Blog - new best practice guide launched for communicating R&D progress to investors and the public

A constant challenge in biotech is knowing how and when to communicate often very technical R&D information to investors and the public, who may not have a strong understanding of the industry, while ensuring clarity, consistency, and mindfulness of impact. To help bioscience companies with this challenge, the BIA has produced a new best practice guide through consultation with our membership and the investment community. Here we take a look at how the guide was produced and what it contains.

Background to the guide

The BIA firmly believes that in order to establish the UK as the third global bioscience cluster, investors and the wider public must feel confident and well-informed about the cutting-edge R&D progress being made by British bioscience companies. A strategic and well executed communications plan can be hugely powerful in building relationships, growing your profile, and attracting investment.

The BIA first published a communications guide in 2001 and then again in 2006.  Both the way R&D is conducted and how we communicate have changed hugely since then. Increased connectivity means that regular, reliable, and fast-paced communication is expected across all aspects of society – and our sector is no exception. The new guide addresses these recent changes, drawing on up-to-date best practice from across the sector. To inform the guide, we have met with clinical trial experts and academic publishers, held stakeholder workshops with the investment community, hosted a discussion at the UK Bioscience Forum, and consulted on the content with BIA members. Its production has been led by BIA members Consilium Strategic Communications, Instinctif Partners, and Simmons & Simmons.


What does the guide say?

We have tried to keep the guide as concise and accessible as possible. Companies’ communications with investors are subject to many laws and governance rules that they must follow; these are not the subject of the guide and we haven’t repeated them. It’s assumed that they are followed.

The guide takes a detailed look at what those rules mean in practice when applied specifically to the communication of R&D. It sets out broad best practice principles that companies should follow and then provides practical advice on how to put those principles into action. It also provides advice on how to make the most of digital and social media, while avoiding some common pitfalls associated with them. These are increasingly the go-to sources of information for the public and investors, and so using them efficiently and appropriately is key to any modern communications strategy.

The best practice principles are:

  • Be well prepared
  • Be consistent
  • Be fair, balanced, and understandable (clear)
  • Be mindful of the impact on members of the public to whom it is personally relevant

For more detail on each, see the full guide here. There is also a library of resources to complement the guide and provide further support, and a list of BIA members who can provide specific advice to companies.

What next?

We will be hosting a webinar in the next few months to help bring the concepts of the guide to life for members. And over time we will be adding to the library of resources to provide further support to members and keep the guide up to date. If you have any comments on the guide or ideas for what additional resources would be helpful, please do get in touch –



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