CEO Update | 12 July 2021

New Life Sciences Vision

Last week the BIA welcomed the unveiling of the Government’s new Life Sciences Vision which sets out the shared ambition for the UK to be the leading global location for the life sciences to innovate, grow and deliver breakthroughs for the benefit of patients and the public in all parts of the UK.

To meet this vision, the Government has set out a 10-year strategy that seeks to build on UK’s world leading biotech and life sciences sector by exploiting the UK’s capabilities in genomics and data research. The Vision also seeks to emulate the success of the UK’s extraordinary response to the COVID-19 pandemic in vaccine development, manufacturing, therapies and diagnostics.

Alongside the measures set out in the Vision is the £200m Life Sciences Investment Programme (LSIP) which will help to leverage capital and strengthen the ability of UK life sciences companies to scale at pace.

It is also great news that the Vision will take forward the BIA’s proposal for a Life Sciences Scale Up Taskforce that will develop recommendations to remove obstacles to scale-up and growth for life sciences companies.

2021 set to be another record year of UK biotech investment

According to new data from the BIA and Clarivate, 2021 is set to be another record year for investment in the UK’s biotech and life sciences sector. This comes after investment from March – May 2021 totalled the highest quarterly investment recorded by the BIA at £1.56bn. Of the total biotech venture capital invested in Europe, UK companies accounted for 60%.

This is extremely encouraging news for the life sciences sector which, having demonstrated its value during the greatest global public health crisis of recent times, will play a crucial role in driving the UK economy as it recovers from the impact of the pandemic. 

We’ve also today published a new analysis of London-quoted biotech stock price performance and investor participation. Given the remarkable outperformance of the sector during 2020, it is fantastic to see that much of it has been maintained through 2021 so far. Since the start of the pandemic (March 2020) the Unweighted Broad Biotech Index has outperformed the FTSE All Share by +190%. Since our last review in January 2021, the sector has outperformed by +13%. We continue to see strong demand from North American investors for UK-quoted biotech (net inflow of £723m) and European investors (net inflow of £130m). Whereas UK larger institutions continued to be material net sellers in value terms with an outflow of £231m. This is something that we will be looking to address through the Scale-Up Taskforce. The report, produced exclusively for us by Radnor Capital Partners, is worth a detailed read, and was covered in The Telegraph today.

Guide to government

Following the recent appointment of Sajid Javid as Health Secretary, the BIA has updated its Guide to the Government for members. The guide details the current ministerial and policy maker positions that are most relevant to the life sciences sector. This can be found on our website here.

Updated guide to SPC manufacturing waiver following EU withdrawal

The BIA’s Intellectual Property Advisory Committee (IPAC) has published an updated guide to the Supplementary Protection Certificate (SPC) manufacturing waiver, which came into force on 1 July 2019 but was amended in UK law as part of the withdrawal from the EU. The amended regime reflects the Government’s changed approach following the BIA’s influence and meetings between members of its IPAC and officials. It now restricts the export market under waiver to countries outside the EU and UK, rather than allowing export to the EU, which we objected to on the grounds that it could erode IP rights in some EU Member States. The updated guide will help members assess what the impact of the waiver might be on their business and how to protect their IP rights. For more information, please contact policy@bioindustry.org.

Webinar on opportunities in China

Next week the BIA will be hosting a webinar on market opportunities in the Chinese biotech sector. As the second most important global market after the US, China’s biotech sector continues to experience double digit growth with private equity continuing to pour in even during the pandemic. Despite this, there is a host of challenges that can dissuade businesses from fully engaging with the opportunities that China presents.

The webinar will hear from China experts including Qionger He, former Head of Pharma at the Department of International Trade and will provide attendees with advice on how best to access the market, engage with investors and develop a China strategy.

KQ labs programme applications now open

KQ labs, a programme delivered by the Francis Crick Institute and funded by LifeArc is running a tailored five-month programme on data driven health for early-stage health companies.

The programme offers introductions to specialised investors and major corporates, especially pharma, mentoring opportunities with a hand-picked network of experts and £40k funding in the form of a convertible loan. Find out more about the programme and apply here.

Q2 Influencing Report published

Today we have published our latest quarterly influencing report, which gives an overview of key policy developments and the BIA’s continued engagement with policymakers, regulatory authorities and other stakeholders on behalf of the UK life sciences sector from May 2021 to July 2021. Read it here.