On Friday, I visited Buckingham Palace for my investiture having been recognised with an OBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list. I am honoured to have received the title in recognition of services to innovation and in keeping with the theme of innovation, I wore a piece of synthetic biology to my investiture. As detailed in my blog, in a first at a formal occasion with British royalty, I sported a knit tie made from a brand-new fabric called spider silk. This new material is made by the company Bold Threads using biotechnology and comes from studying silk proteins found in nature.

This week, I’m writing from California, where an impressive delegation from the UK has arrived at the BIO International Convention in San Diego where David Cameron will be giving a keynote speech on Tuesday. This year’s theme is ‘Breakthrough’ and UK companies will be at the fore sharing their innovation with global colleagues. High on the agenda are the impact of AI on biomedicine, digital health and the future of clinical trials. I’m personally looking forward to hearing David Cameron champion our UK ecosystem to the rest of the world.

Back on home soil, the fallout of the General Election continues to make headlines and the government has now named the new junior health ministers who will replace David Mowat and Nicola Blackwood who lost their seats. Steve Brine MP for Winchester and Chandler’s Ford and Jackie Doyle-Price whose seat is Thurrock will be taking up the roles. Both have previously served as assistant government whip. We will be looking to engage with these figures at our forthcoming Parliament Day and beyond.

As the Brexit negotiations kick off, the Brexit Healthcare Alliance has also been established of which the BIA is a founding member. The Alliance was set up to ensure that key issues including healthcare research, access to technologies and treatment of patients are given necessary prominence in Brexit negotiations. You can find out more about the implications of both the General Election and Brexit on the life sciences in our latest webinar that can be viewed here.

On Friday, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) issued a statement following the June 2017 meeting of the EMA Management Board which focused on two important topics: Brexit preparations and the development of the EU clinical trial portal and database. EMA is making preparations on the assumption that the UK will become a third country as of 30 March 2019, recognising this is without prejudice to the outcome of the withdrawal negotiations. It is worth noting the UK is fully participating in the activities of EMA and all formal meetings and retains its speaking and voting rights. On the EU Clinical Trial Regulation the Agency announced that entry into application is now postponed to 2019, instead of October 2018, because of delays with the development of the IT systems. The BIA is engaged with the EMA on clinical trials and will keep members updated.

Another key BIA event last week was Women in Biotech which was hosted by Instinctif Partners. Speakers Jackie Hunter, CEO of Benevolent Bio and Maxine Mackintosh Founding Director of One HealthTech, gave an overview of what they’re working on and shared their insights into why the number of women in biotech has not reached its potential. Presentation slides from the event will be available on our website shortly.

Our next key events for your diary are coming up in July. Join us on Thursday 6th for our Summer Networking Reception which is taking place on the roof terrace of the IET Savoy Place. Following our Parliament Day, the reception promises an evening of excellent networking, great food and drink and fantastic views. Secure your place here. The following week, we’re teaming up with MHRA once again for our conference around innovation in life science. You can register here for the event which is taking place at the Royal Society of Medicine on Friday 14 July. Engaging sessions will include ‘Implications of the EU Referendum outcome: Practicalities, challenges and opportunities’. I hope to see you there.