CEO Update | 23 January 2023

Busy week ahead – Gala dinner and finance data coming   

This week is one of the busiest in the BIA calendar as we host our much looked-forward-to Gala Dinner, get ready to publish last year's finance figures for the sector and gather our new Board for the first time in 2023. More on all this in next week’s Newscast. I look forward to seeing over 600 of you on Thursday night at the Brewery.

Call for evidence on next AMR national action plan

Last week, BIA submitted a response to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) call for evidence on the UK’s next five-year national action plan to tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The action plan will run from 2024 until 2029 and will support the delivery of the Government’s 20-year vision for AMR, published in 2019.

BIA’s response was developed with input from various members working in the AMR space. The response highlighted the areas in which the UK has demonstrated leadership in tackling AMR, including the launch of NICE and NHS England’s pilot project for a subscription-style payment model for antimicrobial drugs. BIA emphasised the importance of sharing lessons learned from the project and championing the principle of a subscription-style model across the world.

It is vital that the next national action plan recognises the areas which require more focus in the UK, including incentivising the development of innovative diagnostics for microbial infections. Improvements could also be made to data sharing and accessibility in the UK to ensure that stakeholders have accurate and timely information to inform their decision-making.

Avatar - the way of rare diseases

If you ever need an excuse for watching a CGI blockbuster, Avatar, as in fact important life science work, read this story from Imperial. The team are using the underlying tech from the movie to speed up clinical trials for rare diseases like Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD).

The UK’s strength in creatively linking different types of tech to life sciences is one of the reasons we are a key global cluster. I particularly liked the patient friendliness of this approach. How to integrate approaches like this rapidly into the regulatory pathway for clinical development is where the opportunity lies for the MHRA as a sovereign regulator.

As the Nature Medicine article points out “in many genetic and degenerative diseases, primary trial endpoints are still typically focused on behavioural assessments - ‘by eye’ observations of patients’ functional capability that predate the invention of computers. Yet, artificial intelligence (AI) is now a major driving force behind the rapid advances in digital healthcare by enabling more objective, data-driven approaches to understanding and treating disease. Digital biomarkers, defined as objective, quantifiable data measured by means of digital devices, have recently seen increasing applications in clinical trials to overcome the intra- and interrater errors caused by subjective clinical scales. However, these digital biomarkers are not making full use of the true power of AI and data revolution in healthcare because they often just measure surrogates of existing markers, such as the number of steps or distance walked, markers originally chosen by human observer bias. Thus, they merely digitally replicate the ability of human observers, instead of embracing the possibility of going above and beyond human perceptual capabilities by looking at vastly more data in more detail.”


Independent Review of Clinical Trials

The BIA is taking part in a workshop for Lord O'Shaughnessy Independent Review of Clinical Trials following ministerial decision at the November Life Sciences Council meeting. As part of this stakeholder engagement, Lord O’Shaughnessy will prepare advice to resolve the key challenges in conducting commercial clinical trials in the UK and ensure growth opportunities are maximised.

Women in Biotech - mentoring programme and events

Our Women in Biotech Mentoring programme has kicked off this month with 37 pairs of mentors and mentees matched across the sector. Thank you to all mentors who have volunteered their time and knowledge and all mentees that have been nominated by their member companies. We're looking forward to bringing the Women In Biotech community together once again in Bristol on February 8th. Be sure to register before tickets sell out!

Latest 'Influencing and shaping our sector' report published

Our latest quarterly report provides a summary of the BIA’s engagement with policymakers and wider stakeholders on behalf of the UK life sciences sector during a busy end to the year. Highlights from the quarter included the launch of a campaign which saw over 300 CEOs sign a letter to the Chancellor on R&D tax credits, a new brochure on One Health published with the Department for International Trade, and a TechBio workshop with the NHS Centre for Improving Data Collaboration.

Read our report for further details as we strive to boost UK life sciences still further in 2023. 


Steve Bates Headshot.png



Steve Bates OBE
CEO, BioIndustry Association

More news and updates

Complement Therapeutics enrols first patient in non-interventional i-GAIN study of people diagnosed with geographic atrophy

Complement Therapeutics Ltd (CTx), a preclinical stage biotechnology company, today announced enrolment of the first patient in a natural history study of people who have been diagnosed with geographic atrophy (GA).

ACROBiosystems announces the start of its recombinant antibody services

ACROBiosystems has now officially begun its recombinant antibody services which includes comprehensive services encompassing gene construction, expression, purification and quality inspection.

Coulter Partners places three Board Directors at Our Future Health Trading Ltd

Coulter Partners, the global experts in Executive Search and Leadership Development in Life Sciences, Health, and Tech, recently partnered with Our Future Health Trading Ltd, and is pleased to announce the placements of Cristina Ortega Duran, Andy Richards and Simon Sturge as Board Directors.

Imperial startup Biocentis to develop genetic tech to control harmful insects

Biocentis has received investment to use CRISPR-based gene-editing to control insect populations that harm health, food security and biodiversity. The Imperial College London startup was founded in 2022 by Imperial researchers in partnership with technology-focused investment group Neurone to create a more effective and sustainable alternative to pesticides.

Biomatics launches specialist Bioinformatics Services

For organisations undertaking genomics work, various challenges restrict them in achieving success. The bioinformatics industry is continuing to grow but major challenges include finding skilled personnel with bioinformatics knowledge and the ability to rapidly extract data from biological data.

Legal and General and Bruntwood JV - Bruntwood SciTech, post record profits

Bruntwood SciTech post pre-tax profit of £114 million – the most since its formation in 2018; Net asset value increases 36% to £321.1 million and total assets under management hits £858.44 million; £91 million of capital investment including first move into Scotland and significant progress on key developments. Completions of Enterprise Wharf and No.1 Birmingham Health Innovation Campus and construction kick off at Glasgow’s Met Tower and Citylabs 4.0 to come in 2023

More within