This week, election campaigning reaches a climax with the election on Thursday and the BIA will be keeping a close eye on what changes come through and what they will mean for the industry. The policy team will keep you updated this week and next and all members should have received the BIA election pack last Friday which analysed all of the key party manifestos and looked at who is standing – if you haven’t received this then please email Kelly Oxenham who has just joined the BIA as our new Communications Executive.

Following our blog analysing the three main parties’ manifestos, our policy team has also put together a round up of the SNP manifesto and what it means for the biotech sector. In contrast to the manifestos of the three main parties, the SNP’s does not specifically mention bioscience. However, other sector-relevant policies around for example, the EU single market and Scottish government health spending are included. You can find out more in our blog here.

Another blog worth a read is our update on potential new MPs to keep an eye on in our blog ‘Further potential life sciences champions to watch for on Election night’. Constituencies of note include Cambridge, Edinburgh South and Birmingham Edgbaston. You can read more about the candidates here.

After the new government has been elected, we’ll be hosting our Parliament Day on 6 July, where CEOs can meet with MPs, ministers and civil servants to discuss the issues affecting them. Our Summer Reception will follow the event, where you can network with fellow industry professionals over a drink at the IET Savoy Place. We hope you can join us for what promises to be a fantastic evening.

As well as all of the policy work around the election, the BIA continues to dedicate considerable efforts to preparing for Brexit. Last week, EMA and the European Commission published regulatory guidance for the biotech industry to prepare companies for Brexit in the form of a Q&A document. The EMA is preparing a series of further guidance documents, which will be published on its website.  We welcome the efforts of the European Commission and the EMA in helping life science companies to consider the potential implications of Brexit and prepare for the future. However, as the Brexit negotiations between the UK and EU have yet to start and their ultimate outcome is unknown, so it seems premature to advise companies to prepare only for one outcome where the UK is outside from the European medicines regulatory system. Our regulatory conference, with the MHRA is on July 14th (click here to see the agenda and book).

Continuing the international representation of UK biotech, there is the annual BIO International Convention on 19-22 June. Ahead of the conference, we are hosting the webinar ‘Getting the most from BIO’ on 7 June, which will provide an outline of the main BIO networking events, the UK delegation activities, UK sessions/keynotes and general tips to help plan your time effectively. You can register for the webinar here.

Finally, the BIA offices have just undergone a refurb. When you next pop in you’ll see that our fresh new office now makes better use of space, draws more natural light and offers a collaborative working environment. We look forward to welcoming our members to the new space.

Continuous bioprocessing for biologics manufacturing is being adopted in the biopharmaceutical industry by big players such as Merck. Pall Life Sciences has partnered with Merck to help bring this innovative technology platform to fruition.
In this webinar, Pall’s development journey in continuous bioprocessing will be described along with highlights of recent technology advances
Merck will present the development of a continuous Protein A chromatography process step using KANEKA KanCapA™ for the capture of a therapeutic mAb.

It is less than a week to go before the General Election on 8 June. Today, we complement our previous blogs on re-standing and retiring MPs and possible life sciences champions by having a further look at potential new faces in Westminster that may be of interest to the life sciences.

Cambridge – Dr Julian Huppert

Liberal Democrat candidate Huppert represented Cambridge between 2010-15. He lost his seat to Labour’s Daniel Zeichner by a narrow 599 votes. Huppert was born and raised in Cambridge and gained a PhD in Biological Chemistry at Cambridge University.

Before becoming an MP, he worked as a research scientist at the university and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. As an MP, he was a board member of the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology and sat on the Home Affairs Select Committee. He currently works on science and technology policy at Cambridge University.

Wirral South – Dr Adam Sykes

Conservative candidate Sykes is up against sitting Labour MP Alison McGovern, who has a 4,599 majority. Sykes holds an MChem in Chemistry with Pharmacology from the University of Liverpool and was awarded a PhD in Chemistry in 2009 from the same institution. He is currently a director of a local software company and has been a councillor on Wirral Council since 2011.

Edinburgh South – Jim Eadie

SNP candidate Eadie was MSP for Edinburgh Southern constituency from 2011-16. In the 2016 Scottish Parliament election, he was defeated by Labour’s Daniel Johnson. He is now running against Labour’s Ian Murray, who has a 2,637 majority.

Eadie has a strong past in the health sector. Before entering politics, he was the head of the medicines industry trade body ABPI Scotland for five years. He has also worked for the Royal College of Nursing. During his time in the Scottish Parliament, he served as Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Cities Strategy 2011-12 and was a Member of the Health and Sport Select Committee between 2011-12.

Hartlepool – Mike Hill

Following Labour MP Iain Wright’s retirement, Hill is Labour’s candidate for the Hartlepool constituency. Hill inherits a majority of 3,024 votes. He is a long-term supporter of the NHS and was a regional organiser for Unison.

Blaydon – Liz Twist

Labour candidate Twist was selected to defend Labour MP David Anderson’s decision to stand down. Twist inherits a 14,227 majority and has previously worked as Regional Head of Health for Unison. She has warned the NHS had come to a crossroads and was outspoken on the need for increase staff numbers to meet quality patient care.

Birmingham Edgbaston – Preet Gill

Labour candidate Gill was selected to stand in the constituency after Labour MP Gisela Stuart stood down. Gill inherits a majority of 2,706. After becoming a Sandwell councillor in 2012, Gill was appointed Cabinet Member for Public Health and Protection. She has made the NHS the centre point of her campaign and vowed to stand up for people in the Edgbaston constituency by “giving the NHS the money it needs”.

Given the links these candidates have to our sector, it will be interesting to follow their constituencies on election day.

We also want to highlight that party leaders have sent letters to the Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE) expressing their support for science and innovation. In their letters, the Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat, Scottish National Parties and Plaid Cymru wrote to CaSE to stress that science and innovation is the key to a successful UK. These letters further build on the support outlined in the party manifestos and it is great to see that the life sciences continue to receive cross-party support.

See here for our analysis of the Conservative, Labour, and Liberal Democrat Parties’ manifestos and the SNP manifesto here.

In times of political and economic uncertainty, cohesion is crucial, as highlighted in the BIA’s recent ‘Now More Than Ever’ position paper. In this context, the UK’s leading autism research charity, Autistica, is launching a ground-breaking Autism Research Network this September.

Autistica’s Autism Research Network (ARN) will link leading universities for autism research to individual members such as autism researchers, families, autistic adults and doctors.

By driving collaboration and increasing communication between world-leading autism experts, the ARN will maximise research efficiency, accelerate innovation and drive a step-change in autism science. We have the opportunity to make the UK globally attractive to industry, biotech and devices companies wanting to develop new products to improve the lives of autistic people.


The autistic population is one of the most disadvantaged groups in society. Autistic people are at increased risk of premature death from virtually every cause and many are highly medicated and face unique healthcare challenges. Yet very few trials of any kind include autistic people.

The UK is unique in its position as a world leader in autism research with an NHS open to all. Yet barriers remain which means too little progress is being made at too slow a pace. The ARN is an unprecedented opportunity to build momentum behind autism research.

What will the network do?

Network activity  What this will achieve
1) Bringing experts together

The UK’s first annual scientific conference on autism.

Scientific summits on the top priorities of the autism community, including global science leaders.

Regular meetings of all autism research funders.

· Develop a national autism research strategy.

· Increase collaboration and communication between autism researchers.

· Focus all research funders on key priorities.

· Generate innovative ideas in strategic areas of need.

2) Working and sharing together

Grants for projects which demonstrate genuine collaboration between institutions and/or between academia and the autism community.

Shared infrastructure such as tools, cohorts and datasets across Centres.

· Coordinate research initiatives and minimise duplication of effort.

· Pair researchers with different skillsets, bridging skills gaps.

· Increase the quality and quantity of research proposals.

· Maximise research efficiency.


3) Involving the community 

A system for the autism community to have their say in autism research. 

Support for researchers and Centres to hold local science engagement events for families, such as talks.

Campaigns for greater government investment.

· Ensure what gets funded is what matters most to people affected by autism.

· Increase dialogue between researchers and the community, so families understand new scientific discoveries and the importance of research.

· Raise the profile of autism research at a national level through families and researchers.


4)  Growing future leaders 

Investing in the future of autism research by training the next generation of autism research leaders, including autistic researchers.


·  Nurture the next generation of research leaders.

· Increase the accessibility of a career in autism research for future pioneers.

· Enable more autistic people to lead their own research studies.

5)     Supporting families 

The network’s public face will be the Gateway, an online portal for the whole community to learn more about autism research and how they can be involved.

· Offer families information on the latest trials and tools on specific topics such as mental health and wellbeing.

· Create the go-to resource for autism research, both for researchers and the autism community.

Autistica is keen that small, medium and large biotech and biopharma companies can contribute to and benefit from this research infrastructure. The network will allow you to understand the autism community’s views, needs and desires. We want to support autistic involvement in research from the beginning. We can help you recruit from this often-excluded group, harnessing assets like our world-leading child and adult cohort databases.

Research is the only way to give families the answers they desperately need. Through the Network, we can and will achieve longer, happier, healthier lives for everyone affected by autism. We invite you to join us on this transformative journey. Please contact Jon Spiers, Autistica Chief Executive, on to find out more.

Today, the Scottish National Party (SNP) published its manifesto, which means that the UK’s four biggest parties have now published their manifestos for the General Election on 8 June. Last week, the BIA’s policy team looked at what the Conservative, Labour, and Liberal Democrat Parties’ manifestos mean for the life sciences. Here, we look at what the SNP manifesto says about the life sciences.

The SNP manifesto state that the party “will hold the Tories to account, making sure they cannot trade away Scotland’s industries in Brexit negotiations”. While the manifesto does not contain a guarantee of a second independence referendum, the SNP stresses that if the party wins a majority of Scottish seats the case for another referendum would be immensely strengthened. The manifesto refers to this as a “triple lock”, building on last year’s Holyrood election and the Scottish Parliament’s recent vote.

Unlike the other parties, which all clearly recognise the importance of the life sciences, the SNP manifesto does not explicitly mention the sector. Nonetheless, noteworthy policies for the life sciences include:

  • Staying part of the EU Single Market
  • Calling on the UK government to stay part of the European Medicines Agency (EMA), as losing access to the EMA “through Brexit means that there may be delays to new medicines becoming available in the UK”
  • Devolving responsibility for medicine and medical product regulation to the Scottish Parliament
  • Pressing the UK government to match current Scottish government spending per head on health (this would increase NHS England’s investment by £11bn by the end of Parliament)
  • Seek clarity from the UK government on how EU funding schemes like Horizon 2020 will be replaced
  • Calling for a Scottish representative to be a standing member of the UK Research and Innovation Board
  • Seek to devolve immigration powers to Scotland, reintroduce a Post-Study Work Visa scheme for international graduates, and oppose a Skills Immigration Charge
  • Calling for clear guidance and mandate for the Small Business Commissioner for their role in delivering the Industrial Strategy

The General Election is now just over a week away and we will be sharing all of our election analysis with you in a mailing at the end of the week.

In this week’s update: BIA CEO and Investor Forum, what the party manifestos mean for the sector, BIA finance report published and Summer Networking Reception details.

It was great to catch up with so many of you at the CEO and Investor Forum in Oxford last week. There were fascinating panels looking at investment from the East and how UK biotech can attract this funding, exploring the changes taking place under Trump in the USA and hearing from CEOs and the finance community about how we can continue to grow the sector here in the UK. Our lifetime achievement award winner, Kate Bingham also took part in an excellent fireside chat before the dinner on the first evening to share her views on the sector and the challenges for 2017. There were some fantastic company presentations from BIA members  that demonstrated the wealth of cutting edge biotech taking place here in the UK and offered investors some exciting opportunities to get further involved with the sector. If you attended the day then please fill in the feedback form to let us know what you thought of the day so we can make sure that we tailor this event to suit your needs.  We will be covering some of the key themes from the day on the BIA blog over the coming weeks.

On Wednesday, at the Forum, we launched our finance report Building something great: UK’s Global Bioscience Cluster 2016, which demonstrates that the UK is on track to build the world’s third global biotech cluster. The report also shows 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. These achievements are thanks to the excellent science produced by our entrepreneurial and resilient community that is staffed by great management teams with the capability to tackle the challenges of working in a global environment. We will be working with our data partner Informa to update the statistics on a quarterly basis so we can share a more current snapshot of biotech financing with members and we’ll keep you posted on when the next update will be due.

The Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat Parties have now published their manifestos for the upcoming General Election. I’m pleased to see that our campaigning as an industry is having real impact, with all three parties committed to furthering UK science innovation. The parties also pledged to continue or increase investment in the sector and to increase NHS funding. For more detail, you can read our policy team’s blog on the manifestos and what they mean for the life sciences.

On 6 July, we’ll be hosting our Summer Networking Reception in London. The reception will provide an excellent opportunity to unwind and network following our Parliament Day event at Westminster. Join us on the roof-top terrace at the IET Savoy Place for stunning views, great company and excellent food. I hope to see you there.



An introduction to 14 diseases commonly treated by MSF. In this video we look at the history of antibiotic resistance.


The Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat Parties published their manifestos last week. In this blog, the BIA’s policy team looks at what the manifestos for this crucial general election will offer the life sciences. Below, we focus on policy areas where there is agreement between the three parties, but have also included some other noteworthy policies.

Life science topics the parties (mostly) agree on

The Conservatives aim to build on the UK’s outstanding science base to make it “the most innovative country in the world”; Labour wants to create “an innovation nation”; and the Lib Dems recognised that “research is vital for our long-term prosperity, security and wellbeing”. It is fantastic to see that the campaigning the BIA, our members and partners are doing has kept science high on the political agenda.

The Conservatives and Labour have committed to a long-term goal of the UK investing three percent of GDP in R&D. Similarly, the Lib Dems have pledged to protect the science budget, with a long-term aim to double innovation and research spending across the economy. In addition, both Labour and the Lib Dems want the UK to continue to have access to EU-funded projects such as Horizon 2020.

All three parties agree that the NHS needs more funding, although they disagree on the amount. Labour has committed the most money compared to the other parties with £30bn over five years to the NHS and an additional £8bn to social care. The Lib Dems will allocate £6bn per year to the NHS and social care services combined, while the Conservatives will increase current NHS spending by a minimum of £8bn over the next five years and are proposing ways to increase social care funding. The Conservatives will implement the recommendations of the Accelerated Access Review (AAR) to make sure that patients get new drugs and treatments faster, similar to Labour’s commitment to ensure all NHS patients get “fast access to the most effective new drugs and treatments”. See our recent report on the AAR and industrial strategy – “Now more than Ever:  Seizing the opportunity to make the UK a world leader in life sciences”.

All four parties agree on the importance of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The Conservatives will use industrial strategy to support innovation by small and start-up firms, establish funding streams to ensure investment for the long term, and lower corporation tax to 17 percent by 2020. Similarly, Labour considers SMEs to be “the backbone of the economy”. Labour will reintroduce the lower small profits rate of corporation tax and use funding from their National Investment Bank to provide “patient, long-term finance to R&D-intensive investments”. The Lib Dems also stress the need for access to “long-term (and patient) capital” for new businesses and those looking to scale-up.


The Conservative manifesto emphasises that “Britain needs a strong and stable government to get the best deal for our country”. Noteworthy policies for the life sciences include:

  • A new £23bn National Productivity Investment Fund, which will be used in areas that are critical for productivity: housing, research and development, economic infrastructure and skills
  • A Trade Bill to be introduced in the next parliament to build on the global multilateral rules-based trade system
  • Building up the investment funds of UK universities to increase the number of spin-outs and enable investors to share their success
  • Reduce immigration from both outside and inside the EU, review the visa system and double the Immigration Skills Charge levied on companies employing migrant workers
  • When we leave the European Union, the Conservatives will fund the British Business Bank with the repatriated funds from the European Investment Fund
  • Open new offices of the British Business Bank in Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Manchester and Newport, specialising in the local sector

We have put together a more detailed summary of the Conservative manifesto’s policies relevant to the life sciences, which you can download here.


Labour “accepts the EU referendum result” and emphasises that “Britain needs to negotiate a Brexit deal that puts our economy and living standards first”. Noteworthy policies for the life sciences include:

  • A £250bn National Investment Bank that will fill existing gaps in lending by private banks, particularly to small businesses, and by providing patient, long-term finance to R&D-intensive investments
  • Seeking to stay part of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) after the UK leaves the EU
  • Ensuring new trade agreements to include a commitment to support the market access needs of SMEs and develop capital investment schemes and other incentives to encourage investment into the UK
  • Insisting on value-for-money agreements with pharmaceutical companies
  • Promoting Britain as an attractive place for investment and provide support for start-ups to scale up to become world-class digital businesses (the BIA will engage with Labour to express the need of biotech companies for scale-up capital as well)
  • Ensuring fair immigration rules, working with businesses to address skill shortages and protecting those already working here

You can download a more detailed summary of the Labour manifesto’s life sciences policies here.

Liberal Democrats

The Lib Dems seek “to be the party that holds Theresa May to account over spending on the National Health Service; our young people’s education, skills and opportunities; the protection of our precious environment; and our future relationship with Europe”. Significant policies for the life sciences include:

  • The Lib Dems will provide greater support to small businesses by expanding the remit of the British Business Bank to provide greater capital for SMEs
  • The Lib Dems will make the positive case for immigration and will continue to allow high-skilled immigration to support key sectors of our economy
  • The Lib Dems will create a new ‘start-up allowance’ to help those starting a new business with their living costs in the first weeks of their business

Scottish National Party

The SNP were due to publish its manifesto today, but it has been delayed due to the terrorist attack in Manchester. We will put up an analysis of the SNP manifesto once it is published.

We look forward to discussing the impact of General Election on our sector this week at our CEO and Investor Forum in Oxford. Our members can also look forward to receiving BIA Election Packs with all our election materials, which we will distribute soon.

In this week’s update: Life sciences recognised in the party manifestos, the new AMR Industry Alliance, EMA’s PRIME scheme, Dementia Awareness Week, and this week’s CEO and Investor Forum.

The General  election campaign is now in full swing after Labour, the Liberal Democrats, and the Conservatives launched their manifestos last week.

What’s clear is that for the two main parties, these manifestos reflect the personal politics of their leaders and mark a radical change from the policy propositions set out by the parties to the country only two years ago. See our blog here for a reminder of what the parties said in their 2015 manifestos. Both Labour and the Conservative manifestos propose shaking up the relationship between the state and business that will have profound implications for UK bioscience companies beyond Brexit.

We’ll publish our analysis of how the new manifestos affect our sector tomorrow on our blog and I look forward to discussing the implications of the upcoming General Election at our CEO forum this week.

What’s particularly pleasing to see is that, despite the significant differences in approach to business and Europe, all the main parties explicitly recognise the importance of the life science sector, R&D and innovation. All of them touch on some of our key issues – which is vindication of the campaigning the BIA and our members and partners have done to keep our sector high on the political agenda.

On Thursday, the new Antimicrobial Resistance Industry Alliance was launched. The Alliance is hosted by the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations and brings together research-based pharma companies, genetics, biotech and diagnostic companies to drive and measure industry progress to curb antimicrobial resistance. The BIA is part of the Alliance via the International Council of Biotech Associations (ICBA). In the press release announcing the Alliance, I emphasised that small and medium-sized companies stand ready to be powerful innovators to develop new and pioneering medicines adding to our arsenal of antimicrobial drugs.

On Friday BIA’s Head of Regulatory Affairs Christiane Abouzeid participated in the European Medicines Agency (EMA) meeting with stakeholders to review the experience gained with the PRIority MEdicines (PRIME) scheme, one year after it was launched by the Agency in March 2016 to enhance support for the development of medicines that have the potential to address patients’ unmet needs. The UK has been one of the key drivers of the scheme. The EMA processed 96 eligibility requests as of April 2017 with a success rate of 22% – the majority of products recommended for PRIME are advanced therapies and biological medicines.

Last week was Dementia Awareness Week. Dementia is set to be the 21st century biggest killer, but by working together we can find a cure. For this reason, we named Alzheimer’s Research UK the BIA’s charity of the year. Alzheimer’s Research UK recently launched their new campaign “Running Down Dementia” – where you pledge to run or walk 100km and raise £100 and you, together with thousands of runners like you, can strike a blow in the battle against dementia. Go to their website for more details and to sign up.

This week, I’m looking forward to the BIA’s CEO and Investor Forum on 24-25 May in Oxford. We have a great two-day programme involving thought-leadership and networking with C-level industry peers, investors, and other key stakeholders. It’s your last chance to book.

This coming Wednesday, we will also publish our key annual look at the state of financing in our sector. This year’s document is titled “Building something great: UK’s Global Bioscience Cluster 2016”. The report looks at key statistics of how well bioscience companies are doing in the UK. Keep an eye out for our tweets and the full report will be available on our website – more on this next week.

I’m looking forward to seeing many of you on Wednesday evening.



The UK is leading the way in tackling this global health challenge. The Dementia Discovery Fund was created by the UK Department of Health and Alzheimer’s Research UK, alongside six major global pharmaceutical companies to boost innovation in research and development. Cambridge based Gen2 is its first UK investment.