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It was great to see the UK in full force at the BIO 2017 Convention in San Diego last week. And I was delighted to be able to introduce former PM David Cameron to several BIA members.

It was great to see over 150 of you at our reception Celebrating the Future of UK Biotech, co-hosted with MedCity and LifeArc – previously known as MRCT – who officially launched their new name at the event.

Cameron gave his keynote on Tuesday to a packed room in which he talked Brexit and the strength of the UK life sciences ecosystem. Pre-empting Theresa May’s Thursday night offer to the European Council, he said the right of EU nationals to stay in the UK would be guaranteed and accessing EU talent post-Brexit wouldn’t be an issue. The focus for the biotech industry, he said, should be on the “exact nature of the trading relationship between UK and EU.” You can read more in our press release here.

We explored these issues in greater detail in the afternoon and reassured our global colleagues as I chaired a Brexit panel discussion with Nicole Mather from the Office for Life Sciences, Ronald Jager from Europabio, and BIA members David Tapolczay from LifeArc and Kym Denny from hVIVO.

I also spoke at the UK Global Innovation Hub session. I took the opportunity to champion the UK’s attractiveness as a global life sciences cluster, particularly highlighting our tax regime. Combining low rates of tax, innovation incentives, significant tax benefits and one of the most comprehensive global treaty networks, the UK is extremely competitive. You can read more in our press release.

Last week also saw the Queen’s Speech and beginning of Brexit negotiations. The Queen stressed that the government is committed to securing “the best possible deal” as the UK leaves the EU. This will be achieved through a series of Brexit bills, the first of which is the Repeal Bill to revoke the European Communities Act and transpose EU laws into UK legislation. Chancellor Philip Hammond used his Mansion House speech to say he is confident that the UK can do a deal that puts jobs and prosperity first, adding that pharmaceuticals and biotech would benefit. You can read more in our blog.

Next week is our annual Parliament Day, where the BIA and our members will be meeting with MPs and officials from across government to ensure the life sciences stay high on the political agenda during these fast-moving times. The day concludes with our Summer Networking Reception, which you are all invited to. Sign up here. I look forward to seeing you all there.