CEO Update | Monday 12 April

Medicines & Diagnostics Manufacturing Transformation Fund

It was fantastic to see the launch of the Medicines & Diagnostics Manufacturing Transformation Fund which aims to boost economic opportunities, innovation and health resilience by supporting medicines and diagnostics manufacturing investments in the UK. Life sciences companies can apply to the new £20 million fund here. This fund was created following recommendations made by the Medicines Manufacturing Industry Partnership (MMIP), led by BIA, the ABPI and KTN. The fund will provide capital grants for total project costs of £8m or more, with no upper limit, and is open for applications until 30 June 2021.

The importance of the UK being a leader in medicines manufacturing has been made clear during the COVID-19 pandemic. The BIA’s early collaborative work has enabled the UK Vaccine Taskforce to establish a UK supply chain for the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine and make further investments into future vaccine manufacturing capability, such as the Cell and Gene Manufacturing Innovation Centre at Braintree and the new centre of excellence for mRNA vaccines at CPI in Darlington. 

Last week Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited AstraZeneca’s Macclesfield manufacturing campus celebrating the £380m investment in a new advanced medicine manufacturing facility and Global Medicines Packaging Centre. The Macclesfield campus is the UK’s largest medicines development and advanced manufacturing site and is a global centre of excellence from where AstraZeneca exports more than 50 medicines to 130 countries. The investment in a new state-of-the-art manufacturing and packing facility provides capacity to meet rising global demand for AstraZeneca’s oncology medicine Zoladex.


COVID-19 vaccines

Last week the MHRA issued new advice regarding the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine concluding a possible link between the vaccine and extremely rare, unlikely to occur, blood clots. This has led to a ‘course correction’ which will see those under 30 being offered an alternative vaccine.

It’s great to see that Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine is now being rolled out across the UK, with the Government having bought 17 million doses.


Positive sector news

Just before Easter, Arecor announced that it had received £2.8m through the Biomedical Catalyst (BMC) to support the Phase II development of AT247, its ultra-rapid acting insulin product candidate which is based on Arecor’s proprietary Arestat™ technology platform. The BIA was instrumental in securing the launch of the BMC in 2011 and made its continuation a key campaign focus. Read more about the BIA's decade-long campaign for the BMC here


Upcoming events

This Thursday we will be hosting a Brexit briefing webinar which will focus on developments within the EU now that the UK has left. We will be joined by Bernard Grimm, Healthcare Biotech Director at EuropaBio. In particular, his presentation will look at the EU’s new Pharmaceutical Strategy. Register here.

Our next regional event is taking place next Thursday and will focus on advanced therapies in the South West of England. There have been many success stories coming out of this part of the UK ecosystem in recent months, from the development of exciting early-stage start-ups to the significant expansion of established companies in the region. There will be presentations from key players in the sector, followed by a panel discussion where we will consider why the South West of England has been a location for these exciting innovations, and what can be done to maintain and build on these in future. Register here.


Steve Bates

Chief Executive Officer


Steve Bates has been the CEO of the UK Bioindustry Association since 2012. He currently chairs the International Council of Biotech Associations and has been a Board member of Europabio since 2015. Steve is the visible face of the vibrant UK life sciences industry to government and media. He sits on the UK’s Life Sciences Council and Life Sciences Industrial Strategy Implementation Board. Steve has championed with government effective industrial incentives like the Biomedical Cataylst which have crowded-in private sector investment into UK SMES. He has forged links for the sector across the USA, Europe and in China. In his time at the BIA Steve has developed new member groups focused on cell and gene therapy, genomics and engineered biology. A strong advocate of partnership working, Steve champions sector collaboration with research charities and academia. Proud to lead an organisation with a diverse Board with over 40% female representation, Steve is committed to next generation talent and developing the skills needed for the sector to flourish. Before the BIA, Steve worked for Genzyme and as an advisor to the UK Government of Tony Blair. He was made OBE for services to innovation in 2017.