BIA calls for policies support scaling biotechs in Budget

Ahead of the Autumn Budget, which the Chancellor will deliver on Monday 29 October, the UK BioIndustry Association (BIA) has called on the government to strengthen the UK environment for scaling biotech companies.  

In the BIA’s submission, it called for:

  • pre-revenue SMEs to have the option to surrender R&D Allowance losses arising on capital expenditure for up-front cash credits
  • grants to be provided to companies to support manufacturing investments
  • R&D Tax Credits to be enhanced to better reflect 21st Century life sciences R&D, notably the purchase of data for R&D purposes 
  • The updating of the HMRC list of eligible foreign institutions for R&D Expenditure Credits to underscore the government’s commitment to global collaboration
  • a review to identify fiscal policies that could support early-stage companies to offer more competitive salaries, relative to more established companies

BIA CEO Steve Bates said:

“The UK has great bioscience companies raising significant amounts of venture capital thanks to consistent support from successive governments. BIA/Informa data shows that £927 million venture capital has been raised to date in 2018, compared to £515 million in 2017.  Many UK bioscience companies are now looking to scale to achieve their global ambitions. We are calling on the Chancellor to use this Budget to support scaling biotechs with a suite of policies that will anchor R&D and commercial operations in the UK.”

In his speech, the Chancellor is also expected to provide a one-year-on update on the implementation of the Patient Capital Review, which was published at the 2017 Budget. This is likely to include an assessment of tax changes to encourage investment, a report on the activities of the British Business Bank and progress on work with the pension funds industry to unlock capital for science-led companies.

BIA CEO Steve Bates said:

“We want the government to convene defined contribution pension schemes, who need long term growth, with innovative growth industries like ours to match capital with UK opportunity. Government actions from the Patient Capital Review are bearing fruit for our sector but the hardest issue to crack was always going to be unlocking pension funds. 

With £2.2 trillion under management, the UK pensions industry could be significant source of capital for innovative companies. The government has acknowledged that pension funds are currently not investing in science-led scaling companies and changing this behaviour could super-charge our sector whilst also providing long-term financial growth for pension savers.”

The BIA will provide comment and analysis on the Autumn Budget announcements on 29 October.


Notes to editors

For pre-Budget interviews or post-Budget comment please contact Ed Sexton, 0207 630 2196

The BIA’s submission to the Autumn Budget can be found here:

A briefing on the 2017 Patient Capital Review outcome can be found here:

The BIA venture capital fundraising data can be found here:

The total assets under management for the UK pensions industry is taken from the OECD:  

About the BIA                    

Established over 25 years ago at the infancy of biotechnology, the BioIndustry Association (BIA) is the trade association for innovative enterprises involved in UK bioscience. Members include emerging and more established bioscience companies; pharmaceutical companies; academic, research and philanthropic organisations; and service providers to the bioscience sector. The BIA represents the interests of its members to a broad section of stakeholders, from government and regulators to patient groups and the media. Our goal is to secure the UK's position as a global hub and as the best location for innovative research and commercialisation, enabling our world-leading research base to deliver healthcare solutions that can truly make a difference to people's lives.   

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