CEO Update - 29 January 2024
New BIA biotech financing report published
Last week, we published our annual report looking at the state of financing in our sector. The headline figures are that UK biotechs secured £1.8 billion in equity financings in 2023, down only 9% from 2022. £1.25 billion was raised in venture capital in 2023, only a 6% decrease year-on-year, against a backdrop of a 43% reduction for all UK VC investment. That means that the UK retained its top spot in Europe, receiving 41% of total venture capital invested into biotechs across the region. For the first time, the report looks at the comparative collective share price of London-quoted UK biotechs versus other stock classes with some surprising results. Read the report at biotechfinance.org and let me know what you make of it and share it with colleagues and contacts.
Key Labour Business Conference
I’m looking forward to attending the Labour Opposition’s business conference on Thursday. The sold-out event has been trailed as being the occasion where the party leadership, including Sir Keir Starmer, his Shadow Chancellor, Rachel Reeves, and the Shadow Secretary of State for Business and Trade, Jonathan Reynolds will unveil their City policy plans and showcase Labour’s offer to businesses. The event may also be where more details of how Labour plans to work with SMEs are revealed. Look out for a full briefing on what this all means for the life science sector in the coming weeks.
Clive Dix gives evidence to the Parliamentary committee
The Covid public inquiry may have delayed its hearings into the operations of the UK Vaccine Taskforce (VTF) until 2024 but the science and innovation Parliamentary committee is still hearing evidence as part of its inquiry into emerging diseases and learnings from Covid. Last week Clive Dix, former BIA and VTF Chair, CEO of C4X Discovery, gave evidence before Parliament.
In stark personal testimony, he said: "What I've seen since April 2021 is a complete demise of all the activities that made that thing work, literally gone. It's very sad, I actually get very passionate about it because what we have seen is a whole list of incompetent decisions being made and given the amount of effort we put in to see that just disappear. The Government believe mRNA vaccines are a golden bullet. There's a complacency there that really scares me now. Really scares me.” This was picked up in the media and the committee’s full report will be published once all the evidence sessions have finished.
New EuropaBio report on the impact of planned EU legislation on innovation
EuropaBio has launched their study of the ‘Impact of the General Pharmaceutical Legislation on Europe’s innovation eco-system and biotechnology companies’. This major work from Charles River Associates highlights how the long-term, high-risk nature of biotechnology innovation is negatively impacted by reduced and restricted incentives proposed by the EU. The BIA, as founder members of EuropaBio, will use this report as our evidence base throughout the EU legislative pathway to ensure that biotech innovation is protected at the national and EU levels. This recording of a hybrid panel from Euractiv ‘EU Pharmaceutical legislation, Europe’s biotech innovation in the balance?’ brings added analysis to the report. Please read and repost Europabio’s launch post on LinkedIn to spread the word.
Horizon Europe - UK government campaign to get applications
A new UK government campaign launched today encourages UK businesses, academics and researchers to apply for Horizon Europe funding. Horizon is the world’s largest programme of research collaboration, which the UK is a part of after the Prime Minister secured a bespoke deal, last year. The multi-channel campaign will include media partnerships, content on digital audio platforms (such as podcasts) and targeted digital media investments, focusing on paid social adverts on platforms regularly used by research professionals such as LinkedIn, and digital displays.
We at the BIA ensured members were aware of these opportunities via our promotion of the UK Research and Innovation webinar last year and by connecting those interested with the UK national contact points for advice on how to apply for Horizon Europe funding and how to form a consortium. I am keen to hear from members who are progressing applications, or considering this route to understand best how this is working for members.
Fabulous BIA Gala Dinner – thanks for making it so special
Thank you to everyone who played their part in making last week’s BIA Gala Dinner at the Roundhouse at Camden and biggest and best yet. Take a look at the photos from the evening and look out for the save-the-date announcement on the next Gala Dinner in 2025!
Steve Bates OBE
CEO, BioIndustry Association