CEO Update: Monday 12 February

Thank you to all our members who joined our Brexit lead event last week. It was great to be able to share perspectives on what is a fast moving key issue. I was pleased that members confirmed that we should stay our course on the Brexit priorities agreed last year, which we will keep stressing to the UK government, and with our European partner associations to the EU-27.

One issue that emerged and that we’ll be working on this week is a new survey on medicine supply issues with regard to Brexit which the Department of Health have commissioned but over which there is industry confusion. We will share further communication on this later this week – and hope to hold a special explainer webinar.

February’s regular Brexit briefing webinar will be taking place on the Friday the 23rd. As usual, I’ll be giving a monthly update on government policy, progress of working groups, and how these potentially affect companies in life sciences. Make sure to register on our website and visit our YouTube channel to catch up on previous months’ webinars.

Last week the BIA responded to a consultation on clinical research held by NHS England. The consultation set out proposals for how NHS England, the Department of Health and Social Care, and the Health Research Authority (HRA) will implement changes to simplify NHS research proposals to manage excess treatment costs better in non-commercial research and cut NHS bureaucracy for commercial clinical research set-up. In our response, we highlighted the UK’s strong reputation for supporting innovative clinical development. However, NHS contracting mechanisms are often too bureaucratic, lengthy, and inconsistent and the importance of making it quick and seamless to set-up clinical studies. We also encouraged our members to respond via the relevant Advisory Committees.

The Office of Life Sciences is also holding a consultation and is seeking input from companies producing medical and diagnostic technologies. Specifically, they want to gather views on the sharing of sales volume data for publication in the Innovation Scorecard, with the aim of raising awareness of these products and improving patient access across NHS organisations. If your company is active in this area, make sure to respond to the consultation here before it closes on 4 April.

In funding news, the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) is holding several briefing events and workshops over the next few weeks for upcoming funding competitions in the life sciences. These include a collaboration workshop in London this Friday on the ISCF Healthy Ageing challenge, a briefing event in Leeds on 6 March on Innovate UK’s Digital Health Technology Catalyst funding competition, and an engagement workshop in York on March 7 on the ISCF Medicines Manufacturing Round 2 Challenge Fund competition. These events are always very useful if you are planning on applying for funding, so visit the KTN website and mark the dates in your calendar.

Following consultation, we have decided that our People Advisory Committee needs to re-boot, re-energise and scope out its future activities. With a renewed and specific emphasis on talent and skills, the committee is aiming to change its direction significantly over the next few months. This is something we need your help with. The BIA are looking for people who can provide input and direction into these key areas. This knowledge will then inform our activity and we need to involve people working across a range of company sizes and demographics. We need to capture the talent, skills and people needs of the breadth of SMEs and companies we represent.

If you’d like to engage with this, your involvement can begin at the Committee Summit on Thursday 22nd February at Simmons and Simmons in London. There will be a brain-storming session from 9-11 am to gather ideas and develop the way ahead. If you wish to stay for just this session or the entire day, the agenda and booking details can be found here.

And finally, on 28 April several BIA staff will be taking part in the gruelling ‘Tough Mudder Half’, a 5-mile obstacle race, to raise money for Parkinson’s UK, the BIA’s Charity of the Year for 2018. It’s not going to be an easy challenge and it’s a fantastic cause so please show your support by donating via the team’s Just Giving page to help them reach their fundraising goal.



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