CEO Update - 20 May 2024

UK leads AMR policy discussion

The UK continues to lead the global discussion on tackling the antibiotic emergency. Last week saw leading global figures convene at the Royal Society to pledge money and agree actions on the AMR agenda. The UK government pledged £85 million to tackle the antibiotic emergency and matching sums from Saudi Arabia are likely to be also supported by the European Commission. The voice of patients was more prominent in this discussion (previewed by our own webinar) and much of the groundwork for this autumn's high-level panel was laid. We continue to see a significant struggle for early-stage companies in this space accessing finance to develop new products but the continued focus of the broader science and policy community remains a significant point of traction for this important global agenda. 

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Richard Torbett, Chief Executive, ABPI, Nathalie Mollm, CEO, EFPIA, Steve Bates, CEO, BIA and David Reddy,  Director General, IFPMA met at the Royal Society event to discuss industry’s involvement in the AMR agenda.

AstraZeneca Phase III success for a COVID therapeutic conceived in a BIA group

I was delighted to see that AstraZeneca released positive Phase III data for their anti-COVID-19 therapeutic aimed at the immunocompromised population. This is not just because it was licenced from a BIA member RQ Bio but also because the genesis of the work dates back to our BIA COVID-19 Therapeutics Group, organised and championed by Jane Osbourn in 2020. It just goes to show that the BIA can put together amazing groups of people delivering amazing things. My regret is not pushing much harder for trials and funding for therapeutics like this at the same time as the Vaccine Taskforce (VTF) – we should have aimed for treatment for vulnerable groups unable to fully benefit from a vaccine as society unlocked with the vigour we progressed the vaccines approach. 

Spotlight on hearing therapeutics landscape: a clinical perspective

Our partnership with RNID as the BIA’s charity partner of the year aims to shine the light on the huge opportunities that exist for hearing therapeutics, both to improve quality of life and to generate commercial returns. By the end of the year, we hope to have raised awareness amongst the sector and have encouraged investors and industry to get more involved in hearing research.

As part of this, we will be publishing a series of blogs focussing on hearing therapeutics from different sector perspectives. Read our first blog by Professor Gerard O’Donoghue, Consultant Neurotologist at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, who shares his perspective on why the development of new treatments and their subsequent clinical adoption is vital for people living with hearing loss.

Start-up Festival

Thank you to all the biotech and life sciences start-ups and BIA members who made our Start-up Festival 2024 last Thursday such a success. It was great to see the vibrancy of the community and the plethora of support services available to entrepreneurs in our ecosystem.

We also launched our updated Innovation Map, a core tool for life science entrepreneurs seeking to connect with organisations that can support them as they establish and grow their companies. It presents a directory of incubators, accelerators, training programmes, funders and other organisations, and summarises key information about the services they provide. It aims to save time by focusing attention on those providers that meet your criteria. 

Some of our upcoming events include...

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Life Science Leadership Summit 2024

Fanhams Hall
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BIA Summer Party 2024

The Langham Hotel, London
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Steve Bates OBE
CEO, BioIndustry Association

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