CEO Update - 15 January 2024

JPM week suggests a brighter 2024

The mood music from the JPM conference in San Francisco seemed brighter this year, and it was good to see UK companies making global headlines. GSK's purchase of San Francisco and London-based Aiolos Bio for $1.4 billion was just one of several high-profile acquisition deals announced. It followed Isomorphic Labs' two large pharma deals with Eli Lilly and Novartis worth nearly $3 billion, excellent news for a digital biology company headquartered in London, just more than two years after launching within Alphabet. The conference news also moved the NASDAQ Biotech Index up 4.5% in just three days showing renewed investor interest in our sector for the coming year. 

UK Minister sees medicine manufacturing capacity first hand

Closer to home it was great to see Minister for Health & Secondary Care Andrew Stephenson MP take the time to visit BIA member Pharmaron’s Liverpool site to understand the new capabilities and capacity the team have on site.

Mr Stephenson learned about the Pharmaron business and how they support the drug development of life-changing gene therapies and immunotherapeutics for customers.

The Pharmaron team also shared some of the current challenges facing CDMO businesses in the UK before touring their state-of-the-art analytical and process development laboratories, GMP Manufacturing facilities and ambitious new expansion build project.

The team were delighted that the Minister took time out to understand the bioprocessing community in the UK.

The Minister was also accompanied on the visit by Rumbidzai Mukwashi, Private Secretary, Department of Health & Social Care; Andrew Howard, Deputy Director for Manufacturing, Access to Finance and Skills, Office for Life Sciences and Jess Moody, Policy Advisor, Office for Life Sciences.

Minister for Health & Secondary Care Visits Pharmaron Gene Therapy Pharmaron's site visit


Covid inquiry on vaccines and therapeutics delayed until 2024

The public inquiry into the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed its hearing into vaccines and therapeutics until at least 2024. The move means the substantial public discussion will now be after the General Election and any recommendations for action will also be delayed. Whilst the heroic efforts to develop, produce and distribute vaccines fast is one of the triumphs of our age, I am concerned that post-pandemic decision-making has not ensured the UK is best prepared for any subsequent pandemic, and there is now the real possibility that any incoming government will not have the experience of the public inquiry to draw on as they make decisions about this.

Call for applications for NIHR & OLS Real World Evidence Programme

The NIHR Invention for Innovation (i4i) programme in collaboration with the Office for Life Sciences (OLS) and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) will soon be inviting applications for the i4i & OLS Real World Evidence Programme. The call aims to support consortia to address real-world evidence gaps to accelerate the widespread adoption of technologies recommended for early use in the NHS through NICE Early Value Assessment (EVA). The call will open for applications on 31 January 2024. Find out more about the call and register for the launch event on 23 January 2024 (10:30 - 12:00).

MHRA publishes Regulatory Roadmap for devices 

The MHRA has this week published its Regulatory Roadmap for devices, setting out the pathway for new measures which will support safe access to medical technology, including AI and diagnostics. The MHRA’s roadmap sets out a route to deliver enabling regulation via a series of new Statutory Instruments (SIs). Priority measures to protect patient safety will be put in place this year, with core elements of the new framework intended to be in place by 2025. See the visual timeline of the MHRA roadmap.

Public help sought to inform MRC’s public partnerships strategy

The Medical Research Council (MRC) wants the public’s thoughts on how they work in partnership to shape and share research. MRC has co-developed a strategy for public partnerships to improve research and is inviting everyone to give their views on these plans. This new draft strategy outlines the organisation’s ambitions for creating effective collaboration and genuine partnerships between researchers, MRC staff, professionals, individuals and communities over the next three years. The consultation will run for three weeks from 8 to 29 January 2024. You may wish to ensure groups you engage with are aware of this consultation.

UKRI looking for Non-Executive Directors

UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) is recruiting three Board members. UKRI is led by its Board which oversees its wide and diverse activity including the allocation of funding to its Councils and cross-cutting programmes, its portfolio of institutes, campuses, and research infrastructure. UKRI Board Members bring unique skills and experience to help ensure the effective governance, accountability and efficiency of UKRI’s operations and the successful pursuit of its objectives. Apply by 1 February 2024 and share with your network! 

Steve Bates Headshot.png



Steve Bates OBE
CEO, BioIndustry Association

More news and updates 

RSSL announces new Biotech Innovation Hub

RSSL, a leading pharmaceutical contract research organisation, has today announced plans to launch its new Innovation Hub, a dedicated platform to help small- and medium-sized biotech organisations de-risk and accelerate the development of cutting-edge products.

Aleta Biotherapeutics and Cancer Research UK announce first patient dosed in ALETA-001 Phase 1/2 clinical trial

The Phase 1/2 clinical trial will evaluate safety, dose, PK/PD, and early efficacy signals of Aleta’s first-in-class biologic CAR T-cell engager, ALETA-001. ALETA-001 entering the clinic is a critical milestone toward treatment availability to improve CAR T-cell patient response when a complete response is not achieved or maintained.

UKHSA announced as first PACE collaboration to help tackle deadly antimicrobial resistance

Strategic partnership to support AMR innovators

CEO Update - 20 February 2024

I'm looking forward to the BIA Committee Summit this week. It will be great to see 200 members in Westminster at one of the most lively and insightful events we do each year. I know it's the volunteer expert army that gives the BIA its unique impact with government and it's always great to understand the committee's priorities and the ideas at the intersection between committees that arise from the event.

Beyond health: why BIA is championing the biorevolution 

The BIA has named this frontier of science Deep Biotech. Our brand-new report, "Deep Biotech: Disruptive innovation for global sustainability" highlights how deep biotech is key to creating a sustainable UK bioeconomy and making the UK a science superpower that benefits all. 

PrecisionLife and Metrodora Institute partner to accelerate diagnosis of Long COVID

Rapid development and clinical validation of diagnostics that enable innovative clinical care pathways in complex, chronic diseases; targeted precision medicine clinical trials leveraging a complementary diagnostic approach are expected to readout results as early as this year

Optibrium enables collaborative design in its StarDrop platform

The new Idea Tracker capability further improves the efficiency of drug discovery by supporting project management, idea sharing and molecule design tracking.

Recent decision from the EPO smooths the way to obtaining patents in Europe

The BIA’s Intellectual Property Advisory Committee (IPAC) helps BIA understand and shape the environment for IP ownership to ensure strong protection for BIA member companies. Our EU policy subcommittee has taken a look at what a recent European decision means for the right to claim priority to an earlier filed patent application. This blog sets out some of the details of the case, and the practical implications for BIA members.​​​​​​​

BugBiome secures investment for pioneering research in sustainable pest protection

BugBiome raises £310,000 in pre-seed investment from Cambridge Angels and Discovery Park Ventures. Investment enables a £330,000 Engineering Biology Grant from Innovate UK for cutting-edge agri-tech research leveraging the microbiome and engineering biology approaches.

CEO Update - 12 February 2024

It was great to see the hugely positive response we’ve had to the launch of our new report "Deep Biotech: Disruptive innovation for global sustainability". I believe we're on the cusp of a biorevolution powered by Deep Biotech, and I want our Association at the forefront of shaping the future of Deep Biotech and championing its disruptive potential.

Study reveals POLB 001 could be a $10 billion game changer for cancer patients

Independent Research Confirms >$10bn Market Opportunity for POLB 001 as a Preventative Therapy for Cancer Immunotherapy-Induced Cytokine Release Syndrome (CRS). Former Amryt Pharma team's arrival supports increasing focus upon Rare and Orphan Diseases

Enter the dragon: Exploring China’s life sciences market

Next week, Chinese people across the world will be celebrating Chinese New Year. This is the “year of the dragon”, a symbol of strength for the Chinese people. It also represents prosperity, a value Chinese strive for across aspects of life, society and business.

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