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The following guest blog is from Sarah Goulding of Innovate UK’s Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN). Sarah explains a new £15m Innovate UK funding competition to drive innovation in medicines manufacturing. This was announced alongside this week’s Life Sciences Industrial Strategy and reflects many calls the BIA has made both individually and as part of the Medicines Manufacturing Industry Partnership. It is great to see SMEs at the forefront of these announcements and this new funding competition.

The launch of the £15m medicines manufacturing round 1: challenge fund competition will be welcomed by the industry, in particular members of Medicines Manufacturing Industry Partnership (MMIP) and the Advanced Therapies Manufacturing Taskforce. This funding call is part of the delivery plan for the first wave of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) and the Leading Edge Healthcare challenge, initially defined in the April  UK government announcement and includes £146m investments in support of medicines manufacturing technologies.

The funding competition has a wide-ranging scope yet gives a clear message that through the ISCF and wider strategy, funding bodies such as Innovate UK and the Research Councils are responding to enable industry to accelerate innovation opportunities in the UK that will yield economic benefit in the long term.

KTN have been closely involved in these discussions and deliberations from the start, as a partner in the MMIP which recently published its Roadmap, and during the delivery of the work of the Advanced Therapies Manufacturing Taskforce, as well as our work directly with large companies, SMEs and the supply chain, and the associated trade associations, the BioIndustry Association (BIA) and Association of British Pharmaceutical Industries (ABPI).

Collaborative R&D funding of this nature, similar to the Catalyst funding in Industrial Biotechnology and the Biomedical sector, will enable the UK to grow and capture the value chain from earlier stage investments in medicines R+D. The Biomedical Catalyst has been well received by industry as being instrumental in the drive to support the development of a new pipeline of molecules and technologies and highly successful in leveraging substantial private sector funding. The medicines manufacturing call will further enable companies to invest in developing scaled up approaches or improvement of manufacturing processes for these novel molecules with a view to providing medicines at cheaper cost to patients.

Investment aimed at accelerating translational research and development, will also support job creation, knowledge transfer, skills development and innovation for the UK that will bolster our position to harness larger commercial manufacturing investments for new complex medicines in the future.

KTN is on standby to support innovative companies looking to access funding through this call to propel their innovations forward.  Join us at this event or by webinar for the full Innovate UK briefing event.

Author – Dr Jon Moore, Chief Scientific Officer and Head of Translational Science, Horizon Discovery

CRISPR made another break out from the technical literature to the popular press this month with a story about mice with skin grafts engineered to express the insulin regulating hormone GLP1.

Xiaoyang Wu’s group at the University of Chicago published an impressive paper in Cell Stem Cell where they reported the engineering of epidermal stem cells to express a long half-life version of glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP1). After engraftment in immunologically compatible mice, the skin grafts were able to increase insulin levels and reduce the weight gain and insulin resistance imposed by a high fat diet.

Exciting news, but is this technology likely to be deployed in the treatment of type 2 diabetes any time soon? It seems doubtful. While discovery phase research with gene editing technology might be cheaper than a typical medicinal chemistry project, the costs incurred in development will likely be similar, and the cost of goods much higher than small molecule drugs or biologicals. Skin grafts would ideally need to be autologous to avoid the need for immunosuppressants, which would mean a labour intensive process of stem cell isolation and engineering has to be performed for each patient. For an indication as prevalent as diabetes, these costs would seem to be crippling.

However, for rarer life-threatening indications where small molecule drugs and biologics have limited impact, the regulatory barriers and economics look far more favourable, especially for gene editing therapies that can provide long-term or lifelong treatments. Particularly if these treatments can be delivered in vivo, rather than through the ex-vivo editing of cells, then the cost per patient will be considerably reduced although there are likely to be significant up-front costs associated with the discovery and development of the treatment.

With the rapid pace of advances in CRISPR/Cas9, the economic and regulatory barriers to the wide deployment of gene therapy and gene editing currently appear to be greater than the technical challenges of discovery and development. Hence an argument can be made that the greatest immediate impact of this technology on patients will come from productivity increases that it is bringing to drug discovery, both for its use in target ID and validation, and in the greater resolution and understanding it allows of biological and pathological processes in academic research.

Note: Horizon is hosting a meeting in Dublin on 17-18 October, bringing together leaders in the field of CRISPR to explore the potential for advances in drug development and therapeutics brought about by progress in gene editing technology. With a substantial proportion of the oral programme given over to talks selected from submitted abstracts to discuss innovative ideas, and a focus on closing the gap between new developments in CRISPR technology and application in life sciences, we hope that the CRISPR Forum will be an exciting event for anyone working in the field. More information on the programme and how to register can be found here.

In this edition:

  • Further developments in the IP Group and Touchstone Innovations takeover
  • The start of the critically important Patient Capital Review Consultation
  • We explain what a NOMAD is
  • Sphere Medical is our Deal of the Month
  • Our Investor infoshot is on SV Health Investors.

 

Patient Capital Review Consultation

In November 2016, the Chancellor announced the Patient Capital review. The aim of the review was to “identify barriers to access to long-term finance for growing firms, supported by an advisory panel led by Sir Damon Buffini”. This is critical to the ongoing success of the UK’s biotech sector. The consultation paper was published in early August and the BIA is keen to get comments to shape its response to the paper.

What does the review’s consultation paper include?

Entitled, “Financing growth in innovative firms”, it takes an in-depth look at the current availability of finance in the UK for knowledge-intensive businesses, examines existing schemes to encourage investment into higher risk areas, and analyses the root-causes of low investment and short-termism for knowledge-intensive companies.  It proposes initiatives that could remedy the problem in accessing capital. This review defines patient capital as “long-term investment (acknowledging that in some sectors this can be up to 15 years), in innovative firms that are producing new-to-market products and run by ambitious entrepreneurs who want to build large-scale businesses”. As called for in the BIA’s Industrial Strategy paper, the review addresses scale-up capital as well as long-term investment. The review concurs with BIA’s evidence in its annual finance review, that although the UK has world class research and good support for businesses in early stage, there is a need for greater later-stage funding for life sciences businesses to scale up and grow independently.

Helpfully for the sector, two BIA members are represented on the Industry Panel: Kym Lynn Denny, CEO, hVIVO PLC and Dr Fiona Marshall, FMedSci Chief Scientific Officer & Co-founder, Heptares Therapeutics Ltd. A number of well-respected life sciences investors are also on the panel, including Neil Woodford and, the acting CEO of Oxford Science Innovations, David Norwood.

What does the consultation paper conclude?

The lack of critical mass in parts of the UK’s capital markets is identified as the root cause of inefficient capital allocation.  As a result, the government has proposed a series of initiatives that could address this problem.

What does this mean for UK Biotech?

For the UK’s biotech investors and businesses, it is vital that there is long term support. Without support following Brexit, the UK’s knowledge intensive industries could lose access to significant funding which it had traditionally received from the European Investment Fund via Venture Capital firms. We discussed this in more detail in our July blog. If you would like to input to the BIA’s consultation response please contact Martin Turner, BIA Policy and Projects Manager. 

UK government funding via the British Business Bank, and possibly through other routes, could help cement the UK’s biotech sector as the 3rd global cluster and make it a key destination for bio-investing.

IP Group/Touchstone Innovations – rumbling on.

We covered the IP Group attempt to acquire Touchstone Innovations in our July blog. The news rumbles on. The latest bulletin on 17th August saw the withdrawal of one of the hoped-for investors in IP Group’s latest funding round, Beijing Galaxy World Group Co. Ltd. (after the Chinese government effectively vetoed their plans).  That means IP Group will have raised £23.1m less than originally anticipated. In the same announcement, IP Group confirmed that the 2.2178 new IP Group shares per Touchstone share offer is still on the table. Despite Touchstone Innovations forthright response to the offer, published on 1st August: “The Board [of Touchstone Innovations] considers the Offer to be a hostile offer and believes that the terms continue to fundamentally undervalue Touchstone on a stand-alone basis and fail to reflect the key strengths of the business”, Touchstone’s independence remains on shaky ground.  The situation in now on a timetable and will be resolved by mid-September.

Jargon of the Month: NOMAD

You may have heard the term NOMAD bandied around by bankers. What does it mean and why is it important to understand what a NOMAD is?

What is a NOMAD?

A NOMAD is a “nominated advisor for the Alternative Investment Market (AIM)”. The London Stock Exchange approves a company as a NOMAD that has: practiced corporate finance for two years; been a financial advisor in three qualified transactions in two years; and must employ at least four “qualified executives”.  A NOMAD is there to help a new company in its AIM admission by (see London Stock Exchange):

  • Undertaking extensive due diligence to ensure a company is suitable for AIM
  • Providing guidance throughout the flotation process
  • Preparing the company for being on a public market
  • Helping prepare the AIM admission document
  • Confirming appropriateness of the company to the Exchange
  • Acting as the primary regulator throughout a company’s time on AIM.

Why is this important?

If you are considering a listing on AIM, you must use an investment bank that has qualified as a NOMAD. This will ensure that all the advice you receive is appropriate for your listing, and that, most critically, you have complied by AIM rules. The LSE keeps a list of NOMADs which you can check here.

Deal of the Month: Sphere Medical

While the summer months can be relatively quiet for the UK’s finance community, there have been a few interesting deals. Most have been small, or in preliminary stages such as Clinigen’s potential acquisition of Quanta Pharma while the largest was AstraZeneca’s US$8.5bn mega-deal with Merck & Co for certain oncology assets, announced on the same day as the failure of the MYSTIC trial.

Our focus, though is on Sphere Medical’s decision to go private. On 21st August 2017, Sphere Medical announced an £8m investment: £4m from Woodford Investment Management, £1m from the Wales Life Sciences Investment Fund and the rest from other shareholders. Without the fundraising, and despite the £3m loan from Silicon Valley Bank in January 2017, Sphere would have run out of money by late September 2017. At the same time, Sphere will delist its shares and take the company private.

Why is Sphere going private?

Sphere has found it difficult to raise money in the public markets to progress its strategy, and at the same time cannot grow its orders without working capital. This option is likely to be the most reasonable way for the company to be able to progress its business model and raise money from Woodford. At the same time, it will be restructuring its business to reduce cash burn, and so removing the additional costs of an AIM listing will be welcome.

 

Introducing the Investor – SV Health Investors

This month, we introduce one of the best known and highly-regarded healthcare and life sciences venture capital and growth equity investors, SV Health Investors. SV Health Investors, formerly known as SV Life Sciences, has 20 years’ experience investing in Life Sciences (across all three sub-sectors: Medical Devices, Biotechnology, and Healthcare Services and Digital Health). It has over US$2bn under management across seven private healthcare funds. This includes its famous “Dementia Discovery Fund” for which SV won the mandate in August 2015.  US$100m was raised in a partnership between GSK, J&J, Pfizer, Biogen, Lilly and Takeda, the UK’s Department of Health and the charity Alzheimer’s Research UK, with Astex a more recent joiner. The aim is “to deliver new drug approaches for dementia by 2025 to diagnose and intervene early to modify the course of disease while improving symptoms and thereby laying the foundations for effective therapies.”

The most recent fund raised by SV Health Investors closed its raise in April at US$400m. “It will invest in and support early-stage opportunities in biotechnology; early-stage and revenue-stage opportunities in medical devices; and growth equity opportunities with healthcare services and digital health companies.”

SV Health Investors also work closely with companies it invests in, aiming to help support them in the growth of their businesses. One of the ways it does this is through its Venture Partner Program – all the entrepreneurs are highly experienced in building businesses and use their expertise to help SV’s investee companies.

This communication should not be regarded as investment research and does not constitute any recommendations to buy or sell shares.

 

This is the latest update from the Medicines Manufacturing Industry Partnership. If you have any feedback on the content or information here then please email us at MMIP@bioindustry.org. If you have any colleagues you feel would be interested in learning more about the work of MMIP then please ask them to get in touch with us or sign up to our mailing list here.

The Technology and Innovation Road Map

MMIP has launched its Technology and Innovation Road Map. This makes recommendations to protect and grow UK medicines manufacturing in order to maintain the UK’s leading position in an increasingly competitive global landscape. Specifically, it calls for strategic investment in complementary technology centres, funded through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

New Cogent work experience guides

Cogent Skills, with the support of the Medicines Manufacturing Industry Partnership have developed a work experience toolkit for employers that are looking to take on young people, particularly in the form of Apprenticeships and Industrial Placements. The toolkit provides a structure to allow the young person to receive maximum benefit from their time with the employer.

Fiscal paper

Richard  Turner, who leads FTI Consulting’s life sciences practice, writes about the MMIP’s fiscal paper which demonstrates the attractiveness of the UK tax environment for medicines manufacturing.

Life Sciences Industrial Strategy

We are expecting to see the publication of the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy in the coming weeks. MMIP has fed heavily into the manufacturing sections of this strategy.

New MMIP promotional materials

Coming to a conference near you soon, the MMIP has developed branded pens and USB credit-card drives.

Funding opportunities

  • BioIndustry Association
    A summary of funding opportunities is available on the BIA website.

Upcoming activity

Please contact us at MMIP@bioindustry.org or join our LinkedIn group at http://bia.me/MMIP_LinkedIn. View the KTN’s medicines manufacturing landscape map here. If you have any colleagues you feel would be interested in learning more about the work of MMIP then please ask them to get in touch with us or sign up to our mailing list here.

Andy Evans

The blood brain barrier is essential for good health, but prevents many medicines reaching the brain. How do you get past this biological barrier?

Over recent months, several exciting NHS funding opportunities have been announced which is great news for the sector. As well as new competitions that encourage medical innovation, the government announced £86m in funding for new medicine and technology. Speaking in his keynote address at the joint BIA and MHRA conference on 14 July, Lord O’Shaughnessy revealed the major government investment that will speed up patient access to innovative medicines and technology. This will help small UK companies get their innovations into the NHS more quickly to benefit patients – something the BIA has long campaigned for.

This funding will be divided into the following four packages:

  • £39 million of funding to the Academic Health Science Networks (ASHNs), enabling them to assess the benefits of new technologies and support NHS uptake of those that deliver real benefits to patients according to the local need
  • £35 million Digital Health Technology Catalyst for innovators – this will match-fund the development of digital technologies for use by patients and the NHS
  • up to £6 million over the next three years to help SMEs with innovative medicines and devices get the evidence they need by testing in the real world, building on existing opportunities such as the Early Access to Medicine Scheme (EAMS)
  • £6 million Pathway Transformation Fund, which will help NHS organisations integrate new technologies into everyday practices – this will help overcome more practical obstacles such as training staff on how to use new equipment

You can find out more about the funding here and our response to the announcement here.

As well as this significant injection of funding, the NHS is currently running competitions to further encourage innovation.

The latest three opportunities are:

NICE – AdviSeME Prize

The NICE AdviSeME Prize is specifically aimed at SMEs, charities, and academic research groups and offers the winning applicant a free Light Scientific Advice service (valued at £15,000) that will:

  • Provide detailed feedback on the company’s evidence generation plans from a NICE perspective
  • Help to integrate cost-effectiveness considerations into the company’s evidence generation plans
  • Provide insights from NICE-appointed experts
  • Help the company to prepare for future NICE evaluations of their product

The competition for the NICE AdviSeME Prize is now open. Find out more here.

Innovation and Technology Payment – Call for Applications 

Launched at the National Confederation Conference by Simon Stevens on 15th June 2017 and as part of NHS England’s commitment to the Five Year Forward View, NHS England has developed the Innovation and Technology Payment (ITP) 2018/19. The aim of the ITP is to help deliver on the commitment detailed within the Five Year Forward View – creating the conditions and cultural change necessary for proven innovations to be adopted faster and more systematically through the NHS, and to deliver examples into practice for demonstrable patient and population benefit. The application process is now open.

Successful innovation or technology themes will be identified through a competitive process and NHS England will then identify ways of supporting adoption of these across the NHS, for example through introducing a reimbursement for usage or centrally procuring items. Find out more here.

Diagnosing cancer earlier and faster: apply for funding 

A total of up to £1.1 million is available to UK businesses for projects that transform screening and speed up the diagnosis of cancer.

NHS England is to invest in new innovative ideas to:

  • transform cancer screening
  • enable earlier and faster diagnosis of cancer

Read the full announcement here and visit the competition website here.

You can view all of the funding opportunities on our website here.

 

By Centre of the Cell

Wartime Medicine and Innovation, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, has brought together a team of young people aged 14-18 from across east London to investigate the WW1 medical history of the East End.

They have used what they learned on three different projects: a medical history trail, a family workshop and creating animations. The project is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and delivered in partnership with the Royal London Hospital Museum and Archives, and the Science Museum.

After conducting research at the Royal London Hospital Museum and Archives and the Science Museum Archives, the young people worked with Lorena from The Art Trolley to create stop-motion animations about medical innovations arising from WW1.

This involved the young people exploring their artistic skills – take a look at their animations to see how they got on!

Last week, the government published its long-awaited public consultation for the Patient Capital Review. Entitled, Financing growth in innovative firms, it takes an in-depth look at the current availability of finance in the UK, the root-causes of low investment and short-termism, and proposes initiatives that could remedy the problem. The BIA will be responding and we are keen to hear your views to inform our submission.

What is the Patient Capital Review?

In November 2016, the Chancellor announced a review to “identify barriers to access to long-term finance for growing firms, supported by an advisory panel led by Sir Damon Buffini”. The public consultation was expected earlier this year but was delayed by the general election.

The review defines patient capital as: long-term investment (acknowledging that in some sectors this can be as long as 10 to 15 years), in innovative firms that are producing new to market products and run by ambitious entrepreneurs who want to build large-scale businesses. As called for in the BIA’s industrial strategy paper, the focus of the review is very much on scale-up capital as well as long-term investment.

The BIA met with the Treasury team in January to discuss the review in its early stages and hosted an open discussion event for members in April. We have also facilitated stakeholder meetings for the Treasury and Office for Life Sciences, and two BIA members are on Sir Damon’s industry advisory panel.

The scale of the challenge

The analysis in the consultation document is extensive and certainly worth reading. It estimates the gap in UK venture capital provision to be £4 billion compared to the US, meaning the challenge is to double the current total VC available. It shows that the UK matches the US for number of investments (adjusted for the size of the economy) but they are typically much smaller, especially in later funding rounds. The life sciences is highlighted as a sector that particularly struggles to attract sufficiently-sized successive funding rounds and often exits through trade sales rather than scaling-up.

A lack of critical mass in parts of the UK’s capital markets is identified as the root cause, which results in inefficient capital allocation (pages 29-34). The document also looks at the different sources of capital, which are each impeded by different barriers to investing for the long-term (pages 35-42).

Proposed solutions

The government proposes a series of initiatives that could address the challenges the report identifies:

  • A large new government-backed National Investment Fund to provide patient capital, this would replace or complement the European Investment Fund and could operate as a public-private evergreen vehicle, a fund of funds, a standalone fund of purely government money managed by the British Business Bank, or simply an increase in BBB funds distributed through existing programmes
  • Working with the Financial Conduct Authority to reduce regulatory barriers to setting up new patient capital funds (like IP Group and Touchstone), which the government believes pose specific challenges due to their atypical approach to investing
  • Encouraging pension funds to allocate a proportion of their money to patient capital (they state there are no regulatory/legal barriers to this and it is purely cultural risk aversion that could potentially be remedied through a communications exercise or similar)
  • Increasing investor capability, for example by using government funds to attract and nurture new fund managers
  • Increasing retail investment through reliefs, however the government is minded not to do this as it calculates that option 1 (a fund) is a more cost-effective means of encouraging investment. Specifically, it rules out an ISA-like vehicle to increase retail investment 

Help inform the BIA’s response

We will be responding to the consultation, expanding on the challenges that biotech companies face raising capital, commenting on the proposals and highlighting other BIA policies that could support our sector. We are keen to hear your views to inform our response, in particular:

  1. Which, if any, of the government’s proposed structures for the National Investment Fund is preferable, and what other rules should be applied to the fund to ensure it best supports the biotech sector and grows the investor base?
  2. How can the number of specialist fund managers knowledgeable in the life sciences be increased in the UK, and how can existing ones be supported to raise greater sums of capital to invest?
  3. What changes to existing schemes, especially Venture Capital Trusts, can be made to target more money into patient capital investments?
  4. How can pension and insurance funds be encouraged to invest in innovative businesses (including through intermediary investment vehicles) that are perceived to be riskier, long-term investments?
  5. Later and larger fundraises (for scale-up) are identified to be a notable UK weakness, how can this be addressed?

We are keen to hear your views on these questions and any other thoughts you have on the Patient Capital Review. Please email Martin Turner.  

Further information

The consultation document and further information can be found on the government’s website.

If you’re an investor, you can join us for a special panel event on 29 September to discuss the Patient Capital Review and other factors that will impact the growth of the UK biotech sector in the coming years. We’ll be joined by ex-science and Treasury minister Lord David Willetts to give his personal insight and experience, alongside other experts on the sector. Go to the BIA website for more information and to register.

Last month, we published our quarterly update report ‘Influencing and shaping our sector’. This latest report gives an overview of key policy developments and the BIA’s continued engagement with policymakers, regulatory authorities and wider stakeholders on behalf of the UK life sciences industry from April-July 2017.

The report covers a busy quarter for the sector, which included the snap general election that led to the Conservative Party losing its parliamentary majority. Before the election the BIA published a series of blogs looking at the election and what different outcomes could mean for the industry. Following the result, we also issued a press release with our response and wrote a blog on the result and its impact on our sector. Staying with politics, in July, we held our 17th Annual Parliament Day that brought together senior representatives from the UK’s life science industry and policy makers in Westminster.

Parliament Day 3

The report also highlights our work on Brexit, which has resulted in some welcome developments from government, in particular Jeremy Hunt MP and Greg Clark MP’s letter to the FT stating that the UK government would pursue co-operation with the EU on medicines regulation post-Brexit (industry responded with this letter). Later that month on 14 July, Lord O’Shaughnessy, Under Secretary of State for Health, gave a keynote address on the future of medicines regulation at the annual joint BIA and MHRA.

Lord O_Shaughnessy

In terms of finance, tax and investment, the BIA published its annual finance report ‘Building something great: UK’s Global Bioscience Cluster 2016’, which demonstrates that the UK maintained its strong leadership position in European biotech funding in 2016 and has the strongest pipeline for future drug development in Europe. Furthermore, the UK is in a strong position to close the gap on the leading US life sciences clusters and maintain its European lead if current momentum can be sustained. A total of £1.13 billion was raised by UK-based biotech companies from private and public sources in 2016.

UK proportion of venture capital raised in Europe

This quarter’s report also celebrates BIA CEO Steve Bate’s award of an OBE for innovation that he received on 16 June at Buckingham Palace. Steve even promoted the bioscience sector at his investiture, wearing a tie made from synthetic spider silk.

Steve

The full report goes into more detail on all of these topics, as well as our work around areas including skills, people and talent, intellectual property and technology transfer and medicine regulation. You can read the report here.

Last week the Treasury launched its ‘Financing growth in innovative firms’ consultation, which seeks views on how to increase the supply of capital to growing innovative firms. The consultation is part of the Patient Capital Review and closes on Friday 22 September. This is a critical piece of work that we hope could lead to a step-change in financial support for our sector. The BIA has been engaged with the Treasury since the review was announced in the later part of 2016 and we will also be formally responding to the consultation. Keep an eye out on our blog for your opportunity to input. You can find out more about the consultation here.

There’s more for you to get involved with this week. The ScaleUp Institute, of which the BIA is the life science member, is conducting a business survey as part of its ongoing work to focus attention on the UK’s high growth firms to ensure that the UK is the best place in the world for companies to both start up and scale-up. It’s vital that our sector is represented in this work as our business models are often somewhat different in scale and timescale to the average app developer.  Please consider using a summer 15 minutes to complete the survey here.

Applications also opened last week for two competitions in this year’s Biomedical Catalyst. Innovate UK and the Medical Research Council (MRC) will invest up to £12 million in new and novel healthcare solutions. The competitions are for UK micro, small and medium-sized enterprises for feasibility and early stage projects. You can read all of the competition information here.

Staying with Innovate UK, the organisation is working on a campaign around women and innovation and recently presented a UK female entrepreneur role models exhibition. The exhibition included a health and life science section which featured entrepreneurs including Fiona Marston, CEO of Absynth Biologics. Fiona features in Innovate UK’s video ‘What’s it like to be a female entrepreneur in the health tech sector?’ which featured in Friday’s BIA video showcase. Watch the video here.

You may have seen our blog last month on the publication of Home Office’s ‘annual statistics on the number of animals being used in research’ report for 2016. The NC3Rs is launching its CRACK IT Challenges at an event on 7 September in central London. There will be three CRACK IT challenges and the event will provide the opportunity to find out more meet the sponsors and potential collaborators, and find out what makes a good application. You can find out more and register for the event here.

In case you missed it last week, we are now inviting nominations from senior individuals from BIA members interested in joining the BIA Board. Nominations must be received by close of business on Wednesday 6 September 2017. If interested the details are all here in last week’s update.

Unless industry news compels us otherwise Newscast will now take a summer break and be back with you after the August Bank Holiday.