CEO update | 1 July 2019

On Wednesday last week we got new guidance from the Government on no-deal Brexit preparedness with just 127 days to go until the Halloween deadline for the current extension period. They have responded to our requests for extra freight capacity to be put in place to get medicines into the country quickly, which the BIA called for in evidence to Parliament’s Exiting the EU select committee. It's important to note that both the freight capacity and the ask of industry are both different to the plans released ahead of the old 31 March no-deal deadline. Those of you already involved in the medicines supply chain work should also have received a letter on Thursday about stockpiling and a new ask on "trader readiness". If you would like further information, the Government will be holding a webinar on Thursday 4 July at 4pm.  Please contact lcollister@bioindustry.org to receive the registration details when they become available. For members, there will also be an update from government and a chance to ask questions about the new asks at the next BIA/ABPI Brexit Lead network on 23 July

Our sector has already endured considerable disruption, duplication and uncertainty, and invested significant time, effort and resource with little government support. I've continued to stress how difficult these preparations are for our sector, but encouraged all participants to again be as prepared as possible for a scenario industry really does not want. The BIA will continue to call for no-deal to be avoided whilst updating members on what the Government is asking in terms of its planning. I’ve also called for clarity from both Conservative leadership campaigns as to whether they intend to follow the same direction of planning as the present government when they take over from 24 July or change course (perhaps putting more or less resource behind no-deal planning).   

It was great to see so many members at our fantastic CEO and Investor Forum in Buckinghamshire last week. Thank you to everyone who joined us and to our sponsors, who make these events possible. We also launched our latest quarterly finance update at the event, showing that our sector raised £403m between March and May 2019, including a welcome uptick in public market activity. It shows that investors are maintaining their confidence despite challenging global political and financial headwinds. 

I was delighted to be able to showcase some of this success in the London Stock Exchange's 1000 companies to inspire Britain report, published on Wednesday. It features BIA members Oxford Nanopore, Horizon Discovery, Midatech, and Oxford Immunotec. I was also able to use my comment piece in the report to highlight the many more inspiring UK biotechs that aren't featured because their pre-revenue status means they don't fit the LSE's criteria for this publication. We are looking forward to showcasing the excellence of our sector to London investors again next week at the 5th Annual Future of Healthcare Investor Forum, hosted by the London Stock Exchange with a great set of partners.

James Noble, the CEO of BIA member Adaptimmune, has announced his retirement. Adaptimmune’s Chief Financial Officer Adrian Rawcliffe will take over as the new CEO in September.  James co-founded the company in 2008 and has been an inspiring leader of not only Adaptimmune but of a string of UK and transatlantic biotechs, stretching back almost 30 years. He has been generous to me personally sharing his experience and perspective, particularly on fundraising in public markets, and I know we will all wish him a long and happy retirement.  

It was announced last week that Professor Dame Sally Davies, the Government's out-going Chief Medical Officer, will be the UK's new special envoy on anti-microbial resistance (AMR), allowing her to continue to work with the Government to tackle this ever-growing threat. The BIA and our AMR Working Group look forward to continuing to work with Dame Sally. Sticking with government appointments for a moment: I was also pleased to see the Ministry of Defence appoint its first female Chief Scientific Adviser, Professor Dame Angela McLean, who is currently a Senior Research Fellow in Theoretical Life Sciences at Oxford University.

We've had word that the animal rights campaign group PETA is writing to organisations that fund or conduct animal research asking them to stop. This is pretty common and usually targeted at just the largest companies. We have no reason to believe our other members will be contacted but we wanted to take this opportunity to make sure you are all aware that we are available to help with communications around animal research. Just contact the office if you need us. 

Finally, we have a number of BIA events coming up that you don't want to miss out on. Our Summer Reception is selling fast, so don't forget to sign up for an evening of drinks and networking inside London's iconic Tower Bridge. It really is a spectacular venue not to be missed. Also, for those who enjoy a bit of regulation, we will be holding the BIA Regulatory Innovation Conference in September, which will include discussions around the UK global capability for clinical trials and bringing innovative medicines to market. I hope to see you all at one of our events very soon. 

 

 

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