CEO Update | Monday 08 July 2019

I attended the British Business Bank’s summer reception last week, celebrating its work to increase the availability of long-term patient capital for innovative U.K. companies. We were also told we can expect the outcome of the Bank’s work with pension providers to be published in the Autumn. Treasury minister Robert Jenrick MP delivered the keynote and I’m looking forward to meeting him on Wednesday, when I’ll be raising the importance of R&D tax credits, the Biomedical Catalyst and emphasising the need for continued government commitment to the patient capital agenda.


There is still intense media interest in the future of Neil Woodford’s funds and what the news means for our sector. I was recently interviewed by the Financial Times, where I didn’t shy away from the fact that Neil Woodford has been a fundamentally important supporter of our sector over the last decade but also pointed out that, what has changed in that time, is that the UK life sciences sector now has a maturing and more diverse funding base. Data from our  Confident Capital: backing UK biotech report was also used in the article, which shows the increasing range and nature of investors of UK life science over recent years.


Staying with the news, you may have seen an article in the Telegraph last Friday by Lord O’Shaughnessey, Lord Darzi and Sir John Bell. Together they make the case that, as a strong sector for the UK economy, which employs over a quarter of a million people across the four countries of the UK,  the new Prime Minister should continue with the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy and sector deals. This article comes at a time when ballot papers have now been sent out to Conservative party members, and in just over a fortnight we will see whether it will be Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt seeking to form a new government, potentially with a refreshed policy platform. 


July is set to be a busy month at the BIA. Our staff and over 40 member companies will be heading to Westminster, for our annual Parliament Day. This is a key opportunity to advocate our sector’s strengths to a variety of lawmakers and understand where government and opposition policy is, in relation to the different areas of our sector.


Straight after Parliament Day, I will be heading over to the BIA’s annual Summer Reception at the world famous Tower Bridge. It’s also great to see BIA members presenting our sector to London investors at the London Stock Exchange this week at the 5th Annual Future of Healthcare Investor Forum.


The Patient Access to Medicines Partnership (PAMP),  an expert sub-group of the Life Sciences Council, met for the first time last week  at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, I was delighted to attend what I hope will become a practical and delivery focused group.


Congratulations to Sunil Shah, CEO of o2h Ventures, who has won the prestigious UKBAA Angel Investor of the Year Award for his participation in backing high growth potential startups and early-stage businesses in the UK. Sunil has been an active investor and supporter of our sector and it’s great that he has been recognised with this award.


I also wanted to flag that the latest round of the Analysis for Innovators (A4I) programme will soon launch. The programme is funded by several partners, including Innovate UK and the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), and gives companies access to cutting-edge R&D, expertise and facilities to help solve analysis or measurement problems that can't be cracked using standard technologies and techniques. The KTN is holding a series of briefing events throughout July – see here for more info.


Looking forward to seeing many of you at our events this week