BIA announces its Charity Partnership for 2024 with RNID

The BioIndustry Association (BIA) is thrilled to announce its charity partnership of the year for 2024 with RNID, the national charity supporting the 12 million people in the UK who are deaf, have hearing loss or tinnitus. 

BIA will support RNID through strategic opportunities and fundraising activities over the next 12 months. The partnership will be formally launched at the BIA’s Gala Dinner on Thursday, 25 January 2024.

RNID works to end the discrimination faced by the communities it supports, help people hear better now and fund world-class research to restore hearing and silence tinnitus. It is the only charity in the UK dedicated to funding hearing research and RNID’s ‘Hearing Therapeutics Initiative’ (HTI) accelerates the global development of new treatments and therapeutics to prevent and treat hearing loss and tinnitus. The HTI does this by creating partnerships across the global hearing research ecosystem – from hearing researchers and clinicians, and funders and investors, to those working in biotech, pharma and hearing device companies.

BIA is the voice of innovative life sciences and biotech sector in the UK. The BIA's mission is to establish the UK as a global leader in innovative research, translating cutting-edge discoveries into life-changing healthcare solutions. RNID's work aligns perfectly with the BIA's focus on driving innovation in healthcare. Working in partnership with RNID will boost efforts to accelerate the progress in developing treatments to prevent hearing loss, restore hearing for those who want it and silence tinnitus. 

Great scientific progress is being made towards understanding various causes of hearing loss and pioneering drugs and cell and gene therapies are already being developed. For example, BIA member, Rinri Therapeutics are developing a stem cell treatment to repair the auditory nerve. Another example is a clinical study of Decibel Therapeutics’ DB-OTO gene therapy, which is currently underway in Cambridge.

Both organisations want to see big progress made towards the first life-changing treatments to restore hearing and silence tinnitus. We hope to bring BIA’s members wealth of knowledge, expertise and experience to support the RNID’s Hearing Therapeutics Initiative. 

Furthermore, BIA hopes that partnering with RNID will also enable us to support our members in addressing workplace barriers for staff with hearing loss and make our workplaces more inclusive. The BIA’s pioneering Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) report findings show that 7-11% of employees in the sector identify as having a disability, while about 1% report hearing loss or deafness - slightly lower than the national average of 1.9%, which aligns with the RNID’s Hearing Loss at Work: Employer Insights report.

Steve Bates OBE, CEO of BIA, said: "We are incredibly proud to partner with RNID, an organisation that shares our commitment to improving the lives of those affected by hearing loss.

“Health charities are a key component of the UK’s life science innovation ecosystem; their research is driven by patient insight and provides expertise that UK SMEs can learn from and partner with. This collaboration will play a crucial role in raising awareness about hearing diseases, fostering knowledge, and potentially leading to significant advancements in hearing research and understanding.

“I look forward to celebrating this partnership at our Gala Dinner in 2024 and identifying areas of opportunities for the charity with our membership.”

Harriet Oppenheimer, Incoming Chief Executive at RNID, said: “We are delighted to have been chosen as the BioIndustry Association’s charity partnership of the year for 2024. This partnership comes at a pivotal moment in global hearing loss research and will boost our efforts to accelerate the development and discovery of life-changing treatments for those who want them. 

“Only 83p is spent per person affected by hearing loss on ‘ear’ research each year in the UK and when compared to other conditions, it is not very much at all. RNID, who are committed to support the 12 million people in the UK who are deaf, have hearing loss or tinnitus, is the only charity dedicated to funding hearing research in the UK, and as such we are focussed on closing the gap and working with partners like the BioIndustry Association and its members to increase awareness, interest and support of this emerging therapeutic area both now, and in the future.”

The BIA and RNID are united in their mission to improve patient outcomes and drive research that enhances hearing loss research and treatment. This collaboration marks a significant step towards creating a future which is more accessible and inclusive for people who are deaf, have hearing loss or tinnitus, and end discrimination faced by these communities. 

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