BIA regional focus: the North West as a centre for disease preparedness

Thursday 21 January 2021

Join us online on our virtual event platform for this networking event. This event will look at how the North West of England is emerging a centre for disease preparedness, and will have presentations from several organisations at the cutting edge of these developments including:

  • Evotec, a drug discovery solutions company providing expertise and capabilities to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, as well as to academic institutions.
  • Infex Therapeutics has been working for a number of years on anti-microbial resistance, and will share their experience on this fight.
  • Yourgene was not intending to focus on infectious disease, but were able to pivot to using their technology for COVID-19 diagnostics. They will present on lessons learned during this process for the next infectious disease event.

The presentations will be followed by a panel discussion chaired by Kath Mackay. Please feel free to ask any questions you may have.

Finally, there will be a chance to network remotely using Remo, a platform designed to mimic in-person networking as closely as possible. 


15.00   Sign in and networking
15.15   BIA update
15:20   Bionow update
15:25   Welcome and update from Alderley Park
15:30   Presentations followed by panel discussion and Q&A
16:30   Networking
17:30   Event closes

Virtual format & tech requirements

We are excited to bring you this BIA regional focused networking event in virtual format.

You will be able to join us online to network and, similar to an in-person event, move from virtual table to table to mingle with other attendees. The platform we will be using also includes useful features which will allow you to message directly with other attendees and share LinkedIn details to connect. There is also a general chat for all attendees.

During the presentations/discussion you will be able to submit and vote on audience questions and we will try our best to cover everything in the time allocated.

What are the technical requirements to attend the virtual event?

  • There is no software installation or download required.
  • Please attend using a laptop or desktop computer with audio and video capabilities (webcam and microphone). 
  • You will need to use one of the supported browsers to have the best user experience:
    Chrome, Safari, or Firefox.
  • Please do a system check in advance of the event, to ensure you will be able to join without issue.

If your company has firewalls or browsing restrictions in place, please test your connection and liaise with your IT team in advance to ensure you are able to fully participate in the event.

Cost and booking T&Cs

BIA members:     Free
Non-members:   £30 +VAT

By registering for this event you accept our Terms & Conditions.

In case of any issues registering for the event, please contact us at 

Steve Bates

Chief Executive Officer


Steve Bates has been the CEO of the UK Bioindustry Association since 2012. He currently chairs the International Council of Biotech Associations and has been a Board member of Europabio since 2015. Steve is the visible face of the vibrant UK life sciences industry to government and media. He sits on the UK’s Life Sciences Council and Life Sciences Industrial Strategy Implementation Board. Steve has championed with government effective industrial incentives like the Biomedical Cataylst which have crowded-in private sector investment into UK SMES. He has forged links for the sector across the USA, Europe and in China. In his time at the BIA Steve has developed new member groups focused on cell and gene therapy, genomics and engineered biology. A strong advocate of partnership working, Steve champions sector collaboration with research charities and academia. Proud to lead an organisation with a diverse Board with over 40% female representation, Steve is committed to next generation talent and developing the skills needed for the sector to flourish. Before the BIA, Steve worked for Genzyme and as an advisor to the UK Government of Tony Blair. He was made OBE for services to innovation in 2017.

Peter Jackson

Executive Director

Infex Therapeutics

Dr Peter Jackson is an experienced UK-based serial entrepreneur in the life sciences sector. Over the past ten years, he has created six new companies, targeting novel therapeutics across infection, oncology and immunology, as well as in agrochemicals and life sciences services.

Dr Jackson has over 25 years’ experience in the sector, previously holding senior executive roles as commercial director then VP of Avecia’s Pharmaceutical Products business unit, following senior commercial and R&D positions at predecessor companies Zeneca and ICI.

During 2015-16, Dr Jackson was chairman of the steering committee created to establish the UK’s translational R&D centre focused on antimicrobial resistance, the AMR Centre, and now runs Infex Therapeutics as its executive director.

Kath Mackay

Managing Director

Bruntwood SciTech - Alderley Park

Dr Kath Mackay is Managing Director, Bruntwood SciTech - Alderley Park, the UK’s largest single site life science and innovation campus. She is on the leadership team of Bruntwood SciTech - a 50:50 JV between Bruntwood and Legal & General and the UK’s leading property company driving the growth of the science and technology sector.

Kath is also Non-Executive Director of the Northern Health Science Alliance, the Northern Powerhouse for Health helping organisations globally access the health and life science expertise of 8 cities. Established in 2013 as a partnership between the leading NHS trusts, universities and Academic Health Science Networks across northern England, NHSA combines research and clinical excellence. Kath is also Non Executive Director of Infex Therapeutics, which acquires, develops and licenses innovative drugs to treat pandemic infections, and the National Biofilms Innovation Centre, a UKRI funded centre building research and innovation capacity and catalysing collaboration with industry.

Kath joined Bruntwood SciTech from Innovate UK where she was Director of Ageing Society, Health and Nutrition, and part of the executive management team leading economic growth through business led innovation. She led the team responsible for scaling businesses working in the biomedical, health, agriculture and food sectors, including new challenges under the Government’s Industrial Strategy and responsibility for the C> Catapult and Medicines Discovery Catapult.

Jo Mason

Chief Scientific Officer

Yourgene Health

Dr Joanne Mason is the Chief Scientific Officer at Yourgene Health, leading the development of the next generation molecular diagnostics particularly in the area of reproductive health.

Joanne has been a champion of modernising diagnostics with the use of genomic technologies having previously held positions as VP Biodiscovery with Cambridge Epigenetix where she led the development of clinical epigenomic technologies particularly in the area of early cancer diagnostics, the Director of Sequencing and Sample Acquisition for Genomics England, where she managed the delivery of samples and whole genome sequencing for the 100,000 Genomes Project.

She has previously acted as an advisor on the DOH Rare Disease Policy board, MHRA Genomics for Diagnosis forum and UK NEQAS - Genomics England steering committee, Genomics England sequencing advisory board and BIA genomics advisory committee.

Joanne previously worked for Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust where she set up and managed a NGS Core facility leading translational research, offering disease-specific diagnostic panels and introducing whole genome sequencing into the diagnostic setting. Prior to joining Oxford, Joanne managed an NGS Core facility in Malaysia and led the Comparative Genomics group at Public Health England studying novel and dangerous pathogens.

Dr Mason holds a PhD from Cambridge in Molecular and Cellular Biology.

Pia Thommes

Vice President Anti-infectives


Pia Thommes, Ph.D., Vice President Anti-infectives at Evotec leads the infectious disease operations at Alderley Park, Cheshire, and is part of the infectious diseases leadership team. Pia has >20 years’ experience in drug discovery and joined Euprotec, a biology CRO dedicated to specialist biology services for the discovery and development of new antimicrobial agents, more than 8 years ago. Euprotec became integrated into Evotec in 2014 and moved to Alderley Park in 2017. Pia is a biologist/ biochemist by training with a Ph.D. in molecular genetics. Prior to joining Evotec she has worked on drug discovery projects in oncology and virology with delivering candidate compounds into the clinic. In addition, she has published research in peer reviewed journals and presented at international conferences.


Event partner

This event is free to Bionow members - please email 

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