Parliament Day 3

Last week we saw the work the BIA has put into advocacy with partners around Brexit starting to pay off with some fantastic news for our sector as for the first time UK government ministers championed continued collaboration with the EU on medicine regulation post-Brexit. Signed by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Business Secretary Greg Clark, the letter to the FT highlighted that in order to secure industry investment “the UK would like to find a way to continue to collaborate with the EU”. You can read their full statement on the BIA website here.

This is a very positive step for the industry and I would like to thank all members for their continuing support as we navigate Brexit. The UK Government publicly communicating its full commitment “to continuing the close working relationship we enjoy with our European partners” is good news for patients, industry and investors in the UK and EU. Industry has responded with our own letter to the FT signed by AstraZeneca, European Medicines Group, GSK, Pfizer, Eisai Co, ABPI and the BIA. You can read the letter here. For the latest news on Brexit you can join our next Brexit briefing webinar will take place on 19th July. You can sign up here.

There will be more discussion and, I hope developments on the future of medicines regulation this week, at our joint BIA/MHRA Conference on Friday titled “Innovation in Life Sciences in a Changing and Dynamic Environment”.

Taking place this Friday 14th July, the event will feature keynotes from the UK government minister responsible for the MHRA Lord O’Shaughnessy and NHS Chief Executive Simon Stevens as well as senior industry experts and leading speakers from the MHRA. Last chance to join what is proving to be an extremely popular and timely event with over 250 industry peers and colleagues. Register here. This is the conference of the year on one of the hottest topics of this Brexit year in our sector.  I hope to see you there.

Another success last week was our annual Parliament Day where the BIA and our members had valuable meetings with MPs and officials across government. The day offers a fantastic opportunity for ministers, lords and civil servants to get hear first-hand the key issues for our industry and to build greater awareness of the UK biotech ecosystem. Lord Willetts also hosted us for a lunch in the House of Lords. Following this successful event, it was great to see so many of you at our Summer Reception on Thursday evening. Held at the IET, Savoy Place, the reception provided a great opportunity to unwind, network and enjoy the fantastic views. Many thanks to John Brennan the new Secretary General of EuropaBio, who travelled from Brussels to meet many of you.

As we are still part of the EU, Enterprise Europe Network is holding an event on how to write a successful application for European funding on Thursday 13th July in London. Experts will be available at the event to provide practical advice and support on project ideas and provide guidance to those requiring more investment to undertake market feasibility and technical development projects. You can find out more and register your place here. (On this occasion, I’m also interested to hear from members who are not prioritising this funding route – do drop me an email – has Brexit changed the dial for you? or have EU funding mechanisms not matched your needs? Perhaps you are going in the other direction – these grants are easier to access and more relevant so you are applying for the first time – any feedback would be welcome).

The next round of Brexit negotiations begins next Monday and we will continue to work with partners in the UK and at European level to ensure that the industries concerns remain a priority for the UK negotiating team.