CEO Update | 10 January 2022
Welcome to my first CEO blog of 2022, one I’m delighted not to have penned from an overpriced hotel room in San Francisco – my normal place of work this time of year. A new year normally means a fresh start, but it seems the year will again be dominated by how governments and global economies will respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. As ever, our sector will continue to play a crucial role in finding solutions to the crisis as we try to move the world back to normal as well as to deliver innovation for the benefit of patients with breakthrough treatments in other therapy areas.
Virtual JP Morgan and biotech showcase
The New Year scene setter for the sector begins this week in a virtual format with the annual JP Morgan healthcare conference. It’s great to see this year it includes a UK keynote panel on Tuesday addressed by the Prime Minister and Lord Prior as Chair of the NHS selling the UK life science opportunity to the globe. I plan to report back on the key trends and announcements further in next week’s blog.
New Year’s honours list recognises UK sector
It was great to see members of our community recognised in the Queen’s 2022 New Year’s honours list, John Dawson, CEO of Oxford Biomedica and Dr John Stageman, Chairman of Life Arc, were both awarded a CBE. Ian Campbell, formerly CEO at Innovate UK and Chief Business Officer at Life Arc, was awarded an OBE. Congratulations all. To read the full list of honours
Gala dinner and other events going ahead
We are thrilled to announce that the BIA Gala Dinner will go ahead on 27 January 2022. With so much uncertainty and the surge of Omnicron over the past weeks, we have kept a close eye on the situation and have also reached out to gage the feeling amongst our members and the sector more broadly. The feedback we have received has been overwhelmingly in favour of the event going ahead, and the support so far has been truly incredible - THANK YOU to those who have signed up to support the event and booked tables so far. In recognition of continuing concerns, and in addition to obligatory testing for all attendees, capacity has been reduced to create more space and the format will be adjusted to avoid the more crowded elements which are traditional at this event.
Only a handful of tables remain available, so please contact Marzia Sguazzin quickly should you be interested in joining us!
If you are travelling into London for the Gala Dinner, we are looking at holding a pre Gala Dinner event on scale up and financing in the sector to coincide with our annual finance report. Further details will be confirmed in due course but one to note for your diaries.
Tweets from George Freeman
The Science Minister George Freeman began 2022 by tweeting his priorities for the new year where our sector featured heavily. It was fantastic to see the work the BIA has done on scale up finance being referenced and also our Bioscience Forum, where George addressed attendees as a key note speaker.
Sanofi and Exscientia deal
A key deal was announced at the start of the year with Sanofi deepening their relationship with Exscientia, with a research collaboration and licencing deal which will develop 15 novel small molecule candidates across oncology and immunology, leveraging Exscientia’s end-to-end AI-driven platform utilising actual patient samples.
BIA submission to the IPO on Artificial Intelligence
The BIA has responded to the UK Intellectual Property Office’s consultation on copyright in works made by AI, text and data mining using copyright material, and patents for inventions devised by AI.
Sir Keir Starmer’s New Year speech
Finally, interesting to note that the Leader of the Opposition, Sir Keir Starmer, used his new year speech to reference the work of our sector, saying: “Labour would create 100,000 new start-up businesses and new hubs of excellence building on existing strengths such as video gaming in Dundee and biopharma in Cambridge.” While policy detail is needed, this is a world away from the hostile language of his predecessor and we will continue to monitor and engage with the Labour Party as more detail is presented.
The BIA starts the New Year with new members of staff and a growing member marketing capability, please read more on your great team.
Happy New Year
Steve Bates OBE
CEO, BioIndustry Association