In this week’s update: Life sciences recognised in the party manifestos, the new AMR Industry Alliance, EMA’s PRIME scheme, Dementia Awareness Week, and this week’s CEO and Investor Forum.

The General  election campaign is now in full swing after Labour, the Liberal Democrats, and the Conservatives launched their manifestos last week.

What’s clear is that for the two main parties, these manifestos reflect the personal politics of their leaders and mark a radical change from the policy propositions set out by the parties to the country only two years ago. See our blog here for a reminder of what the parties said in their 2015 manifestos. Both Labour and the Conservative manifestos propose shaking up the relationship between the state and business that will have profound implications for UK bioscience companies beyond Brexit.

We’ll publish our analysis of how the new manifestos affect our sector tomorrow on our blog and I look forward to discussing the implications of the upcoming General Election at our CEO forum this week.

What’s particularly pleasing to see is that, despite the significant differences in approach to business and Europe, all the main parties explicitly recognise the importance of the life science sector, R&D and innovation. All of them touch on some of our key issues – which is vindication of the campaigning the BIA and our members and partners have done to keep our sector high on the political agenda.

On Thursday, the new Antimicrobial Resistance Industry Alliance was launched. The Alliance is hosted by the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations and brings together research-based pharma companies, genetics, biotech and diagnostic companies to drive and measure industry progress to curb antimicrobial resistance. The BIA is part of the Alliance via the International Council of Biotech Associations (ICBA). In the press release announcing the Alliance, I emphasised that small and medium-sized companies stand ready to be powerful innovators to develop new and pioneering medicines adding to our arsenal of antimicrobial drugs.

On Friday BIA’s Head of Regulatory Affairs Christiane Abouzeid participated in the European Medicines Agency (EMA) meeting with stakeholders to review the experience gained with the PRIority MEdicines (PRIME) scheme, one year after it was launched by the Agency in March 2016 to enhance support for the development of medicines that have the potential to address patients’ unmet needs. The UK has been one of the key drivers of the scheme. The EMA processed 96 eligibility requests as of April 2017 with a success rate of 22% – the majority of products recommended for PRIME are advanced therapies and biological medicines.

Last week was Dementia Awareness Week. Dementia is set to be the 21st century biggest killer, but by working together we can find a cure. For this reason, we named Alzheimer’s Research UK the BIA’s charity of the year. Alzheimer’s Research UK recently launched their new campaign “Running Down Dementia” – where you pledge to run or walk 100km and raise £100 and you, together with thousands of runners like you, can strike a blow in the battle against dementia. Go to their website for more details and to sign up.

This week, I’m looking forward to the BIA’s CEO and Investor Forum on 24-25 May in Oxford. We have a great two-day programme involving thought-leadership and networking with C-level industry peers, investors, and other key stakeholders. It’s your last chance to book.

This coming Wednesday, we will also publish our key annual look at the state of financing in our sector. This year’s document is titled “Building something great: UK’s Global Bioscience Cluster 2016”. The report looks at key statistics of how well bioscience companies are doing in the UK. Keep an eye out for our tweets and the full report will be available on our website – more on this next week.

I’m looking forward to seeing many of you on Wednesday evening.

Best,

Steve