CEO Update - 4 March 2024

All eyes on Wednesday’s Budget and explainer webinar on Thursday 

It is the Budget week at Westminster and all eyes will be on the Chancellor's statement this Wednesday. We've already seen Jeremy Hunt doubled down on the pensions reform agenda in weekend reporting and I'm hopeful we'll see more to support the life science sector this week.

Join our webinar on Thursday as we provide our analysis and reaction, explaining the details behind the headlines. It's clear that the government are frustrated at the pace of the productive finance agenda and I hope the new disclosure plans will enable greater investment in a sector from UK pension savers. I'm also keen to see if there can be movement in making the R&D tax credit system simpler for small and medium-sized enterprises.

South Coast-based Curve raise £40 million Series A

I was delighted to see Curve Therapeutics announce their Series A last week and raise the flag for biotech in Southampton. The company's platform allows functional screening and enrichment of highly diverse, gene-encoded, Microcycle libraries within the cytoplasm of mammalian cells to identify library members that have a desired biological activity against a therapeutic target.

New Rare Disease Action Plan for England published

Last week, the Department for Health and Social Care published the third Rare Disease Action Plan for England to coincide with Rare Disease Day on 29 February. This 2024 Action Plan evaluates progress on the 29 commitments in the 2023 and 2022 Action Plans and commits to seven new actions to continue addressing the priorities set out in the UK Rare Diseases Framework. It is positive that Action 25 will remain open following the joint BIA/ABPI member survey conducted on industry experience of EAMS, ILAP, and IMF schemes. NHS England, MHRA and NICE have committed to analyse the results of the survey in more detail and meet with the BIA and ABPI to discuss the survey before providing a written response, with further progress being reported in the 2025 action plan.

Minister Andrew Stephenson spoke about the new action plan at Genetic Alliance’s annual Rare Disease Day Westminster reception, where we also heard from Liz Twist MP, Genetic Alliance CEO Louise Fish, and Grant Finney, who spoke movingly about the loss of his sister Jess who lived with Klippel Trenaunay Syndrome (KTS). The BIA is committed to continued collaboration on rare diseases, building on the momentum created through Rare Disease Day.

Looking to the new year in China – join our webinar tomorrow

If you're keen to understand the market opportunity and the support available to UK life science companies looking to expand or partner in this exciting market, we have the right webinar for you. Hosted by BIA and chaired by DBT China, you will hear from AstraZeneca and CBBC about opportunities for collaboration and partnering in China. Join us tomorrow at 10 am for what will be an important and time-saving hour for all. 

June Raine steps down

The end of an era for the MHRA as Dame June Raine has announced her intention to stand down as chief executive later this year. June has been a strong ally for the BIA, and we have built a very close working relationship since Brexit, particularly during the pandemic. In 2024, we'll see a new era for the MHRA as both a new chair and chief executive will come into position.

IRP up and running

It's good to see that the International Recognition Procedure (IRP) organised by the MHRA is now successfully producing licenses. The first product authorised was a new formulation of a bone cancer drug, and the process took 30 days. Read more

WTO ministerial conference

There were no shock headlines as the WTO ministerial conference closed this weekend in Abu Dhabi. This is just one of the international forums where countries are discussing how best to make the globe resilient to future pandemics. Thanks to hard work in the months before the event, it seems that some of the worst potential outcomes have been avoided. Focus now shifts to the World Health Organization and the forthcoming World Health Assembly where the pandemic record is the hot topic for discussion.

Celebrating International Women's Day

We are looking forward to the Women in Biotech event next week on 12 March. In this special extended Women in Biotech, we'll be celebrating International Women's Day with a full day of thought-leading panels and discussions, round tables on key topics, inspirational talks as well as exciting keynote speakers, addressing the two IWD themes of #InvestInWomen and #InspireInclusion - as well as heaps of networking opportunities.

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Steve Bates OBE
CEO, BioIndustry Association

More news and updates 

Continuity and change: Labour’s life science strategy

​​​​Herbie Lambden, Senior Policy and Public Affairs Executive at the BIA, provides a rundown of the BIA Committee Summit, which took place in Westminster on 21 February.

CEO Update - 22 April 2024

The UK's engineering biology scene was out in force at a Number 10 Downing Street reception last week. It was great to celebrate the developments in our community network together with ministers and investors.

Step up and create more inclusive workplaces within the biotech sector

In last year’s Diversity and Inclusion in UK Biotech survey conducted by the BIA, hearing loss emerged as one of the most prevalent disabilities. With Deaf Awareness Week 2024 (6-12 May) fast approaching, the BIA has teamed up with its charity partner, RNID, to offer valuable resources and initiatives for creating more inclusive workplaces across the biotech sector.

University of Oxford spin-out revealed as winner of ‘Golden Ticket’ programme for planetary health innovations

University of Oxford spin-out HydRegen has been revealed as the winner of a programme designed to recognise innovations in planetary health created by Pioneer Group in partnership with CPI.

Investing in life science – learnings from the first round of investments from Discovery Park Ventures

Launched in May 2022 by thriving life science community Discovery Park, Discovery Park Ventures (DPV) is an investment fund that invests in ambitious and growing life sciences companies, driving disruptive innovation and catalysing economic growth. Initially a £1 million fund, DPV has now expanded to £3 million.

AI in life sciences: future-proofing strategies

In the final piece of the 'AI in life sciences' series, Jenny Yu, Marsh’s Life Sciences industry practice leader and experts from law firm Kennedys emphasize essential steps for life sciences companies to develop and implement a successful AI business strategy. They delve into effective management of outcomes from AI technologies and strategies to mitigate potential risks.

CEO Update - 15 April 2024

In case you missed it last week, post-Brexit border paperwork and inspections have been postponed for the life sciences sector, thanks to BIA work. Importers of laboratory reagents and materials used in the manufacture of medicines in the UK’s life sciences sector have been given a six-month extension to make the necessary changes to their supply chains for new post-Brexit border paperwork and border inspections.

CHAIN Biotech collaborates with German Cancer Research Center on development of a novel oncology vaccine

CHAIN Biotechnology Ltd and the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) have signed an agreement to collaborate on the development of therapeutic cancer vaccines for indications caused by Human Papillomavirus (HPV).

Macomics unveils its lead first-in-class anti-pan-LILRB monoclonal antibody programme with positive pre-clinical data

Macomics’ lead programme, MACO-355, in IND enabling studies is a ligand-blocking independent pan-LILR monoclonal antibody for the treatment of cancer.

Coulter Partners top hires for VC & PE portfolio companies Q1-2024

Recent top global hires for Venture Capital and Private Equity portfolio companies, covering a broad range of disciplines and sectors across Life Sciences, Health and Tech.

Abzena announces major investment in bioconjugation and ADC capabilities in response to increasing industry demand

Abzena announced a significant expansion of their Bristol, PA bioconjugate development and cGMP manufacturing site. The $5 million investment in expanded laboratory space, new equipment, and facility upgrades, builds upon the site’s existing bioconjugation capabilities and increases capacity to support the delivery of fully integrated biopharmaceutical drug programs.

CEO Update - 8 April 2024

I don’t always start Newscast with a technical detail – but this one matters and underpins the work of many, many companies in our Association. In short, keep doing your experiments and manufacturing medicines as normal as we work hard to keep your reagents and materials supply chain operating smoothly.

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