CEO Update - 18 December 2023

The Department of Health and Social Care has published details of the 2024 Voluntary Scheme for Branded Medicines Pricing, while the British Academy opens funding support for Horizon programme applications. We also have an exclusive interview with Larry the Downing Street Cat, shedding light on his surprising life as a scientist.

DH publishes 2024 voluntary scheme for branded medicines

The Department of Health and Social Care has published the 2024 Voluntary Scheme for Branded Medicines Pricing, Access and Growth. The final terms are very similar to the Heads of Agreement published last month. The first quarter of the 2024 Voluntary Scheme, the period from 1 January 2024 to 31 March 2024, will be a transitional period and, during this period, a fixed payment rate of 19.5% will apply to all Eligible Sales.

New Funding scheme to support applications to Horizon 

The British Academy has opened a new funding call, to support applications into the Horizon programme. The aim is to pump prime collaborations to support the effective uptake of the opportunities provided by the UK’s association to Horizon Europe, with awards of £10,000 available. Each project must be led by  named Principal Investigator, and proposals are welcome from research institutes and universities based in the UK, and proposals that involve working closely with UK SMEs are strongly encouraged. Access the full criteria for the scheme here.

Check out our JP Morgan UK action guide

Although I've decided to pass this time around on the JP Morgan week, I encourage you to check out my blog on how to make the most of your time in San Franciso from sun-up to sundown. Read the full blog

In a Christmas exclusive, Larry the Downing Street Cat opens up to Steve Bates about his passion for science! 


On a recent visit to No.10 I managed an exclusive scoop with Larry the Cat. Larry said: “I’ve decided to break my silence as it is Christmas. It’s not just Dick Whittington’s cat who can talk. The Queen Mum was probably right when she said never give interviews, never explain – but I’ll never get on Netflix The Crown with that strategy. 

  • “I want to come out and tell the world. I’m a proper scientist and life science entrepreneur as well as a mouser, but I’ve been trapped in this political pantomime for 12 long years.

  • “I didn’t want to go to Downing Street: my primary ambition was the National History Museum. So it was the honour of my life to have a tiny marsh-loving beetle from India named after me by the European Journal of Taxonomy last year.

  • “(Coleoptera: Limnichidae) Caccothryptus larryi was described from the Himalayan region. Fantastic.

  • “At last someone recognised my passion– and I think it must have been that Patrick Vallance fellow, now Chair there, who was around a lot during the lockdown/party season.

  • “The press focus on my rows with other cats like Palmerston and occasional street fights here but I’m a serious life science champion : what I’ve really been working on is making the UK a fantastic place for life sciences. 

  • “This hasn’t been easy with all the chopping and changing – first it was David Cameron, then Theresa May, then Boris Johnson, then Liz Truss and now Rishi Sunak. And the first one is now back again over the road at the Foreign Office!  

  • “But with each I’ve got them to listen – the 100,000 Genome project, championing type 1 diabetes wearables when meeting Donald Trump, backing the Vaccines Taskforce, underpinning the LIFTS scheme at the British Business Bank, and supporting £500 million investment in medicine manufacturing – and don’t get me started on R+D tax credits for SMEs. Not bad for a domestic tabby cat.

  • “If I get out of this place in 2024 I see my future at the intersection of drug discovery and AI – where the UK has unique advantages, and I reckon I’ll set up shop in the Crick to begin with –I’m looking forward to bringing pioneering species diversity to the Institute."

On that inspirational note, I'll be taking a break from the blog over the festive break but will be back with a fresh take on 2024 in January.  I wish you all a restful Christmas and New Year.

All the best


Steve Bates Headshot.png



Steve Bates OBE
CEO, BioIndustry Association

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