newscast april3

This week the Brexit Process moved onwards as the Prime Minister triggered Article 50. We welcomed the PM’s commitment to make the UK one of the best places for science and innovation. So far, the UK government has demonstrated its commitment to innovation, and this was further shown through its support for the sector in the Budget announcements these included the investment in UKRI and the refilling of the Biomedical Catalyst. We look forward to building on this engagement via the life science response to the Industrial Strategy. It was also encouraging to see the Prime Minister’s letter mention the importance of prioritising ‘how we manage the evolution of our regulatory frameworks to maintain a fair and open trading environment.’

Now that Article 50 has been triggered, we enter a two-year political negotiation that is likely to result in a period of press speculation, bombast and rhetoric. Early agreement on key issues like: the regulation of medicines; the regime to enable non-UK nationals to work and contribute to the UK life science ecosystem; trade; finance support; market and intellectual property rules; would be the best way to ensure speedy and continuing global investment into the UK and EU. It would also be in the best interest of patients who require access to innovative healthcare.  To find out the latest on the Brexit process join us for the BIA Brexit webinar this Friday.

I am in Switzerland this week with BIA members and representatives from the MHRA and Office for Life Sciences to see what lessons can be learned that could help with the UK negotiations. I will update in next week’s newscast.

On Wednesday, the Medicines Discovery Catapult celebrated its launch at the University of Warwick. One initial focus of the work being undertaken on site will be the increasing threat of anti-microbial resistance (AMR). The site at Warwick has been developed alongside facilities at the Catapult’s headquarters in Alderley Park, Cheshire. They will both drive innovative, fast-to-patient drug discovery supporting collaborations between industry, academic teams and medical research charities, and will help drive UK health and wealth in line with the government’s Life Sciences strategy. You can find out more on their website.

On Thursday, the BIA’s Science & Innovation Advisory Committee (SIAC)brought together representatives from across the biotech/healthcare community to discuss technology transfer (pictured above).  This followed the recent Dowling Report, and also the evidence given and the subsequent report by the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee on managing academic intellectual property.  The BIA’s intention is to address some of the issues highlighted, such as friction around IP licencing, by bringing together all the relevant parties and encouraging open dialogue.

Finally, BIA’s Head of Regulatory Affairs joined the DIA EuroMeeting in its 29th year in Glasgow. The overall theme ‘Translational Healthcare: From Bench to Bedside and Back’ reflected the growing impact of back translation of learnings and patient data into research and development of innovative medicines. The conference discussed and shared insights into the evolving European and global healthcare environments from alternative regulatory pathways to developments in HTA and access, bringing together more than 1,500 healthcare professionals from industry, regulatory agencies and patient organisations.

Best, Steve