CEO Update - 15 April 2024

Border win

In case you missed it last week, post-Brexit border paperwork and inspections have been postponed for the life sciences sector, thanks to BIA work. Importers of laboratory reagents and materials used in the manufacture of medicines in the UK’s life sciences sector have been given a six-month extension to make the necessary changes to their supply chains for new post-Brexit border paperwork and border inspections.

BIA in the north East this Thursday - do join us

We are thrilled to be returning to the North East this Thursday. Kindly hosted by CPI, the event will discuss the current need for skilled individuals across our sector, along with how companies can attract and retain talent, and what can be done to further develop the pool of excellent people so that the UK can continue to lead the life sciences into the future. With plenty of opportunity to network over lunch and refreshments, you will hear an update from BIA and life science organisations based in the North East. We hope you will join us to celebrate and discuss innovative life sciences in the region and beyond.

BIO survey on Biosecure Act 

BIO in the USA is planning a detailed survey of their members to understand the impact of decoupling organisations named in the BIOSECURE Act from the R&D process of US companies. An insightful BioCentury snapshot survey suggested this would have a significant impact on the companies stateside. To stay up to date on this developing topic, I recommend watching this interview with BIO’s John Crowley by Steve Usdin of BioCentury. We are planning a UK webinar on this topic later this month, sign up below.

VC Fellowship open for expression of interest as part of Mansion House

Work is underway to establish a network of next-generation leaders in Science and Technology Venture Capital for the UK and expressions of interest from those seeking to take part, either for themselves or for their institutions are being sought now.

The Fellowship will be a first-of-its-kind career accelerator for ambitious, mid-career investment professionals in the UK with a strong interest in science and technology. This programme originates from the Life Sciences Scale-Up Taskforce, which the BIA established with the Office for Life Sciences in late 2021, and is based on the successful and hugely respected Kauffman Fellowship run in the US. We are working closely with DSIT on providing bespoke learning and professional development opportunities across the UK’s world-leading Deep Tech and Life Sciences ecosystem with the Science and Technology Venture Capital Fellowship programme expected to launch in Autumn 2024.

Candidates for the Science and Technology Venture Capital Fellowship should be:

  • currently living and working in the UK venture capital industry with a minimum of 3 years of investing experience, or;
  • currently working in other asset classes in UK-based and registered firms with at least 3 years of investing experience (e.g. family office, university investing, angel investing, secondaries, accelerator), or;
  • UK-based entrepreneurs transitioning into UK-based VC investing with substantial experience working in the startup ecosystem with experience fundraising.

Complete this form to submit your expression of interest by 10 May 2024.

DSIT are also seeking potential delivery partners with the deadline closing on 29 April.

This work is just one part of a long-term strategy to develop the innovation funding ecosystem our life science companies need to support their scale-up and growth – and can be considered one part of the broader Mansion House agenda we are working on to counter existing headwind UK life science companies are encountering in existing public market structures.

MedTech strategy one year on

The UK government have published Medical technology strategy: one year on, which sets out achievements made since the launch of the MedTech strategy and the next steps to boost the adoption of medical technology in the NHS.

6 years after launch UK recommends routine roll out of CAR-T therapy Kyriah – but do you know its UK development heritage?

Last week NICE recommended Kymriah personalised immunotherapy to treat blood cancer be made routinely available on the NHS for children and young adults

Children and young adults with a form of leukaemia that develops rapidly are set to benefit after NICE recommended an innovative, life-extending treatment where the person’s own immune cells are modified to fight the cancer. The treatment has been available through the NHS’s Cancer Drugs Fund since December 2018, with this new guidance now recommending its routine rollout – a full six years later.

This breakthrough product has important UK heritage, having emerged from research at the University of Pennsylvania. It was back in 2017 that the FDA granted its first approval for the CAR-T product, following crucial evidence to the regulator from UK biotech Oxford Biomedica, the sole manufacturer of the lentiviral vector that encodes the CD19-directed chimeric antigen receptor in Kymriah. Oxford Biomedica signed an agreement with Novartis in July 2017 for the commercial and clinical supply of lentiviral vectors used to generate Kymriah. As announced in October 2014, Oxford Biomedica also receives royalties on sales of Novartis CAR-T products. One of the key breakthrough products wouldn’t be the blockbuster it is today if it wasn’t for the manufacturing know-how of a key UK biotech player. It is a shame that heritage isn’t part of the NICE press release to link up the full story.

Sector events spotlight

Tomorrow, Tuesday 16 April, the Catapult’s Sycamore House in Stevenage will host a free in-person seminar on high-efficiency non-viral cell engineering, featuring insights on MaxCyte® electroporation and Touchlight’s MegaBulb DNA. If you're eager to accelerate your cell and gene therapy developmental efforts, transitioning seamlessly from research to the clinic and commercialisation, this seminar is for you.

Don't miss the MHRA webinar on International Recognition and post-launch updates, which will be held on 2 May from 2:30-4 pm (BST). The new international recognition procedure went live on 1 January 2024 to support patients in the UK with expedited access to safe and effective medicines that have been approved by trusted regulatory partners. This webinar will dive into key topics and provide invaluable insights to elevate planning and knowledge of UK regulatory strategy. Learn more and sign up.

Steve Bates Headshot.png



Steve Bates OBE
CEO, BioIndustry Association

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