Archives for the month of: January, 2017

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It was a busy week for UK biotech last week, with lots of great news from the sector.

The third annual Future of Healthcare Investor Forum got underway on Thursday morning, with Lord Prior opening London Stock Exchange trading with Xavier Rolet, CEO LSEG. It was fantastic to be back at the LSE for a third year, showcasing the vibrant portfolio of life science companies that exist across the UK. LSE figures released on the day showed the UK life science sector continues its growth trajectory (covered in the Telegraph here). Over 115 life science companies are currently listed on the LSE, with a combined market capitalisation nearing £400 billion – up £40 billion since the end of 2015.

The UK-listed healthcare sector continues to be a source of outperformance for investors. Over three years the FTSE Healthcare AIM and FTSE Healthcare All Share Indexes have outperformed the FTSE All Share Index to end 2016 +48% and +16% respectively, compared to +7% for the FTSE All Share Index. Earlier this month the LSE announced that AIM, the market for smaller growth companies, has helped companies from the UK and around the world to raise more than £100 billion. A number of the top performers on AIM are healthcare companies and it’s fantastic to see it underlining its status as the world’s leading growth market.

The UK’s stellar science base was highlighted in a number of presentations throughout the morning event, including the closing keynote from Trafford Clarke, Managing Director, Lilly Research Centre when outlining why Lilly continues to choose the UK as a base for its R&D. This morning, Novo Nordisk’s Executive Vice-President and Chief Science Officer, Mads Thomsen, cited the UK’s academic excellence as a primary reason for the company’s new £115 million investment in a new science research centre in Oxford. A further vote of confidence in our sector and great news for UK science and innovation.

In association with the conference, BIA produced a document highlighting the investment opportunity in UK life sciences – including new figures from EvaluatePharma, which once again demonstrate that the UK has the largest therapeutic pipeline in Europe, developing over 800 product candidates in 2016. You can download the document by clicking on the following hyperlink: The UK Life Science Industry and the Public Markets, 2016/17.

We continued the focus on biotech in the City with our afternoon event, an audience with the authors of Science, the State and the City, Geoffrey Owen and Michael Hopkins. Interviewed by Scrip’s Suki Virji, there was some great discussion around Industrial Strategy and the UK’s performance in biotech over the years. Many thanks to Osbourne Clarke for hosting.

Topping off a busy Thursday, over 700 life science professionals joined us at The Brewery for the 2017 Gala Dinner. A change of venue for this year whilst the whale is installed at the Natural History Museum, we’re keen to hear your feedback if you were there. As always, this was a great evening celebrating the sector, with speeches from Lord Prior, following his opening of the markets in the morning, and also a special thank you to Alzheimer’s Research UK ambassador Shaheen Larrieux who gave a moving speech about her experience with dementia and why the work of the charity is so important.

We were also delighted to announce Kate Bingham as this year’s recipient of the BIA Lifetime Achievement Award. As BIA Chair, Jane Osbourn, highlighted on the evening, Kate has made an enormous contribution to the UK biotech sector during her career; through her work at SV Life Sciences, to her active role in setting up the Dementia Discovery Fund. In addition to all of this, she is leading the way in championing diversity for the sector across the globe. A worthy recipient and many congratulations.

Congratulations are also due to the many BIA members who received funding as part of the Biomedical Catalyst 2016 awards, announced by Innovate UK and the MRC last Wednesday. UK life science company innovation is key to tackling key healthcare challenges we all face. I’m delighted to see so many of our members receive funding as part of this latest competition. The consistent campaigning of the BIA and our members has ensured that this key source of early-stage funding will continue to support the development of new life-changing medical treatments, diagnostics and devices, and underpin economic growth for the future.

The campaign is highlighted in our latest quarterly policy and regulatory affairs update, published last Wednesday. With the EU referendum, a new UK Government, and the US general election, 2016 was busy but never dull for the BIA. This edition provides an update on the BIA’s influencing activity in the final quarter of the year, including continuing work on Brexit and the emerging Industrial Strategy, an action plan to anchor advanced therapy manufacturing in the UK, and a number of Parliamentary events. You can download the report here or read an overview of some of the key topics on the blog. I’d recommend taking a look – it’s a great summary of our efforts representing your views on some of the most important issues for the sector.

We’ve had a great end to January, let’s keep the momentum going.



Find out what happened at the 2016 UK Bioscience Forum and why our members find it such a useful event.

Don’t forget to get this year’s date in your diary – 12 October 2017

Do you have a video you would like the sector to see? Contact us.

q-report-cover-oct-2016-to-jan-2017With the EU referendum, a new UK Government, and the US general election, 2016 has been busy but never dull for the BIA. This edition provides an update on the BIA’s influencing activity in the final quarter of the year, including continuing work on Brexit and the emerging Industrial Strategy, an action plan to anchor advanced therapy manufacturing in the UK, and a number of Parliamentary events. 

Download the report in full here and read on for a summary of some of the key topics covered in this edition. For a snapshot of our activity throughout 2016, check out our year in numbers.

Life Sciences, Brexit, and the Industrial Strategy

In the final quarter of 2016, the BIA continued to work to ensure the bioscience sector is at the heart of Government thinking in the lead-up to the triggering of Article 50 at the end of March. The UK-EU Life Sciences Transition Programme continued with key industry-Government meetings. At the Ministerial meeting on 23 November, a process for developing a new Life Sciences Industrial Strategy was established to complement the groups work on Brexit. The industry component of this work is being led by the Government’s Life Sciences Champion, Sir John Bell, with the BIA, ABPI, and Wellcome Trust, among others, represented on the steering group. The programme of work will involve a number of workshops to produce detailed ideas for consideration by a joint Government-industry board, which includes the BIA.

In November, the BIA published a background discussion document called The place of bioscience in the UK’s Industrial Strategy to begin the conversation with members and policy makers on what our sector needs to continue to grow and succeed.

BIA fiscal wins in the Autumn Statement

With his first Autumn Statement, Chancellor Philip Hammond MP sought to show the UK is “open for business” and remains committed to being a science superpower post-Brexit.

An additional £4.7 billion was committed for research and innovation for this Parliament, which is expected to result in a “substantial increase in grant funding through Innovate UK”. The BIA welcomed this along with two new reviews on patient capital and improving the R&D tax incentive regime, which the BIA called for in its submission and discussed with the new Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Jane Ellison MP, ahead of the Autumn Statement. The BIA has upcoming meetings with the Treasury officials leading the reviews.

The Autumn Statement also confirmed the £100 million refill for the Biomedical Catalyst (BMC). We have produced an infographic showing how the BIA and its members have consistently campaigned since 2013 to keep this proven successful scheme funded to support early-stage bioscience.


Advanced Therapies Manufacturing Action Plan published

Early in 2016 the Medicines Manufacturing Industry Partnership (MMIP), supported by BIA, ABPI and Innovate UK’s Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN), launched a joint industry-Government Taskforce to make the UK the go to destination for international investment in advanced therapies manufacturing. The Sector is expected to grow to be worth between $14-21 billion globally per year by 2025. The Taskforce is co-chaired by Ian McCubbin of GSK and Jo Johnson MP, with Mark Bustard of KTN leading the secretariat, and has representation from industry, academia, Government departments and associated bodies, including funders and regulators.

The resulting Action Plan, which outlines the key actions the UK can take to capture advanced therapies manufacturing investment, was launched to industry at the bioProcessUK conference on 23 November and simultaneously presented to Government at the Ministerial Industrial Strategy Group (MISG).


Download Influencing and shaping our sector: BIA update October 2016 – January 2017 for details on the above topics and more. Including the Accelerated Access Review final report, the Advanced Therapies Manufacturing Action Plan and changes to the evaluation and funding of medicines appraised by NICE.

To learn more about BIA’s policy, public affairs and regulatory affairs work, see our previous quarterly policy updates, our consultation responses, or email Rachael with any questions.


On 12 December, the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Life Sciences held its annual Winter Reception to celebrate the vitality of the UK life sciences sector and showcase some of the innovative technologies produced by British companies.

BIA members GE Healthcare, uMotif and Applikon exhibited alongside Roche, Woundcheck, Boston Scientific and Medtronic.

GE Healthcare gave MPs and other guests the opportunity to tour their advanced therapy manufacturing facilities using a virtual-reality headset. Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee, Iain Wright MP, was particularly impressed (pictured).


Applikon brought along their MiniBio bioreactor, which can be used for a range of processes, including screening studies, media optimisation and cell culture. Applikon exhibited on behalf of the Medicines Manufacturing Industry Partnership, which recently published its Advanced Therapies Manufacturing Plan.


uMotif demonstrated their software that use data to provide new insights for health services and all phases of clinical research, including real-world evidence.


The APPG for Life Sciences, is a cross-party group of MPs and peers founded in 2015 by Kit Malthouse MP to raise awareness of the valuable contribution the life sciences sector provides to the health and wealth of the nation. The BIA supports the APPG in collaboration with ABPI, BIVDA and ABHI.


Guests heard from the APPG’s vice-chair, Jo Churchill MP, the former Life Sciences Minister and now Chair of the Prime Minister’s Policy Board, George Freeman MP, and Michael Cumper from the heart patients’ organisation, the Somerville Foundation.


George Freeman MP told the reception “Our world-leading life science sector – which generates over £60 billion and over 220,000 jobs for the UK economy each year, and provides products which the NHS and UK patients rely on every day – is of critical importance to the country.”

View all photos from the event on our Flickr page.


As expected, earlier today we saw the launch of Government’s Industrial Strategy green paper and consultation – read the press release here and view the consultation page and green paper from the hyperlinks.

It’s great to see life sciences at the heart of the government consultation on Industrial Strategy. They are right to focus on investing in science research and innovation, developing skills, supporting business to start and grow, and cultivating world leading UK sectors like biotech.

The BIA is already engaged in the government’s Industrial Strategy through our work with the life sciences group chaired by Sir John Bell, and creating a sector deal is a real opportunity to achieve the BIA’s vision for the UK to become the third biggest global biotech cluster by 2025.

With the right new policies we may even be more ambitious in 2017 if we have all the elements in place to be world beaters here. The Industrial Strategy should capitalise on the UK’s strong fundamentals that underpin our vision and help attract investment to the UK, stimulate the growth of our domestic industry, deliver effective and efficient healthcare for future generations, seize the opportunity of the UK’s lead in efficient and effective regulation of new technologies and demonstrate that the UK is open for business. We look forward to engaging.

This week we’re gearing up for a busy week with our flagship Gala Dinner on Thursday, following a full day of events in the City. The Future of Healthcare Investor Forum will be taking place at the London Stock Exchange for the third consecutive year, followed by our audience with the authors of Science, the State and the City, a book about the history of Britain’s industrial strategy for biotechnology. At the Gala Dinner, we’ll be announcing this year’s recipient of our Lifetime Achievement Award and raising money for our Charity of the Year, Alzheimer’s Research UK – updates to follow in next week’s blog.

Last week, the BIA’s Manufacturing Advisory Committee (MAC) launched their Skills Networking Tour at Fujifilm in Billingham. The development of managers in the biopharmaceutical and cell and gene therapy industries is an important part of the training landscape to deliver senior leaders of the future. The group of 11 (one representative from each of the participating companies) will attend a series of site tours to offer an overview of the work of other companies in the sector by seeing them in action. Each site visit is preceded by a pre-dinner the night before, to encourage the development of a network of peers.

We were delighted to welcome 10 of the 11 company representatives involved in the tour to the Fujifilm site (pictured) on Wednesday. The group had a detailed tour of two manufacturing facilities and parts of R&D. There were presentations on the site and company as well as the new potent molecule facility, some of the improvements undertaken and a career overview from one of the site leadership team. The participants were positive about the day and pleased to be part of the programme. We look forward to continuing to develop the programme and are pleased with the response from BIA members to be a part of the initiative.

Also on manufacturing, the Medicines Manufacturing Industry Partnership (MMIP), supported by the BIA, ABPI and KTN, would like to invite you to attend its inaugural Medicines Manufacturing in the UK event at AstraZeneca’s manufacturing plant in Macclesfield. The event will bring together representatives from across the medicines manufacturing community to talk about the challenges the sector faces and how to ensure that medicines manufacturing thrives in the future. If you’re interested in attending, click here to register.

On Thursday we were in Westminster for our roundtable on the Accelerated Access Review (AAR) chaired by Mike Farrar, with Lord Prior and representatives from across the Department of Health, the NHS, MHRA, charity and industry. It was a great opportunity to explore some of the content from the Review’s final report, with a lively discussion across the table. We’ll be publishing a report from the discussions in due course.

Last week we published our round-up of JP Morgan week on the blog – you can read it here. The next big international event will be BIO in June, with former UK Prime Minister David Cameron lined up to provide the keynote speech. As an international biotech association, BIA members are entitled to a discount on attendance at the conference. Sign up here to receive your code which should be used when you register for the conference.

A reminder that the Biomedical Catalyst 2017 Round 1 opens today – you can apply here and also register for the briefing event webinar on 6 Feb.

Looking forward to seeing you on Thursday at our City events and the Gala Dinner – don’t forget we’re at The Brewery!



As we gear up to next week’s BIA Gala Dinner, our video today comes from Alzheimer’s Research UK.

Watch the video below to find out more about dementia ahead of the dinner, where we’ll be raising money for the charity through our silent auction.

Do you have a video you would like the sector to see? Contact us.

Only one week to go until this year’s BIA Gala Dinner, where we’ll be raising funds for our Charity of the Year, Alzheimer’s Research UK!

The below infographic outlines one of our biggest global healthcare challenges, dementia, and how UK bioscience is working to tackle it.


Watch our video to find out more about dementia here.

For more information on our ‘Celebrating UK Biocience’ project, visit the website.

Last week the BIA headed to a wet and windy San Francisco for Biotech Showcase. We were joined by members and partner organisations to wave the flag for British biotech on an international stage. Here we take a look at the highlights.

Addressing the threats and opportunities of Brexit

With Trump’s inauguration in less-than a fortnight, Brexit wasn’t top of the agenda at Biotech Showcase. But interest was still high as delegates crowded into the BIA’s panel workshop to hear how the UK bioscience sector is addressing the threats and opportunities of the momentous decision.

Biotech Showcase panel

BIA’s CEO Steve Bates chaired the session, which featured five Brits, including himself, and one American. In his opening remarks, UK Government Minister Lord Prior said he believes Brexit is a “catalytic event” for British innovation and stressed that the government is working hand-in-hand with industry to make the most of it. He highlighted the recently-announced 20% increase in public funding for research and innovation and the government’s underwriting of EU funding up to 2020. Later in the session he said the government would be announcing further support for research collaboration this year.

MedCity Chairman and CEO of Immunocore Eliot Forster continued the up-beat message, noting that his company has seen an increase in job applications from Europeans despite Brexit. He stressed the need for continued access to global talent, including from the EU, which in his opinion the government understands.

Alison Dennis, a Partner at law firm Fieldfisher, didn’t shy away from highlighting the difficulty of extracting the UK from the EU regulatory regime and said that a transition period would be needed to allow companies time to plan and adjust. However, there is great expertise in the UK’s regulatory agencies, such as NICE and the MHRA, she said. Outside the EU, this could allow the UK to respond much quicker to new technologies than our EU counterparts, meaning a much more innovation-friendly system could be developed.

The London Stock Exchange’s Chris Mayo surprised many in the room by pointing out that UK healthcare IPOs outperformed those in the US in both 2015 and 2016, suggesting that the financing environment is strong. He added that a number of specialist fundraising vehicles have also launched recently making the UK a unique market. This paired with the weak pound could attract foreign investors to the UK scene he said.

The only panellist without a “Downton Abbey accent”, as Steve put it, was AstraZeneca’s Steve Twait. However, he praised the talent of the UK science base and said that his company was continuing with its investment in a new Cambridge HQ and research campus because of the great opportunities for collaboration with academia.

As Steve put it at the beginning of the session, the fundamental strengths of UK life sciences remain unchanged following Brexit. And those fundamentals look to get stronger as the Government focusses on supporting the sector and investing in innovation as part of its life sciences strategy.

BIA members in the spotlight

img_0255There was a strong showing from British biotech presenting this year, including 11 BIA members: Abcodia; Abzena; Altimmune; Biosignatures; Cell Medica; hVIVO; Immodulon Therapeutics; Mereo BioPharma; Oxford BioMedica; ReNeuron; and Scancell.

It was great to see the strength of UK science on display. ReNeuron, for example, showcased the UK’s leading position in regenerative medicine with their cell-based therapies for motor disability resulting from stroke and for the blindness-causing disease, retinitis pigmentosa. And Immodulon demonstrated the global interest in UK science in their presentation, which included a project investigating the use of Mycobacterium vaccae to treat post-traumatic stress disorder funded by the US military through DARPA.

Toasting UK bioscience

The highlight of the BIA’s trip to San Francisco was the UK reception, hosted with our partners, to celebrate British bioscience. We were delighted to welcome so many of our members as well as our global colleagues.

The popularity of the event not only showed what a positive and open sector we have in the UK but also the interest in it from the US and international community. Thank you to everyone who attended the evening and made it such an enjoyable and successful event.

The BIA would like to thank our partners for supporting all the above activity in San Francisco: the Department for International Trade, Fieldfisher, London Stock Exchange, London Partners, and MedCity.

Biotech Showcase panel

Biotech Showcase panel

Last week the BIA headed to a wet and windy San Francisco for Biotech Showcase and JP Morgan, joined by members and partner organisations flying the flag of UK life science excellence on the global stage. The week, for a largely US community, was overshadowed by President Elect Trump’s first public utterances on our sector at his press conference on Wednesday. They are worth reading in full:

“I think a lot of industries are going to be coming back (to the USA). We have to get our drug industry coming back. Our drug industry has been disastrous. They’re leaving left and right. They supply our drugs, but they don’t make them here. To a large extent. And the other thing we have to do is create a new bidding procedures for the drug industry because they’re getting away with murder.

Pharma has a lot of lobbies, a lot of lobbyists and a lot of power. And there’s very little bidding on drugs. We’re the largest buyer of drugs in the world, and yet we don’t bid properly. And were going to start bidding and were going to save billions of dollars over a period of time.”

So, as I said in my blog on his victory in November, whilst the market has priced in Hilary Clinton’s defeat (“known unknown’s”) it rested on “unknown unknown’s” with Trump. It now seems as if his intent is to encourage as much of the value in the pharma industry as possible to base itself in the USA via protectionist policies, that may include tax reform, and at the same time, has implied that he wants the US public healthcare system to negotiate drug prices. Additionally Robert F Kennedy Jr. has been asked to lead a new commission on ‘vaccine safety and scientific integrity’ which has been seen by many in the media as a process that will marry vaccine sceptics from both sides of the US political spectrum. Trump tweeted about vaccines in 2014: “Healthy young child goes to doctor, gets pumped with massive shot of many vaccines, doesn’t feel good and changes – AUTISM. Many such cases!”  It remains to be seen whether and how all this can be delivered in the months and years ahead, but it’s an important staging post of intent we need to be aware of.

What is clear is that the new administration is going to be a significant break from the last and will have a material impact on market sentiment, as well as public discourse on science and health throughout 2017. So you’ll see why I’m looking forward to spending some time this week analysing the Presidential Inauguration for sector impact, as well as Theresa May’s much heralded speech on Brexit tomorrow.

Thank you to everyone who came to our events out in San Francisco. It was great to see such a strong showing from the UK from this year. Keep an eye out for our blog tomorrow rounding up the highlights. At the conference itself, we teamed up with the Department for International Trade to hold a packed Brexit panel at the conference, highlighting that the fundamental strengths of UK life sciences remain, and hosted an enjoyable UK biotech networking reception on Monday evening. Given Trump, Brexit wasn’t top of the agenda at Biotech Showcase, but interest was still high as delegates crowded into the BIA’s panel workshop to hear how the UK bioscience sector is addressing the threats and opportunities of the momentous decision.

Lord Prior, who joined us as part of the panel at Biotech Showcase, has now had his responsibilities confirmed following the mini reshuffle I mentioned last week – they include life sciences, industrial strategy and the single market. You can view them now online here.

In other news, I’m delighted to let you know that the latest round of the new Biomedical Catalyst funding is up online, ready to launch next Monday, 23 January. £10 million is available for 1 year Feasibility studies awards (to explore and evaluate the commercial potential of innovative scientific ideas) and 2 year Primer awards (previously Early/Late Stage awards, to conduct a technical evaluation of your idea through to proof of concept in a model system). There will be a briefing event webinar for the competition on 6 February – register to attend here.

It’s extremely satisfying to see the competition launching after years of lobbying efforts by the BIA and our members. You can find out more about the road to refunding the BMC in our infographic here.

On Friday we responded to a NICE and NHS England consultation on changes to the arrangements for evaluating and funding medicines. The proposed changes could stop the flow of new medicines reaching patients with very rare and complex diseases. This follows a recent roundtable held by BIA members to discuss the issues raised by the consultation that was attended by MPs, Peers and patient groups with an interest in medicines for rare diseases.

Rather than unlocking innovation in the NHS and delivering equity and access to all patients the proposed changes in the consultation will delay access to medicines and undermine confidence in the system for both patients and industry. It is vital that the industry collaborates with NICE and NHS England to ensure that ground breaking treatments can be made available to patients quickly and efficiently, wherever they live in the UK. You can read our press release on the submission here or download the consultation response in full here.

BIA also submitted a response to the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee inquiry on closing the STEM skills gap last Friday. Our submission specifically addresses the current skills deficit identified for manufacturing of Advanced Therapies, following in-depth work undertaken as part of the Advanced Therapies Manufacturing Taskforce. Due to its strong research base, the UK is well-placed to secure a world-leading position in the Advanced Therapies manufacturing market, which is expected to grow to be worth between $14-21 billion globally per year by 2025. In order to ensure a sustainable supply of knowledge and skills necessary to fuel the growth of Advanced Therapies manufacturing in the UK, the creation and implementation of an end-to end talent plan for the sector is required. This must support the development of a range of skills from Manufacturing Technicians through to Post-doctoral and Professional levels. You can read our response in full here for more details.

And a final note to draw your attention to a new blog from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) providing expert insight into the latest regulatory thinking and all aspects of medicines regulation. You can follow the MedRegs blog here.



This week’s video showcase comes from BIA member Oxitec.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito is responsible for the spread of Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases. Oxitec’s GE mosquitoes represent a paradigm shift in vector control. Find out how their eco-friendly and non-persisting solution works in this animated short.

Do you have a video you would like the sector to see? Contact us.