July is proving a busy month for the industry so far. Last week, the BIA was one of the signatories of an industry letter from UK and European bioscience trade bodies (AESGP, EFPIA, EuropaBio, Medicines for Europe, ABPI, BGMA, BIA and PAGB) to David Davis, UK Brexit Secretary and Michel Barnier, Chief EU Negotiator. The letter highlighted the importance of securing ongoing co-operation between the UK and the EU on medicines post-Brexit. In the letter, we argued that authorisations to market medicines should continue to apply for the sale of medicines in the UK and Europe following the UK’s departure from the EU. You can read more here (you will need a subscription to access the article). The full letter can be found on our website here. Our next Brexit Briefing Webinar is taking place on 19 July. You can register your place here.

We rounded off the week with the BIA/MHRA conference on Friday where it was great to see so many of you. Delegates heard from an array of expert speakers from across the industry on issues such as the Accelerated Access Review, personalised medicines and Brexit. Simon Stevens, Chief Executive Officer, NHS England opened the day and discussed taking medicines through regulatory approval, health technology assessment and faster adoption of innovative healthcare across the NHS for the benefit of patients. He credited the BIA as ‘the UKs thoughtful and impactful life science trade association’ and emphasised that the NHS is keen to work with industry to ensure patients get access to innovative treatments and outlined the challenges that the service faces in uptake of innovation.

Lord O’Shaughnessy, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health, highlighted the government’s commitment to support and promote UK life sciences throughout the Brexit negotiations, outlining three key principles that must underpin any future relationship with the EU: first, patients must never be disadvantaged; second, the UK will continue to play a leading role promoting and ensuring public health – both in Europe and around the world; and third, industry must be able to get their products into the UK market as quickly and simply as possible, with the UK and Europe at the forefront of medical innovation.

The highlight of the day was Lord O’Shaughnessy’s announcement during his keynote address that innovative UK firms will benefit from a new package of support worth up to £86 million to help them develop real world medical breakthroughs that will help patients across the NHS.

These new building blocks for the UK life science innovation ecosystem will help UK small companies get their innovations into the NHS more quickly to benefit patients – something the BIA has long campaigned for. It will make the UK a more attractive location for starting and scaling life science businesses. Enabling smaller companies to access the Early Access to Medicines Scheme will be particularly helpful for small UK biotech companies. You can read more about Lord O’Shaughnessy’s keynote here and the government’s press release on the funding announcement here.

Hot off the press, we have just published our latest quarterly report ‘Influencing and shaping our sector’ which gives a round up of the work that the BIA has done for the sector in the second quarter of 2107. The report includes details of our work around Brexit, the government’s industrial strategy and raising the profile of the industry. You can read the full report here.

As the summer holidays approach, I’m sure many of you will be going away on holiday and I’d like to wish you a relaxing summer break. Looking forward towards the autumn, we have the UK Bioscience Forum on 12 October in London, and the Annual bioProcessUK Conference that will be held in Cardiff on 29-30 November. You can take advantage of early bird rates for the Forum here and for bioProcess here.