CEO Update - 27 November 2023

Last week felt like an important milestone for the UK life science sector. As I sat in the Life Science Council in No 10 Downing Street with new Government Ministers, leaders of public institutions like the MHRA and global CEOs, I reflected that no other country in the world is putting together a working collaborative life science group like this.

It’s one of the many reasons why I’m confident about our ongoing journey to make the UK the best place in the world to start, scale and develop world-leading life science businesses. A tough, but long-term deal has been made on medicines pricing access and growth for the UK has been negotiated and agreed by the ABPI  (now called VPAG), and the Chancellor’s Autumn statement moved the dial on many agendas central to our sector. If you didn’t join the webinar explaining the details you can watch the recording and read Martin’s excellent blog for sector-specific insight but the highlights were:

N10 Steve pics - life science council with members.jpg


N10 Steve pics - life science council.jpg


  • £520 million in capital grants available for medicine manufacturing that will enable the UK to compete to be the home for next-generation technologies like mRNA and CRISPR;
  • Implementing structural changes in the UK pensions landscape, including reforms to boost investment, allocating £50 million to the Future Fund: Breakthrough, and introducing a VC Fellowship scheme to train the next generation of investors;
  • Decreasing the threshold for R&D intensive tax credit company scheme from 40% to 30% will be particularly helpful for scaling clinical-stage biotech firms – clear guidance from HMRC is now critical to make this operational;
  • The spin-out review will increase the pace, quality and timeliness of startups from UK universities;
  • New investment zones demonstrating the importance of life sciences to the economy across the country.

None of this would, I believe, have made it into the government’s agenda without the sustained work and expert input of BIA members working through your Association – so congratulations and thank you for all the hard work and support.

The Autumn Statement gives our sector forward momentum as well as practical agendas and projects to build on in the months ahead. I said at the Life Science Council that the investors of the world’s wallets are watching what is happening in the UK – the proof of the pudding will be seen in the months ahead.

It was great to join our Government Affairs Network last week for a great evening discussing all things Westminster, it was a privilege to hear stories for 37 years at the coalface from David Boyd, Senior Advisor on UK Government Affairs for AstraZeneca. He reminded us that we all are privileged to work in the sector and hopefully make a difference. He was certainly clear that how the sector engages with politicians has professionalised and changed for the better over his career.  Thanks to all who came for an enjoyable evening.

Next week NICE is holding a webinar for BIA members on their refreshed NICE Advice service, which aims to provide a more flexible and easier-to-access industry support service. The webinar will provide an opportunity for BIA members to hear directly from NICE about the service, ask questions and provide feedback. The webinar will take place on 4 December from 11 am to 12:30 pm. To register, please email [email protected].

I’m really looking forward to seeing many of you at bioProcess UK in Brighton this week – a fantastic lineup and great networking ahead.

Steve Bates Headshot.png



Steve Bates OBE
CEO, BioIndustry Association

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