Archives for category: CEO webinar

Following the outcome of the UK’s referendum on membership of the European Union, the BIA has worked closely with members and stakeholders to identify the threats and opportunities for biotech post-Brexit and to represent the sector.

Our BIA Brexit Briefing webinars will provide a monthly update on government policy, progress of working groups, and how these will potentially affect companies in life sciences – particularly with regards to innovation, financing, regulation and people.

Catch up on last week’s webinar below, delivered by Steve Bates OBE, Chief Executive Officer, BIA.

Visit our website for details on future Brexit webinars.

Do you have a video you would like the sector to see? Contact us.

Our latest BIA member webinar took place earlier this month, focussing on how to raise capital while retaining control. BIA CEO Steve Bates was joined by three key biotech CEO’s who provided an overview of their experience: Darrin Disley detailed how Horizon Discovery was able to bring in different types of capital at different stages of the business; Harren Jhoti covered the potential of mergers and acquisitions following his experience at Astex Pharmaceuticals; and Neil Murray spoke about the evolution of Redx Pharma and their collaboration with the NHS. Read on to find out more…

The BIA’s recently published report, Money, momentum and maturity, provides an overview of the current financing environment in UK biotech. The report details encouraging trends in follow-on funding, venture capital activity, the strength of the R&D pipeline and rate of regulatory approvals which are promising as we look to develop the UK as the third global biotech cluster. Investors’ appetite for venture finance was stronger than ever in 2015 with £489m raised, accounting for over a third of the European total. 2015 also saw an impressive level of follow-on funding raised by biotech companies on the LSE.

With many methods available to raise capital in the industry, each guest speaker on the webinar was invited to tell their own experience, describing the route they took.

First to speak, Dr Darrin Disley of Horizon Discovery outlined his approach to attracting different types of capital at different stages of the business, aligning their funding with the growth and market of the business. Horizon Discovery has utilised a number of different funding options, including angel investors, corporate investment and venture capital. In March 2014, Horizon Discovery completed an IPO on AIM, returning money to their pre-IPO investors. More recently, the company has raised capital through a follow-on on the public markets, money which is now being invested to drive forward the growth of the company.

Taking a different approach, Dr Harren Jhoti of Astex Pharmaceuticals discussed the option of a merger or acquisition as a means to raise capital. In 2011, after dismissing the option of an IPO due to the financial climate, the company underwent a merger with SuperGen – a Nasdaq listed company. The merger represented significant capital in terms of future royalty streams and was also a company building exercise. A few years later, in 2013, Astex was acquired by Japan’s Otsuka.

Discussing the pros and cons of M&A, Harren highlighted the importance of Board composition with regards to retaining control. In the case of a small company being acquired, there is a danger of losing this control and becoming swamped or integrated into a large organisation. For Astex, the company was able to secure assurances that its name would survive the transaction and they would continue to have a significant level of operational independence. As such the company is as a wholly owned subsidiary of Otsuka but runs effectively as a small biotech company.

Finally, Dr Neil Murray of Redx Pharma detailed the benefits and challenges of raising capital through high net worth investors, the company’s primary source of capital up until its IPO last year. When dealing with this type of investment, Neil highlighted the importance of ensuring you provide enough feedback to the investors to showcase the company’s development – nothing succeeds like delivery.

Neil also spoke about the evolution of Redx Pharma and their opportunistic collaboration with the NHS, which helped to bring in just under £6M of funding.

The webinar finished with a Q&A for each of our speakers, with Steve Bates asking what people should be thinking about in the current climate. Each panellist agreed that people will continue to invest in good ideas, whatever the environment. There’s money to be had in the sector and companies should continue to reach for it!

For more details and to hear the Q&A, watch the webinar below.

Budget2015Last Wednesday saw Chancellor George Osborne set out the final Budget of this Parliament, ahead of the General Election. I’ve outlined some of the more interesting announcements for the life science sector below, but do read our full summary for further information. We’ll also be holding a webinar on the topic this Thursday from 11am for those who want to find out more. Join us for a discussion hosted by myself and with the incoming Chair of our Finance and Tax Advisory Committee, Colin Hailey – we’d  be interested to hear your views.

From a life sciences perspective, there were some notable “wins” contained within the Budget off the back of previous BIA lobbying, including wins on advance assurance and the operation of tax advantaged venture capital schemes, following submissions to recent consultations. It’s great to see from this Budget statement that Treasury has listened to the BIA and its members – see our press release for more details on these topics.

However for a Budget that declared it was making new investments in science and manufacturing, some of the wider science community were left a bit wanting. Items of specific interest to the life sciences sector, and to be welcomed, include supportive government funds, measures to enable and improve investment, a supportive tax environment, and regional initiatives. Around a rhetoric of investing in the UK’s future scientific success, Osborne set out a number of areas of government support, including the reinvestment of up to £30 million from the sale of MRC assets to support research at the Francis Crick Institute, with matched funding from Cancer Research UK and the Wellcome Trust in an extra boost to the project’s long term security.

A number of other measures that may have indirect benefits for the life sciences industry include a near doubling of funding to UKTI for activities in China, including a focus on the advanced manufacturing, healthcare and life sciences sectors, and the announcement of a £195 million Fleming Fund to tackle antimicrobial resistance in response to initial recommendations of the O’Neill review.

Although this Budget will be delivered, debated and voted on in the form of the Finance Bill (to be published tomorrow), an emergency Budget will follow the General Election so the significance of this Budget and the pledges made within it – whether they will be upheld or rewritten – will not be certain until after the election. So watch this space for further developments through 2015, we’ll keep you posted.

In a boost for the life sciences sector across Europe, Irish investment company Malin raised €330 million in one of the continent’s biggest ever life science IPOs, backed by Neil Woodford amongst others – with plans to follow up with a dual listing in London. The company plans to invest in early-stage companies and has already committed money to seven firms, including BIA member Kymab. This is great news for the biotech ecosystem, supporting early-stage companies to get their promising products to market.

Also on funds, it was great to hear Jeremy Hunt announce details of a $100 million venture capital fund for dementia research, with investment from major worldwide pharmaceutical companies – including a number of BIA members – alongside the government and charity Alzheimer’s Research UK. Bringing together a raft of expertise from government, industry, charity and financial backgrounds, the Dementia Discovery Fund once again highlights the UK’s leading efforts in tackling this global issue, investing in the pioneering research which could ultimately lead to the development of a new, effective treatment to tackle dementia.

Last week we joined in the celebrations for the EMA’s 20th anniversary – a great day with the opportunity to both reflect on how far the industry has come over the last two decades and to look forward to future goals, with some interesting speakers and presentations. A video from the day will be available shortly, and you can already access slides and related information from the EMA website. The Agency has also produced a 20th anniversary book, which captures the important progress in regulatory science and changes in medicines regulation in the last 20 years – worth a look if you haven’t already.

Until next week



BIOFor BIO convention veterans the planning and preparation before you fly to San Diego will be very familiar. For the BIO convention newbies, it may be a bit daunting!

To help the UK delegation see the wood for the trees with regards to what’s on, BIA and UKTI have put together an easy-to-view overview of UK activities, plus the main BIO networking events/keynotes, the exhibition schedule and information on some of the other key activities. You can download it here. For example, if you’d like to hear the latest on the UK Early Access to Medicines Scheme, you could attend a panel which Steve Bates is presenting on, alongside Ian Hudson from the MHRA, at 9am on Tuesday 24 June.

This year we are delighted to have the largest number of UK companies exhibiting on the UK Pavilion, including AMSBIO, Appleyard Lees, Biotec Services, Blueberry Therapeutics, CN BIO Innovations, Cyclofludic, Cyprotex, Dora Wirth Languages, Euprotec, Izon Science Europe, Key Organics, KWS BioTest, MedCity, MRC Technology, Neem Biotech, NorthWest EHealth, Occams Resources, Ockham Oncology, Peakdale Molecular, Public Health England, Purolite, RGC Jenkins & Co, Sphere Fluidics and Sygnature Discovery. Please do come along and meet with them during the exhibition and/or via exhibition-partnering. If there is a company you would like to connect with ahead of the event, please don’t hesitate to contact Karen Chandler-Smith.

The UK Pavilion is booth number 3317, situated very close to the main registration desks and the partnering area. There are two key networking events on the pavilion to put into your BIO schedule: 5-6.30pm on Tuesday 24th for wine and beers; and a Mojito Pit-Stop on Thursday 26th12-2pm. Please come down to meet the BIA and UKTI teams and the wider UK delegation.

In addition to the exhibitors, I am delighted to see so many BIA members heading to the BIO Convention this year. Many are part of our BIA business solutions programme, which offers significant savings on lab supplies, office supplies and insurance, which we established a couple of years ago in partnership with BIO. It’s going from strength to strength and is showing really great savings for members. Having worked for smaller organisations for many years I really do understand that every penny counts.

If you are not a BIA member, I invite you to come and talk to the BIA team at the event. Steve Bates, Alastair Carrington and I will be around all week and would love the opportunity to update you on the fantastic work the BIA team continue to deliver on behalf of the sector.

We are also running a pre-BIO convention webinar. Grab a coffee, log-on to the webinar and find out the very latest plans and activities. The webinar is 11am on Thursday 12 June. Please register here.

I look forward to seeing you in sunny San Diego. In the meantime please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions ahead of the convention.



Caroline_Briggs_AmiciCaroline Briggs is the Managing Director at Amici Procurement Solutions, with over twenty years experience in the industry she reveals here five key purchasing perils from within the biotechnology community, in partnership with the BIA business solutions programme

You’ve worked really hard to secure customers or investment for your company. Taking time to optimise your purchasing processes will reward you many times over to ensure your money is well spent and your resources are focused on the business objectives.

Having worked in the industry sector for twenty years, I know what organisations need to make the most of their procurement. Amici have fine-tuned PO to PAY processes to solve the five deadly sins of purchasing for our biotech customers…

Deadly Sin #1 – Wasted talent

You’ve recruited an amazing scientific team – tick. Do you then want them spending time negotiating discounts and chasing down orders when they could be discovering cures to life threatening and debilitating conditions?

There are lots of angles to purchasing, all of which require different skill sets. You need to be bolshie and pushy to get the best deals, yet need great administration to keep on top of the order process. In my experience it is better to separate the two roles as the administration will always swamp one person in a fast-moving SME.

Deadly Sin #2 – Taking a lackadaisical attitude

Create a company culture where cost is well managed and you’re well on your way to saving lots of money! We work with many companies and those with an eye on the cost have had significantly better prices.

Biotech’s are a far cry from the old Major Pharma but not everyone has woken up to this yet. Get to know what you spend and use all the buying power you can to get the best prices. The BIA Purchasing Programme is a great way to immediately gain the leverage of larger organisations.

Deadly Sin #3 – Financial control breakdown

Be clear about who is allowed to spend the company money and how you’re going to control supplier choice and authorisation. I once visited a company and had to step around boxes and boxes of HP paper, when quizzed, a Junior Scientist told me there had been an offer with Viking Office Supplies to get a free radio, coffee maker, all manner of random objects. The fact they had paid £10 per ream compared to the normal price of £1.75 had completely missed them. Who allowed this to happen?

Shopping around however, can also have hidden costs, sometimes it may not even be worth it when you consider the resource costs and it takes a minimum of 30 minutes of finance time to set up and pay a new supplier. Have you got the controls to avoid random supplier additions?

Deadly Sin #4 – Very inefficient processes

Why spend hours processing twenty invoices per month from a supplier when many are more than happy to send you just the one at the end of the month? Happily, this also extends your payment terms! It takes about 15 minutes to process an invoice. In this example, you could save Finance almost five hours per month by switching just one supplier to monthly invoicing.

There are untold processes involved in the PO to Pay process which can all be improved. How do you order commonly used items? How do you track and record spend? How do you limit the resource to create and approve a PO? How do you make sure the invoices match the PO first time? There’s a lot to consider.

Deadly Sin #5 – Over purchasing

Nothing stresses me out as much as waste! It’s frightening to calculate the cost of your facility per sq ft so you certainly don’t want to be wasting space and holding stock “just in case” when suppliers can typically deliver within 1-2 days and most will guarantee a reserve stock in your name at their cost.

Not only are you tying up cash, you might end up throwing away expired products or products you no longer use (just your fridge at home!). If you buy special kits at £1000 and suddenly stop your project then I’m afraid you’re stuck with it because the supplier is unlikely to take it back.

I need help! How do I find out more?

I will be running a webinar with Steve Bates, BIA CEO, 27 February, 11am, where I will be examining how Amici through the BIA business solutions programme can guarantee to save you time, money and resources.

Find out how we can help you grow your organisation effectively.

Register here.

Kit Malthouse at BIA event

We have another incredibly busy week coming up at the BIA. Thursday is the busiest day of our year. First we have Parliament Day, and this year more than 30 member company CEOs will be meeting with more than 20 senior politicians and civil servants. Second, that evening is our 18th Annual Gala Dinner. This year’s event has attracted the biggest attendance ever, so it’s shaping up to be a great evening even if we will be a cosier than usual. I look forward to seeing you there.

Last Tuesday I attended the Empower Access to Medicines campaign meeting to discuss speeding up access to medicines for patients most in need. I was pleased to hear Department of Health Minister Earl Howe’s thoughts on government’s plans for introducing an Early Access to Medicines scheme, which is something the BIA has long campaigned for, and that their thinking was “at an advanced stage” with “active discussion across Whitehall” about the introduction of a new “promising innovation medicine” designation as part of their proposed scheme. The MHRA later confirmed their plans to BioCentury.

On Thursday we co-hosted, with Consilium Strategic Communications, Panmure Gordon and Pinsent Masons, an event to showcase some of the exciting privately owned biotech companies in the UK to potential generalist public market investors. The aim of the event was to provide the wider investor community with further insight and understanding of the quality of firms, science and management teams in the sector. Kit Malthouse, London’s Deputy Mayor for Business (pictured above), provided a great introduction and highlighted the opportunities for investors in our strategically vital sector. The six presenting companies, Creabilis, Cytox, Endomagnetics, Glide Pharma, Prosonix and Redx Pharma, showed the strength and variety of busineeses growing in the UK at the moment. We are considering doing more in this area and I’d welcome member feedback on how we can do this optimally.

Also on Thursday, the BIA, along with our LifeSciencesUK partners ABHI, ABPI and BIVDA, published a report on the government’s performance in the first two years of its Strategy for UK Life Sciences. The review found that eight out of the 13 initiatives reviewed have made notable progress towards the actions and commitments set out in the original strategy, but there is still much more work to do to meet the strategy’s original objectives. From the biotech point of view, the Biomedical Catalyst has been well received by companies across the bioscience sector, the Cell Therapy Catapult is helping cell therapy organisations a translate early stage research into commercially viable and investable therapies and the National Biologics Manufacturing Centre will provide a valuable resource for the development of new technologies. However, the failure to introduce a fully funded Early Access to Medicines Scheme, which will allow UK patients to benefit from the most promising new treatments, needs to be addressed immediately.

Dan Mahony of Polar Capital joined me for my January member webinar last week. Dan provided an expert recap of the previous week’s JP Morgan Conference and trends to watch for 2014. If you didn’t catch the webinar or would like to watch it again, it is here.


Steve Bates chats with Dan Mahony, Fund Manager at Polar Capital, about his reflections on the JP Morgan Conference.

Steve Bates, BIA Chief Executive Officer, provides an update on the key issues for the BIA and its members including clinical trials transparency and the European court cases, the Patent Box, the Queen’s speech, early access to medicines, the Biomedical Catalyst and upcoming BIA events.

Steve Bates, BIA Chief Executive Officer, provides an update on the key issues for the BIA and its members including Citizens’ Innovation Funds, the Biomedical Catalyst, the National Biologics Industry Innovation Centre, the Strategy for UK Life Sciences – One Year On and European Clinical Trials Regulation.