Last week the UK Minister for intellectual property, Baroness Neville-Rolfe, told her European counterparts that the UK will ratify the Unified Patent Court Agreement.

Being able to protect intellectual property is vital for life science companies and is often the key value in emerging bioscience companies. The BIA supported the UK’s involvement in establishing the UPC but the question of whether to ratify following the Brexit vote was always a difficult one to balance with the complexities of what would happen should the UK have to withdraw once it leaves the EU. So while the desire to see rapid entry into force of the new system is understandable, it is now imperative that the Government works swiftly with the other signatories to the Agreement to ensure the UK can remain part of the UPC after it leaves the EU and avoid these complexities arising. If this isn’t achieved, appropriate transitional provisions will be essential to address Unitary Patents covering the UK and ongoing litigation covering the UK.

It’s important to note that with or without the UPC, British companies can continue to protect their IP in UK courts and benefit from our world-class legal services. Ratification of the UPC Agreement doesn’t change UK law but does give British companies the option to protect their IP with one patent across 25 countries. Read the IPO announcement here and the full BIA statement here.

As we enter December, I’m pleased to say that the BIA will be joining the Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE) to support and engage in the excellent work they do. The BIA share CaSE’s ambitions for increased public investment in science and innovation, better education and training, and greater use of evidence in policy making. These issues are essential to ensuring the UK continues to be a world-leader in the life sciences. Read more about the work they do on the website.

On Tuesday the BIA hosted a breakfast forum with N+1 Singer to update investors on the latest biotech public market figures, the Government’s industrial strategy and the BIA’s policy and advocacy activity. It was fantastic to see a number of new faces in the room as the BIA continues to develop new relationships with specialist and non-specialist City investors to raise awareness of our sector.

Last week I was pleased to Chair a BIA roundtable in the House of Lords focusing on access for patients to ultra orphan medicines, in light of the publication of a consultation by NHS England and NICE that seeks to attach a QALY to these medicines. BIA will be submitting a response to the consultation and I would welcome members’ views – please contact Laura.

Many of our BIA advisory committees meet this week for the final round of meetings in 2016. The BIA’s eight advisory committees are crucial mechanisms for highlighting the most relevant issues facing bioscience companies. If you’re interested in getting involved, our third Committee Summit will take place on 24 February 2017 where the eight committees will meet on the same day and provide an update on their activity this year and key issues and focus for 2017. We welcome existing committee members to register their attendance and invite the wider BIA community to attend and join a committee meeting – more details here.

The Department for International Trade are country partners for the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2017 and will be focusing on Life Sciences/Pharmaceuticals this year. The event we were informed last week is in India on 9-12 January (clashing with JP Morgan and Biotech Showcase in San Francisco). The Summit will offer business and networking opportunities with the pharmaceutical companies in India especially Gujarat (considered to be the manufacturing hub for pharmaceuticals in India) and Mumbai. If you’re interested in being part of the delegation, please contact Dr Edna Dsouza, Senior Sector Manager, Healthcare for further information or visit the website. The deadline for registration is 15 December.