CEO Update - 28 May 2024

UK General Election

The UK General Election has been called for Thursday 4 July. In practical terms, this means the end of the legislative pathway for many proposals as Parliament shuts down. It also means the policy-making function of the civil service machine slows to a crawl and with it the cancellation of planned formal meetings of government and industry, like the Life Science Council in June.

The parliamentary careers of over 100 MPs are also coming to an end as many have chosen to step down at this election – like Tunbridge Wells MP Greg Clark, the current Chair of the Science, Innovation and Technology Select Committee.

As there will be no Parliament in June, we’ve had to postpone our Parliament Day this year. We plan to rearrange it for the Autumn when a fresh government and hundreds of new MPs will no doubt be keen to engage with our members.

Newscast becomes General Election update

Over the next six weeks, we will use Newscast to update on notable moments from the campaigns that impact our sector.

We will summarise what we've learned in a webinar on 25 June (1-2pm), one week before polling day. The webinar will consider what various election outcomes could mean for the sector and its stakeholders. Join us to get the latest and to ask questions of the BIA team, and watch out for the post-election readout the week after for an analysis of the results and implications.

Webinar on new government

We will also look to provide timely insight into who is who in the new government and what this means for our sector. A new government brings new Ministers, new policies and potentially new structures within the civil service, all of which could have profound consequences for the life sciences sector and its stakeholders. If you're not familiar with the basic contours of a UK General Election campaign, this is a useful explainer.

We will host this second webinar between the General Election and the forthcoming King's Speech early in July. Look out for the date and time being announced shortly. 

Do you want to host a campaign visit?

Although life science policy is unlikely to be central to the election campaign, we are offering to connect BIA member companies who are keen to host a campaign visit with the political parties of their choice. The main parties have procedures for, and dedicated folk whose task is to both arrange visits and seek endorsements from business. I am happy to make introductions for members who wish to navigate these channels. And, of course, it would be nice to see life science businesses demonstrating both the economic and health value their presence brings to our nation during this campaign. This guide on what works is useful

If you would like to host, please email [email protected]; for those of you who are not yet BIA members, please feel free to get in touch with George and Ekin to learn more about the benefits of joining.

Better regulation documents published

Although it is hard to ascertain what from this government will be picked up by the next, I did note the publication of two documents late last week about Smarter Regulation and the future of regulation published by the Department of Business and Trade. The details about engineering biology sandboxes are apposite for our community.

WIPO treaty agreed

After decades of negotiation, on 24 May, member states of the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) approved a new treaty relating to IP, genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge. In essence, the treaty will establish in international law a new disclosure requirement for patent applicants whose inventions are based on genetic resources and/or associated traditional knowledge. BIA have been in close conversation with the UK IPO throughout the negotiations leading up to the WIPO diplomatic conference, in order to ensure the treaty articles do not lead to burdensome requirements of proof for innovators, and that any sanctions are proportionate, among other. The treaty is not yet ratified and will need 15 contracting parties to enter into force. BIA will engage closely as conversations will continue between WIPO member states, including the UK.

BIO 2024 less than a week away

The BIO International Convention is a little under a week away. It is being held in San Diego this year. The BIA will be present at the UK Pavilion located in Hall B, booth 2025. Because there's a General Election there will be no minister at the convention this year.

We are looking forward to hosting the key reception for UK delegates on Tuesday 4 June (19:00-21:00 PT) at Hilton San Diego Bayfront. There is also the UK’s on-stand reception (17:00-18:30 PT).

Other ways to get involved:

  • Attend the BIO Super Session: Spurring Biotech Innovation Across the Globe: A High-Level Discussion on Tuesday 4 June (10:45-12:00 PT) 
  • Attend the Global Innovation Hub seminar: The UK: Inspired, Innovative and International on Tuesday 4 June (12:15-12:30 PT)
  • Visit the UK@BIO microsite to learn more about the UK Pavilion exhibitors and partners.
  • Connect with BIA representatives - Associate Directors Alina O’Keeffe and Martin Turner - get in touch with them ahead of or during the conference!

We look forward to celebrating the global reach and impact of the UK’s life science sector with senior UK government officials and policymakers, and key industry and academic leaders from the UK, US and beyond.

Steve Bates Headshot.png



Steve Bates OBE
CEO, BioIndustry Association


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