Trump has defied expectations to be elected the 45th President of the United States of America. To paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld – with Hillary Clinton’s defeat, her policy known unknowns can be discounted. With Donald Trump heading to the White House, we now face unknown unknowns.
With the threat of Clinton’s drug price regulation off the cards, there appears to be a silver lining for biotech stocks. The Republicans have held onto both the Senate and the House of Representatives. As the Party has fiercely fought-off drug price controls in the past, this makes it very unlikely drug prices will see strong regulation. However, commentators are still divided on what the election result means for the industry.
American drug companies have also avoided price regulation in California, where Proposition 61 was defeated in a vote that happened alongside the election. The legislation aimed to cap how much the state can spend on the prescription drugs it buys through programs like Medicaid or insurance plans for state employees. If it passed, it would have been a huge change to how drug pricing operates in the US that could trigger the introduction of similar legislation across the country.
This is not the first political shock of 2016 and, as we have demonstrated since the EU Referendum result earlier this year, the strong fundamentals of our sector in the UK remain unchanged. The American election was never going to change that. Just last week Syncona revealed their part in a new £1 billion listed fund that will be a real boost for UK life sciences in the coming years, and last week saw the official opening of the Francis Crick Institute in London. These are all positive developments for the UK ecosystem that will maintain and strengthen our position as the third global life sciences cluster.
It was fantastic to be part of the Francis Crick Institute’s official opening ceremony last Thursday, attended by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, accompanied by the Duke of York. The Institute is a fantastic new resource for our thriving UK life science sector and already making an impact – recently launched spinout companies Achilles Therapeutics and Gamma Delta Therapeutics are both based on research by Francis Crick Institute scientists. I’m very much looking forward to seeing the Institute continue to grow and evolve within the UK ecosystem over the coming years.
Members of the BIA team were representing the organisation as part of the United Life Sciences stand at BIO Europe last week. It was great to catch up with BIA members and to meet new contacts from across the international biotech landscape. This was an important opportunity to show that the UK is very much open for business and the team worked hard to reassure European colleagues about the association’s activity around Brexit and update on the progress of the UK/EU Life Sciences Steering Group. Alongside the excellent range of company presentations that featured a cross section of BIA members, there were some fascinating sessions on digital medicine, funding, financing, rare diseases and cell and gene therapy. We will providing more detail on the BIA blog this week and you can read more about the conference on the BioEurope website.
Following the next Steering Group meeting on 23 November, we will be holding an update webinar for BIA and ABPI members on the UK EU Life Sciences Transition Programme. This will take place on Friday 25 Nov at 12 noon. To register please click here. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information on joining the webinar.
The BIA is seeking comments on an EU guidance document intended to help biotechnology companies comply with the Nagoya Protocol on access and benefit sharing of biological resources and the associated EU Regulation. As the UK Government intends to transfer all EU legislation into UK law following the completion of Article 50, this guidance will remain relevant to UK companies so it is important that we engage. We are particularly seeking examples of R&D that may be difficult to define as in scope or out of scope of the Regulation when using the draft guidance. Please can you send these to Martin by 18 November.
This week is World Antibiotic Awareness Week – do take a look at the video from our ‘Celebrating UK Bioscience’ campaign, featuring BIA member Redx Pharma and our 2015 Charity of the Year, Antibiotic Research UK, to find out more about how UK bioscience is tackling this global issue.
It’s another busy week this week with the Consilium Strategic Communications, Covington and RBC Capital Markets Annual Healthcare IR Conference tomorrow, during which I’ll be taking part in a panel session around Brexit, as well as Jefferies in London. Looking forward to seeing many of you out and about during the week.