CEO Update | 20 September 2021

Prime Minister provides details of COVID-19 plan

The Prime Minister and the Health Secretary announced the Government’s COVID-19 plan for the Autumn and Winter months.  The Government still sees vaccines as the UK’s best defence to avoid any further lockdowns and I was interested to note in the press release that ‘building this defence’ will involve pharmaceutical interventions, which I’m sure will include further work in antibody therapies and antivirals.

This plan will develop as we move through the Autumn and Winter, and the BIA will continue to provide further updates as we reach certain landmarks. To read more details on the plan please follow this link.

Cabinet reshuffle

Last week the Prime Minister completed a Government reshuffle. Nadhim Zahawi was promoted to Education Secretary from his previous role as Minister for COVID-19 Vaccines. I’d like to thank Nadhim for his tremendous support for the industry before and during the pandemic, and his engagement with BIA members at events like the Gala Dinner and Parliament Day.

The new Health Minister with responsibility for vaccine deployment is Maggie Throup MP and the Minister responsible for the Life Sciences, the Vaccine Taskforce and the National Security and Investment portfolio is Lee Rowley MP. Lord Bethell’s replacement as the Minister for Innovation at the Department of Health with responsibility for life sciences, is Lord Kamall.  

The BIA will engage with these new Ministers to ensure they recognise the efforts of industry over the pandemic period and the work that is required to build future health prosperity for patients as well as the role the sector can play in aiding the economic recovery. To read more about the reshuffle please follow this link.


Positive news from the Department of Health late on Friday that the first approved monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID-19, Roche’s Ronapreve will be deployed this week by the NHS. To read further details please follow this link.

Former UK Prime Minister appointed as WHO ambassador for global health finance

The World Health Organisation has appointed former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown as ambassador for global health finance. For further information please follow this link.

KTN BIA funding map

Accessing R&D funding for early-stage companies is complicated by the plethora of schemes available that all have different rules and are constantly changing. KTN and BIA are pleased to announce the launch of a Health Funding Map that will help in the navigation of the complicated world of innovation funding. To see the map please follow this link.

Latest on COVID-19 vaccines IP

Last week the International Monetary Fund, World Bank Group, World Health Organization and World Trade Organization taskforce on COVID-19 made a valuable statement on global access to vaccines. It acknowledged that the challenge is not vaccine manufacturing but distribution, something that industry cannot solve alone and which requires government direction. This issue will continue to play out over the coming months in pursuit of the aim of vaccinating 40% of the world’s population. To read the  statement please follow this link.

Stellar fundraise for Touchlight

Fantastic news from Touchlight that the company has raised an astonishing £92m in their latest fundraising round. Touchlight’s pioneering DNA technology is being recognised by investors with this stellar fundraise and it’s great to see that this investment will be used to increase Touchlight’s manufacturing footprint here in the UK. For more information please follow this link.  

Cell and Gene Manufacturing Innovation Centre in Braintree

It’s fantastic that the Cell and Gene Manufacturing Innovation Centre in Braintree has signed its first deal with the National Institute of Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC), which will result in the facility preparing the first reference material of an Adenovirus-associated vector that will be globally available to facilitate harmonisation of modern analytics. Further details of this exciting announcement can be found here.

BIA response to the Early Access to Medicines Scheme  

The BIA has responded to the consultation on the Early Access to Medicines Scheme (EAMS). 0054o read the BIA’s response please follow this link.

2021 BioCentury-BayHelix China Healthcare Summit

From November 16-19, the BioCentury- Bayhelix China Healthcare Summit will return, where attendees will have the opportunity to schedule in-person discussions with investors and corporate delegates at the Grand Hyatt, Shanghai; or virtual face-to-face discussions. Registration allows delegates to schedule appointments with key partners five weeks prior to the event. Further details on the summit can be found here.


Dechert Healthcare Deals Conference

Across the world, record amounts of capital are being invested in Private Equity (PE), Venture Capital (VC), Mergers and Acquisitions, collaboration and licensing deals across the life sciences and healthcare industry. This one-day event will bring together senior pharma, biotech, PE and VC leaders across the life sciences and healthcare industry to network and share their outlook on trends and opportunities across the sector. Further details can be found here.

Scaling the edge programme

The Innovate UK funded programme ‘Scaling the Edge’ run by Queen’s University Belfast is accepting applications for UK manufacturing businesses seeking to use proven methodologies to accelerate innovation within their processes, products or services. Further details can be found here.