CEO Update - 22 January 2024

New cell and gene therapy report published

It’s always positive to shine a spotlight on UK strengths, and it’s great that the UK is cementing its position as a global leader in cell and gene therapy. Our first report of the year published last week, in collaboration with Citeline is packed with fresh data insights, reveals a robust sector with significant investment, the highest number of clinical trials in Europe, and NHS patients benefitting from these life-changing treatments. 

In 2022, we saw companies such as Autolus and Orchard, born from the ingenuity of UK institutions like UCL, translate their pioneering work into tangible results. Orchard's gene therapy reaching newborns with MLD exemplifies the extraordinary potential of this field. These are not just advancements – they are stories of lives saved transformed and empowered. The UK's leadership in cell and gene therapy is a testament to our unwavering dedication to patient-centric advancements that rewrite the boundaries of healthcare, but others like Wallonia  are also keen to attract growth in this exciting area, so there is no room for complacency. 

We're working closely with the government, NHS, and industry to ensure long-term success. Together, we can unlock the full potential of cell and gene therapies to improve the lives of patients in the UK and around the world. 

DSIT Secretary of State backs scale-up agenda in keynote speech 

I had the privilege to attend the Secretary of State Michelle Donelan’s scale-up speech at Plexal last week. In it, she set out her priorities for the year to help businesses scale up, innovate and upskill workers to help grow the UK economy. The speech included the following announcements:

  • The creation of a scale-up forum to capitalise on the government’s power to bring together leading figures from across the science and tech ecosystem. 
  • A brand-new scale-up support service, which will provide some of the UK’s most strategically important science and tech companies with bespoke support.  
  • Pitching and investment opportunities, to bring investors face-to-face with scaleups and give them the chance to pitch their ideas and access finance.
  • A commitment to making data access a government priority this year .
  • A new UKRI declaration to businesses, setting out a commitment to support firms of all sizes to invest in the innovation they need to scale into the success stories of tomorrow. 
  • A regulatory support service and support for the regulatory horizons reports, improving the regulatory approach to innovative start-ups and scale-ups.   

Highlights of the speech are on the DSIT Twitter/ X and LinkedIn pages if you want to see more, and the BIA will be engaging on all of the above policy initiatives on behalf of members.

For the BIA, who were founding partners of the scale up institute in 2016 – it’s great to see this agenda at the heart of government growth policy – an ambition we’ve worked on for multiple years. 

Health Secretary announces new women's health priorities for 2024

  • New Health Secretary Victoria Atkins MP lask week addressed the government’s commitment to ensure women are better represented in medical research through the NIHR research inclusion strategy. It was part of her update on the top priorities that will be tackled under the Women’s Health Strategy in 2024 including menstrual problems and menopause, maternity care and birth trauma support. The NIHR, have invested £53 million to  continue to improve how women are represented in medical research through the strategy

New US/UK Biosecurity Strategic Dialogue

The UK government  last week announced a new Strategic Dialogue on Biological Security with the US.

The partnership builds on existing commitments made in The Atlantic Declaration signed by the UK and US in June 2023, which provides a framework for a modern economic partnership ready to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century – and will be key to bolstering the future health and economic resilience of the UK.

Looking forward to the Gala Dinner this Thursday

Not long to wait now for the highlight of our annual calendar, the BIA Gala Dinner, on Thursday. This year I am looking forward to greeting a record number of members and guests at our new venue, The Roundhouse in Camden, London. The joining guide, with who is coming and where they are sitting will be sent to all attending tomorrow, so do check in advance to make the most of the fantastic networking opportunities. I look forward to seeing many of you on what promises to be a fantastic evening.   


Steve Bates Headshot.png



Steve Bates OBE
CEO, BioIndustry Association





More new and updates 

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