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This week will see the next phase of the Brexit process taking place as Article 50 is expected to be triggered by the UK government on Wednesday. The team here will be keeping a close eye on proceedings and will update on sector relevant developments across the usual BIA channels. For a more in depth analysis on all things Brexit you can sign up for our next Brexit webinar taking place on Friday April 7th at 4pm – full details and registration can be found on the BIA website.

On Tuesday, Innovate UK and the MRC published an independent evaluation of the Biomedical Catalyst. It shows the policy works. Grant winners have found it easier to attract follow-on funding, and have increased turnover and workforce growth. The key conclusion for me is that the BMC continues to address a market failure at the early commercialisation stage where investors are wary to venture alone. However, it also says that application reviewers themselves are too risk-averse when the underpinning science is uncertain. It’s great to see Innovate UK subjecting itself to this assessment and we look forward to working with them on improving this valuable scheme for our sector.

The Biomedical Catalyst 2017 round 2 late stage funding competition opened on Friday and UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £12 million to develop innovative ideas that will help solve healthcare challenges. The aim of this competition is to develop innovative healthcare technologies and processes that will help provide one or more of the following: disease prevention and proactive management of health and chronic conditions, earlier and better detection and diagnosis of disease, leading to better patient outcomes, tailored treatments that either change the underlying disease or offer potential cures. This competition has 1 late stage award. It is seeking projects that test a well-developed concept and show effectiveness in a relevant environment. For more information and to apply go to

It was great to be able to welcome Lord Prior, the life science Minister in the department of BEIS to see modern medicine manufacture at AZ’s plant on Macclesfield as part of the Medicines Manufacturing Industry Partnership (MMIP) conference. The event saw stakeholders from across the sector come together to find out what MMIP (a partnership of the BIA, ABPI and the KTN) has achieved to date and find out about plans for the future – you can find out more about MMIP on the BIA website.

On Thursday, we held a workshop for BIA members to help shape our response to the Government’s Industrial Strategy consultation (pictured above). It was great to have companies covering the full breadth of our membership attend, from small discovery-end companies, service SMEs and large drug manufacturers. It was important to hear all your views on the challenges and opportunities for our sector. Thank you to all of those who attended and to Simmons & Simmons for hosting – this will now inform our submission which is sought by government by Easter.

Thanks to those of you who enquired about the BIA team’s wellbeing around the events in Westminster last Wednesday, normal service continued here uninterrupted – as the Prime Minister said, it’s in the million acts of normality that we defeat those who would try to terrorise us.