Happy New Year and many thanks to all of you who have congratulated me on my OBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list.   It’s humbling and a privilege to be recognised. The New Year Honours list included a number of people in the life sciences sector. Professor Shankar Balasubramanian, Herchel Smith Professor of Medicinal Chemistry, University of Cambridge and scientific founder of Solexa and Cambridge Epigenetix, and Dr James Smith, lately, Director of Research, Francis Crick Institute, received Knighthoods. Professor Amanda Fisher, Director, Medical Research Council Clinical Sciences Centre, Imperial College London, has become a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire. Michael Pragnell, Chairman, Cancer Research UK has become a Commander of the Order of the British Empire and Dr Hakim Yadi, chief executive of the Northern Health Science Alliance, has become an Officer of the Order of the British Empire along with Cyril Chantler, UCL Partners, Stephen Inglis of NIBSC and Peter Weissberg, formerly with the British Heart Foundation.  Geneticist Prof Sir Alec Jeffreys was also appointed to the very select group of outstanding achievers who hold the title Companion of Honour.

The Sector leaps back into action next week as many of you will be joining me in at one of the life science industry’s largest conferences of the year, JP Morgan, which brings together thousands of investors and executives from around the world to San Francisco where companies present their latest innovations hoping to find their next partner or investor.  The conference takes place 9-13 January 2017 at the Westin St Francis Hotel, 335 Powell Street.

To prepare you on British interest during the week as usual, BIA will be running a webinar –this  Thursday 5 January, 11-11.45am – providing the latest information on who is attending, what is going on, and how to make the most out of your time in San Francisco during one of the busiest Biotech weeks in the calendar.  Sign up to the webinar by registering on this page.

Biotech Showcase takes place alongside JP Morgan at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square 9-11 January 2017. I will be chairing a panel discussion on the real threats and opportunities of Brexit on Monday 9 January from 11-12pm at the conference.  Panellists will include Lord Prior (UK Department of Health), Eliot Forster (MedCity), Chris Mayo (LSE Group) and Alison Dennis (Fieldfisher LLP).  For further details on Biotech Showcase and the panel, visit the website.

BIA and co-sponsors (MedCity, DIT, LSE, Fieldfisher LLP, London & Partners) will be hosting a UK networking event on the evening of Monday 9 January at the Marines Memorial Club (Heritage Room, 10th Floor), 609 Sutter Street (next to JW Marriott SF Union Square).  Put the date in your diary and we will see you there!

If you haven’t yet registered for Biotech Showcase, please visit the BioPartner site for information on discounts available to ULS members.

We will update you on all of the action from San Francisco in newscast and follow our twitter feed for live updates and pictures from the conference.

At the end of the month we have the BIA Gala Dinner and there are still a limited number of tickets left so please book online as soon as possible if you would like to secure one of the final places for what promises to be an excellent event. A silent auction will run throughout the evening raising funds for Alzheimer’s Research UK who we recently announced as our charity of the year.

In the afternoon before the Gala Dinner, the BIA and Osborne Clarke invite you to join biotechnology companies and investors for an audience with the authors of Science, the State and the City, a book about the history of Britain’s industrial strategy for biotechnology.

The event provides BIA Corporate members and investors a space to work, enjoy some refreshments and network in-between the morning’s Future of Healthcare Investor Forum at the London Stock Exchange and the evening’s BIA Gala Dinner. The venue is a short 5-10 minute walk from both locations.

At 15:30 there will be an audience with the former Editor of the Financial Times, Geoffrey Owen, and Senior Lecturer in biomedical innovation at the University of Sussex, Dr Michael Hopkins, to talk about their book Science, the State and the City and discuss with you the future of Britain’s industrial strategy –  followed by a wine reception. You can find out more about the event on the BIA website.