A fantastic win for the BIA’s work as Chancellor Philip Hammond announced that the Biomedical Catalyst will be extended for four years with £100 million of funding as a central part of his speech to conservative conference in Birmingham today. I want to thank all of you who have contributed to the campaign to refund the biomedical catalyst. The BIA has shown how this successful scheme has already delivered by “crowding in” over £1billion in follow-on funding into UK bioscience. It’s great to see that innovative small and medium size companies in the life sciences sector now have access to really valuable long-term funding to allow them to get projects off the ground, and crucially scale them up to have the potential to fulfill unmet patient needs in a range of conditions. The UK has a globally competitive ecosystem of companies in life sciences – this support will help keep us at the cutting edge. It demonstrates the new government’s commitment to our sector through evidence based policy.
The UK Bioscience Forum is coming up on October 20th and there is a packed agenda that will keep attendees up to date on what’s going on with issues that are key to our industry. It includes an update on the UK EU Life Sciences Transition Programme and a keynote speech from Lord Jim O’Neill to update on the AMR Review. We will also be launching the latest part of the BIA’s Celebrating UK Bioscience campaign, which includes five case studies featuring BIA members alongside charity and patient viewpoints. For the full agenda and to book tickets go to the UK Bioscience Forum website.
The BIA team are at the SynBioBeta conference this week in San Francisco so follow #SBBSF16 for all updates from the conference and we will be updating you on the highlights in next week’s blog.
The international secretariat responsible for the Nagoya Protocol is hosting a webinar on the new ABS Clearing-House – an online platform for researchers and other users to exchange information on access and benefit-sharing of genetic resources and traditional knowledge, in line with the protocol. The webinar will begin at 14:00 GMT on Wednesday 5 October. Participants can register here and submit questions ahead of time via a questionnaire. BIA’s IP Advisory Committee are working with the UK Government and European Commission on the implementation of the protocol and would be very interested to hear any views you have on it. Please contact Martin – firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Nuffield Council on Bioethics published a review of the impact of recent advances in genome editing: Genome editing: an ethical review, and the range of ethical questions this raises. On Thursday 6 October, members of the Council’s Working Group on genome editing and invited speakers will discuss the review and future council work on possible applications of genome editing, including in the human germline.
The 2016 ScaleUp survey is looking for growth companies, SMEs and mid-sized biotech companies to take part – the deadline is this Friday.
Last week I was at the Labour Party Conference, where the BIA hosted a joint roundtable with ABPI, AMRC, and BIVDA – How can we guarantee the UK remains a world leader in life sciences after Brexit? The aim of this meeting was to explore the current strengths of UK life sciences, demonstrate how we are interacting with global partners, and discuss what actions are required to maintain our world-leading position. This was a great event that gave attendees an opportunity to discuss the challenges and opportunities presented by Brexit and allowed policy makers to understand how they can support the UK life sciences sector during and after the Brexit negotiations.
The BIA also launched a directory of mentoring and training schemes available to help UK biotech companies build their next generation of leadership and management talent. Growing the next generation of UK management talent brings together more than 20 mentoring and training opportunities across four categories: business led training and mentoring, educational programmes, competitions and networks and resources. The BIA’s People Advisory Committee assisted in putting together the directory and the wider membership put forward schemes that they have benefitted from.
Finally, I am very sorry to inform members that Richard Archer died suddenly last Sunday. An engineer by training and former PA Consultant, Richard was a stalwart of the UK life science community. As founder and CEO of The Automation Partnership, now TAP Biosystems Ltd, he led the development of the market for major automation systems for sample management and cell culture applications in the life science industry. More recently he worked as an adviser to numerous initiatives in both the public and private sectors including the UK Biobank and UK Biocentre initiatives. Most notably for BIA, he was the first Chairman of the Cell and Gene Therapy Advisory Committee. He is a great loss to our community and the wider life sciences field.
All the best,