CEO Update | Monday 02 September 2019
Channelling the September back-to-school spirit, this week’s blog looks ahead to what I see as the five key areas for us as we move through Autumn and into Winter.
1. Reminding lawmakers and stakeholders of the strengths of our innovative sector
The UK is a fantastic place to do science, we have a thriving research base where innovative companies are developing the medicines and therapies that will make crucial differences in patient care in the years and decades ahead.
I have said before in previous blogs that it was reassuring to hear Boris Johnson in his first speech as Prime Minister referencing the work of BIA member companies and our initial intelligence from the new regime in Downing Street, is that the Government sees the value and potential of our sector.
What that looks like in practice will be influenced by the story we tell, and I think there are some key messages we must keep repeating:
- 2018 was a record year for investment in our industry, with the UK biotech sector raising a record £2.2 billion from investors in 2018. This shows that global investors see the value, and want to be part, of the UK’s exciting and fast-growing biotech opportunity.
- Our sector holds the promise to some of the solutions of the biggest challenges of our age – disease, aging and the need for environmental sustainability. For example, the UK is at the forefront of a range of innovative medicines and treatments. The BIA launched a report this summer with the Alliance of Regenerative Medicines (ARM) setting out the scope of the UK’s robust and growing Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products (ATMPs) sector, which includes the development of potentially transformative cell and gene therapies.
2. Getting the support from government to enable our sector to thrive
We will continue to stress members’ priorities on R&D tax credits, funding schemes like the Biomedical Catalyst, and the need for a simple and responsive immigration system. We want to make sure we are communicating your priorities to government and other stakeholders, if there are issues of which we need to be made aware of please contact a member of the Policy and Public Affairs team.
3. Preparing effectively for Brexit and beyond
The proroguing of Parliament and its subsequent impact on what form of Brexit the UK takes, whether that is a no deal or a transition period to a deal, will become clearer as we get closer to October 31. At present uncertainty levels are even higher than normal in Westminster. This Friday we continue our Brexit webinar series, where I hope to be able to provide a succinct summary of Brexit developments, what the key issues are for our sector and where to get the best information possible in an ever-changing landscape.
4. Providing great networking and events
BIA events and conferences provide a collaborative space for our members to engage with each other and key stakeholders in the sector, informing them of new developments and policies that will affect their businesses. Our events help members grow their profile and networks, fostering collaboration and connections.
5. Seizing emerging international opportunities
The success of UK life sciences means that we are becoming a highly attractive sector for international investment and collaboration. The US/China trade war means that Chinese investors are now increasingly looking to Europe, concerned about potential barriers with the US. The BIA is continuing to establish good working relationships with counterparts in the Far East, and members who are keen to explore R&D and business opportunities might be interested to attend the 6th BioCentury-BayHelix China Healthcare Summit in Shanghai on 18-20 November. We’ve secured a 20% discount for members, please email Miriam to get the access code.
Only this week, we have secured BIA members a 20% discount for Australia’s key biotech conference AusBio, so if you are considering the long trip please email Michael McGivern to get the discount code.