CEO Update: Monday 11 December

Last week, we saw the release of the highly anticipated Life Sciences Sector Deal from government, and it was fantastic to see that ours is the first sector to have a deal published – a clear recognition of our industry’s importance to the future growth and prosperity of the country.

The document showcases a range of investment into the industry, and the deal as a whole shows government commitment to the agenda we have long led on access to finance, support for start-up and scale-up businesses, Innovate UK funding and medicines manufacturing.

It was also encouraging to see examples of recent good news from several BIA members directly highlighted in the deal, including Oxford Biomedica, Touchlight Genetics, and Adaptimmune.

The BIA will be involved in the implementation of the deal as a clear voice for small businesses and I look forward to engaging in the planned funding and review next year.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         On Brexit, I was pleased to see an agreement reached late last week on phase one of the negotiations. It is now crucial that the UK and EU agree a transition period to ensure that the supply of medicines to patients in the UK and across Europe is not affected. Public health and health security should be the first priority for the second phase of talks and we stand ready as a unified life sciences sector to provide expert input on such a process.                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

On the detail, greater certainty in key areas proposed is welcome. I hope the citizens rights proposals enable people to better plan their life science careers with their families. My initial reading of the ‘goods on the market’ proposals is that it should enable medicinal products that have been tested and released prior to the Brexit date (which may well now be later than March 2019) to be freely available in the EU, even if that testing and release is carried out in the UK and the goods are shipped to other EU countries after the UK withdraws. This is important detail for global companies deciding how, and crucially when, to progress existing Brexit contingency plans.

We also saw some very interesting data published last week, including a report on the funding of university spinouts by Penningtons Manches, which showed that a record breaking £1bn has been invested so far in 2017, with life sciences companies achieving the most deals of any sector in 2016.  The full report can be found here.     

Biocity have also published an interesting report, presenting data on start-ups in the life sciences for 2012-2016. Again, this data is very positive, showing an unprecedented amount of money being invested in young UK life sciences companies. The statistics laid out in these two reports set a very positive tone for SMEs in the sector going into 2018.

Last week we held a webinar entitled ‘A Practical Guide to MiFID II’. We had a selection of great speakers from Consilium, Covington, and Klein-Edmonds Associates who explained the new regulations, the impact they will have on investors and biotech companies, and gave advice on how to proceed. If you weren’t able to tune in, we have now uploaded it to the BIA YouTube channel and it can be accessed here.

Looking ahead, the last BIA Brexit briefing webinar of the year will be taking place at 4pm on Wednesday December 20th. As per usual, I’ll be giving an update on Government policy, progress of working groups, and how these potentially affect companies in the life sciences. Make sure to register here and note the time and date in your diaries.

We will also be updating members on our plans for the JP Morgan and the biotech showcase later in the week, so keep an eye on your inboxes.  




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