It’s fantastic to see BIA Chair, Dr Jane Osbourn, named in this year’s Fierce Women in Biopharma 2016 – many congratulations to Jane. A great role model for the industry, and for the UK sector in particular. You can read more about it here.

On 23 November, Philip Hammond MP will stand up at the dispatch box to deliver his first Autumn Statement as Chancellor of the Exchequer. In our submission in advance of the Autumn Statement, the BIA presented a range of policies to the Treasury that will support the life sciences sector.

BIA and industry welcomed the Chancellor’s announcement of an additional £100 million for the Biomedical Catalyst, which demonstrated Government’s commitment to the life sciences sector. By adopting our further proposals, the Government can not only send another strong signal to the international life sciences community that it remains committed to this vital sector, but also demonstrate to all global decision makers that the UK is open for business and a primary destination for starting and growing an innovative business.

Our submission called for maintenance and expansion of the R&D Tax Credit scheme, a funded Early Access to Medicines Scheme, a Citizens’ Innovation Fund, an Investor Visa Fund and expansion of the Enterprise Innovation Scheme. For full details download our submission in full here or read our summary blog here to find out more.

Also on innovation, the CBI is undertaking a major piece of research on business innovation activity and the wider innovation landscape in the UK. If you’re interested in contributing, they have designed a very short survey that should be completed before 31 October. Please click here to fill in the survey.

Last Wednesday we held the latest in our series of CEO dinners (pictured), with a discussion around Brexit and the work of the UK EU Life Sciences Transition Programme. Many thanks to Jo Pisani, PwC, for her presentation and stimulating a lively discussion amongst the tables.

Parliamentarians referred to the work of the Transition Programme in a recent Westminster Hall debate on the future of the EMA that’s worth a read, including a positive endorsement from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health, David Mowat MP, who said “over the next few months [the Steering Group] will be responsible for informing our negotiating position”, and “I recommend everyone reads [the report], on the structure and future of the life sciences industry post-Brexit… It is a good start in setting out a number of issues we have heard about today and the importance of getting the process right.”

We were also up in Glasgow last week for the Scottish National Party Conference where all minds were firmly fixed on the future of Scotland’s relationship with the EU and the rest of the UK. Ministers, MPs and MSPs we met were all very interested to hear about our Transition Programme report and to discuss how Scotland’s and the UK’s life sciences sector can be protected during the Brexit negotiations. With party conference season drawing to a close, keep an eye out for our blog of the highlights for the life science sector in the coming weeks.

Last week NHS England and NICE published two documents for consultation. One is a joint document on “Proposals for changes to the arrangements for evaluating and funding drugs and other health technologies appraised through NICE’s technology appraisal and highly specialised technologies programmes” which proposes introducing a new £100,000 QALY limit for highly specialised technologies and the ability for NHS England to seek the phasing in of any new technology that NICE have approved and has a budget impact of greater than £20 million. NHSE has separately published “Commissioning Policies: Funding of Treatment outside of Clinical Policy or Mandated NICE Guidance” which includes proposals around funding after clinical trials. BIA is currently considering the best way to respond to these consultations and is seeking member companies who may potentially want to be involved. Please contact Laura Collister if you are interested in working with BIA on a response.

With the publication of these two documents, and the AAR being possibly imminent, our UK Bioscience Forum this Thursday has a timely appearance from Simon Stevens – a great opportunity to ask him in person about NHSE’s work. If you’re not already due to attend, there are still a few last minute spots available. Unfortunately, on the topic of the Forum, Lord O’Neill is no longer able to speak on Thursday. However AMR will still be covered in depth with a dedicated parallel track of sessions to include speakers from Public Health England, the Review on AMR, the AMR Centre, GSK and Novabiotics – check out the agenda here. A final reminder that the BIA’s AGM is also on Thursday – between the close of the Forum and the evening reception – it’s always good to have strong member engagement in the running of your Association so do please attend if you can.

I’m looking forward to catching up with many of you there. We’ll be tying off the day with a celebration of the Biomedical Catalyst at the Autumn Reception, following the recent announcement that it will be re-filled. I do hope you can join us for what promises to be a great day and evening.