BIA update - 14 August 2023

A summer of consultations.

Politicians may have packed their bags for the parliamentary recess, but they leave behind a number of open consultations to which the BIA and our members will be responding over the summer, with all the energy of a Taylor Swift-themed SoulCycle class in LA. Responding to consultations is one of the ways in which we help shape public policy supported by our ongoing engagement across government.

Following the BIA’s long-running and successful campaign on tax reliefs for R&D which culminated in the positive announcements in the Spring Budget, the Government has published draft legislation and a policy paper setting out the proposed design of a new merged R&D tax relief regime and enhanced rate for R&D intensive SMEs. It welcomes comments on the technical detail of the draft legislation as part of the technical consultation process for the draft Finance Bill. The deadline is 12 September. The BIA is responding and if you would like to feed into the consultation directly, please email [email protected]. It would be great to hear your views, please contact [email protected] to let us know how you have responded.

Another consultation relevant to our campaign to increase access to finance for innovative biotech (an effort headed up by the Government’s life science investment envoy and BIA chair, Dan Mahony) is a call for evidence on pension trustee culture, which seeks to understand trustee skills and capability, barriers to trustee effectiveness, including fiduciary duty, and the role of advisers, including investment consultants. The objective and BIA’s interest in the consultation is to raise awareness and understanding of our sector as an investment opportunity in the pensions industry and also remove the over-reliance on fees as a marker of value for money, which is a barrier to venture investment. Another consultation we’ll be looking at seeks views on the accelerated consolidation of local government pension schemes so that they can reach the scale needed to invest in venture capital.

There has been an increased focus on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) recently. Following the success of the pilot project for a subscription model for antimicrobials, NHS England and NICE have launched a consultation on their proposals to expand that approach to more antimicrobial products. The proposals aim to incentivise greater investment into R&D for antimicrobials, by providing companies with a fixed annual fee of up to £20 million, based primarily on the value of the drug to the NHS, as opposed to the volumes used. The consultation is open until 2 October, and the BIA will be developing its response with input from members working in the AMR space.

Engineering Biology is a vibrant and growing part of biotech, so the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) call for evidence on engineering biology is particularly welcome. This consultation asks for experiences and insights into the strengths, weakness and opportunities for the UK’s engineering biology ecosystem. This includes the regulatory environment and standards, business ecosystem, talent and skills, the knowledge pipeline, the UK value and supply chain, public understanding and uptake of engineering biology products, as well as future expectations.

The outcomes of this call for evidence will inform government policy that will support the engineering biology ecosystem. BIA members active in synthetic or engineering biology are encouraged to actively engage with this call for evidence, as it will be the basis for a multi-year government action plan on engineering biology. BIA’s Policy and Public Affairs Manager, Linda Bedenik, is preparing a response in close consultation with BIA’s Engineering Biology Advisory Committee (EBAC) and wider member input. Please do get in touch to share your views and shape the BIA’s response, or respond to the call for evidence directly. The deadline for submissions is 29 September 2023.

The BIA and its members have a great track record of bringing high quality evidence to the policy making process through consultations that we know is influential and welcomed by policy makers. 


Nicky Edwards

Nicky Edwards

Director of External Affairs

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