CEO Update | 25 July 2022

BIA campaign success! UK R&D tax relief remains highly supportive of life sciences

New draft legislation was published last week on the UK’s R&D tax regime, which will continue to support innovative life sciences and biotech companies to conduct essential clinical trials and some pre-clinical work overseas. The campaign has been covered in Research Professional

The legislation, yet to be approved by Parliament, follows the announcement by the former Chancellor, Rishi Sunak MP, that the regime would be amended to end payments for R&D conducted overseas to “refocus” it on innovation in the UK. BIA and its Finance and Tax Advisory Committee has worked with Treasury and HMRC officials to help them understand the necessity of international R&D in the sector, resulting in vital exemptions to the new restrictions.

With approximately 33% of our members’ R&D investment occurring outside the UK on activity that cannot be done here for a variety of essential reasons, the former Chancellor’s announcement could have seriously impeded the development of new medicines for patients and the continued growth of our world-leading life sciences sector.

The positive and pragmatic approach shows the Government’s commitment to supporting our sector. We look forward to engaging in further dialogue to secure clarity and further support for our members, especially those that will have their claims limited as a result of these changes.

We are also delighted to see further details of how the R&D tax relief regime will be made more internationally competitive and fit for innovation in the 21st Century by including data and cloud computing costs. This has been a long-term campaign objective for the BIA, it is excellent to see it come to fruition.

Economist front cover makes the case to focus on UK life science

If you are following the Conservative leadership race this summer this week’s Economist is a must-read. UK life sciences are the cover story and the influential magazine makes the case why supporting our sector is key to the UK improving its economic growth trajectory. They are right that the life sciences industry is a jewel in Britain’s economy and policymakers can do more to help it sparkle. Great to see a hat tip for BIA member, Alchemab, and our ecosystem being described as “the network of nerds and nous”, and I think there’s lots of space for new start-ups and spin-outs as well as scale-ups.

UK Life Science Competitiveness data on “take out the trash” Friday

The last day of the parliamentary year is often dubbed "take out the trash" Friday. With no fanfare, the eighth annual publication of the Life science competitiveness indicators (LSCI) 2022 was published with significant changes including:

  • A revised list of indicators - this includes new metrics, amendments or replacements to existing ones
  • Restructuring of the report to categorise metrics according to the UK’s life science ecosystem
  • A revised reporting structure to accommodate html format and provide further context for the data presented

Further details on the metrics, including information on the changes compared to past reports, is available in the accompanying LSCI 2022: user guide. This year’s report also presents an accompanying document on the UK’s LSCI 2022: life science ecosystem and LSCI 2022: data tables.

It is fair to say that the analysis shows there is a significant way to go if the UK is to equal or lead comparator countries in several key indicators.  

Medicines Manufacturing Assessor Recruitment

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is looking to recruit experts in the following health and life sciences fields to join their pool of assessors to evaluate future Innovate UK grant applications related to medicines development and manufacturing. The focus of this grant programme is on commercialisation and manufacturing activity and not on drug discovery.

UKRI have created this explanatory video with further information on the assessor assignment process and the role of an assessor. If you do have skills and experience and wish to give back to our innovation community, this is one of the best ways to help our fledgling companies get the funding and develop the key industrial skills they need for success.

To apply or even if you are just interested, please email Mark Talford [email protected]

Steve Bates OBE BIA



Steve Bates OBE
CEO, BioIndustry Association


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