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We’re out in San Francisco this week, showcasing the best of UK biotech at JP Morgan and the Biotech Showcase. As always, it promises to be a hectic schedule of meetings and events – our webinar from last Thursday picks out the highlights and you can re-watch it here. This morning at the Biotech Showcase I’ll be chairing a panel discussion on the real threats and opportunities of Brexit and I’m looking forward to seeing many of you at tonight’s UK networking event. If you didn’t manage to secure a spot for tonight, I’m afraid the event is now fully booked.

On Tuesday morning a number of BIA members will be taking part in a workshop at Biotech Showcase on “Maximizing corporate value creation – management of cash in biopharma”, from 11 to 12pm in the San Francisco Continental Room 8 in the Hilton. Speakers include Neil Murray CEO of Redx Pharma, Linda Summerton CEO of Immodulon, Flic Gabbay Managing Partner at TranScrip Partners and Stephen Parker of Silence Therapeutics.

For those of you remaining in the UK, do keep an eye on Twitter for the latest news using #JPM17 or the BIA Twitter account @BIA_UK. We’ll have a round-up for you next week.

Looking forward to the year ahead, the BIA Events Calendar for 2017 lists the most important dates for your diary – download it here. For January, Thursday 26 is the date to note, with our Gala Dinner taking place at The Brewery. If you’re in town for the dinner, that afternoon we’ll be hosting an audience with the authors of Science, the State and the City, a book about the history of Britain’s industrial strategy for biotechnology. Former Editor of the Financial Times, Sir Geoffrey Owen, and Senior Lecturer in biomedical innovation at the University of Sussex, Dr Michael Hopkins, will discuss the development of the UK’s biotechnology industry over the past 30 years, how it has been supported by industrial strategy, and the opportunities and challenges for further growth. The event will begin at 15.30 and be followed by a wine reception. Please note this event is for biotechnology corporates and investors only – for more details see the website.

As we welcome the new year we’ve also seen a mini reshuffle in government with Lord O’Shaughnessy assuming life science responsibilities in the Department of Health. He was previously David Cameron’s Head of Policy and was made a peer when Cameron left office. I have made contact and look forward to working with him.

Meanwhile Lord Prior has moved to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to replace the IP Minister, Baroness Neville-Rolfe, although his portfolio has not been confirmed yet. We worked closely with Lord Prior on the UK EU Life Sciences Transition Programme and will continue to work with him in his new role. Baroness Neville-Rolfe has moved to the Treasury as Commercial Secretary, where I am sure we will continue to work with her also.

Work continues to progress around industrial strategy. Innovate UK and the Research Councils are beginning to define a first round of challenges to be addressed by the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) – first announced by the Prime Minister at the 2016 CBI Annual Conference – and will soon be in a position to seek input from industry and the research base into their development.

To gather input from industry and the research base, the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) is organising a series of short workshops across the UK in the second half of January for innovators and researchers to engage with Innovate UK and the Research Councils and share your thoughts on what the challenges might be. This will be a valuable opportunity for you to help shape some of the key industrial challenges that, if addressed by the ISCF, could help deliver jobs and economic growth across the UK.

Events will be held across the UK and are not specific to any technology or industry sector, looking to attract a wide range of participants and viewpoints. You can register your interest in attending one of the ISCF workshops here. You’ll be notified if you’ve secured a place from Wednesday 11 January.

The ABPI have been working with UK MedTech industry partners, with the support of NHS England, DH and regulation experts, to establish a national process for credentialing. Significant progress has been made toward developing a cross-sector Life Sciences Industry (LSI) Credentialing Register and we are hoping that this will, when completed, receive approval from The Professional Standards Authority. We are keen to ensure that the register is as user-friendly and appropriate as possible in the expectation that our members may need to use it in future.

As part of the development of these standards a consultation has been opened for responses by companies/potential registrants on the proposed standards. Responses to the consultation will be really helpful in the development of this work. Full details of the consultation process can be found on the LSI website. If you have any queries regarding the consultation, please email communications@lifescienceindustry.co.uk or call 07749454308 to speak to someone from The Academy for Healthcare Science who are running the consultation process. Responses must be submitted by the 20th January deadline.

In case of interest, ABS-Int are organising a training session on ABS Essentials of complying with the Nagoya Protocol and Regulation EU 511/2014 on 14 February in Leuven, Belgium. It is designed for practitioners looking for practical background information for adapting their way of working to guarantee compliance. More information can be found here. EuropaBio members are entitled to a reduced registration fee.

Best

Steve