CEO Update | 15 November 2021

Thank you to everyone who joined us at the Babraham Research Campus in Cambridge last week. It was great to meet BIA members, local start-ups and academics to talk about collaboration. The campus was set up to build a culture, community and shared capability around collaboration, so it was a perfect venue. Thanks also to everyone for turning the fire alarm into an impromptu networking moment. Collaboration can take many forms, from John McCafferty’s lifetime of treading the line between academia and industry, to standout three-way agreements between industry, academia and charities as experienced by Cambridge Enterprise. We raised the question of whether more or better collaborations are needed, and ultimately found that success lies in finding a common goal and sharing the benefits of your product.

£375m for neurodegenerative disease research

Collaboration is on show today as the Government announces a £375 million investment to improve understanding and treatment of a range of neurodegenerative diseases, including a partnership involving BIA member LifeArc, the MND Association and NIHR. The new MND partnership will pool expertise and resources across the research community to accelerate the delivery of new treatments for patients.

Representing biotech in Geneva

I spent much of last week in Geneva, in my role as Chair of the International Council of Biotech Associations (ICBA). We had useful meetings with the World Health Organization (WHO), World Trade Organization (WTO), World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and national delegations to explain the role of SMEs in the COVID-19 R&D response. As much of global pandemic preparedness thinking for the future, as well as global regulatory approaches, will flow from Geneva-based institutions, it is vital that the voice of our sector is heard. That’s why ICBA is seeking “non-state actor status” at the WHO through a joint work programme with them where we can provide expertise and insight.

Industry reps needed for BBSRC’s Strategy Advisory Panels

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) has launched its annual call for expressions of interest to join their Strategy Advisory Panels. The panels provide expert input and advice that helps shape and develop BBSRC’s strategy and ensures that their investment decisions are supported by expert knowledge and insight from members of the scientific research and innovation community. We are keen to see a good representation from SMEs and other BIA members so please do think about applying. The opportunity can be found on the BBSRC website and will be open until 2 December.

Congratulations to Hannah Hill

Everyone at the BIA was delighted to hear that Hannah Hill has been selected for The Manufacturer Top 100, which recognises the most dynamic leaders and innovators in manufacturing, as nominated by The Manufacturer’s 265,000-strong audience, the wider industrial community, and judged by experts. Hannah is a Project Manager at FUJIFILM and a member of LeaP, the BIA programme for future life science sector leaders. Congratulations, Hannah!

Manufacturing competition

Sticking with manufacturing for one further moment, The Made Smarter Innovation programme, delivered by UKRI, has launched a new collaborative R&D competition focusing on sustainable smart factories. Consortiums of UK-registered businesses and organisations can apply for a share of up to £20 million for digital innovation projects that will reduce the carbon emissions of manufacturing processes in factories.

Covid therapeutics and antiviral EOI sought by Government Taskforce

Following the regulatory approval for, and procurement of antiviral and antibody treatments for COVID this winter, the UK’s therapeutics taskforce has published a Call for information/Expression of Interest for neutralising antibodies for future years on its Find a Tender service. Please submit your companies' interest to them if you are working in this field. I expect to see more of this in the antiviral world in the coming weeks. Stay tuned for more details as they emerge.

PULSE Check - How to lead great virtual meetings

Tomorrow we’re holding a workshop on how to lead great virtual meetings, a necessity for any business nowadays! It’s part of our PULSE Check series, in which entrepreneurs and members of the BIA startup network have the opportunity to learn from each other, and from leading experts. While focused on early-stage CEOs, entrepreneurs at any company stage will find something to benefit them. Register your participation.

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