights to their late-stage small molecule antibiotics business, reinforcing their commitment to focus on three main therapy areas: respiratory, oncology and cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Pfizer has been actively engaged in global discussions on combating anti-microbial resistance, including those led by the UK Government, and is one of over 100 industry partners to sign the Declaration on Combating Anti-Microbial Resistance, announced in January this year at Davos. I was interested in the perspective of Pete Jackson, Chair of the UK’s AMR Centre,who said: “Pfizer’s deal with AstraZeneca presents opportunities for further investment in developing the next generation of antibiotics.  The UK must maintain its leading role in driving forward the global agenda on combating anti-microbial resistance (AMR).  The AMR Centre at Alderley Park – part of the transatlantic CARB-X consortium – is stepping up to take on this fight and calls on Government to accelerate funding for the Centre, alongside the private sector, to maximise the immediate opportunity to deliver a new pipeline of antibiotics.”

Finally, a quick reminder that the Royal Society are inviting research teams to submit proposals for the 2017 Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition. More details here if of interest.