CEO Update | Monday 13 May 2019

Today we’ve launched the 2019 State of the Discovery Nation report in conjunction with the Medicines Discovery Catapult. It provides insights into the UK’s growing medicines discovery industry, revealing a thriving service and supply sector for the UK in addition to its R&D biotechs. Research for the report found that service and supply companies account for 80% of SMEs in UK medicines discovery, and 90% of employment.


Yesterday the Sunday Times reported on our concerns about the proposed changes to this key scheme. The Government is consulting on capping cash payments to SMEs at 3 times the company’s PAYE and national insurance liabilities, which has a significant impact on our sector due to the outsourcing model of many biotechs. We will be submitting a formal response to the consultation but it is also very important that the Government hears from companies directly, so please take the time to respond before the 24 May deadline. More information on the consultation and how to respond can be found here and you can contact Martin if you have an questions.


On Brexit, Conservative and Labour Party negotiations continue, while campaigning is gearing up for the European Elections on 23 May.  We will update further in the BIA Brexit webinar taking place this Thursday at 4pm. Register here to join, whether you are a member or simply interested in what Brexit means for our sector. If you are heading to BIO 2019, you can register here for a separate webinar on Thursday at which we will discuss how to get the most out of the experience. Both webinars are open to all. While you have your calendar open, be sure to pencil in the date for our UK CEO and Investor Forum taking place this year on 24-25 June at the De Vere Latimer Estate. It promises to be a great forum for networking and thought leadership – take a look at the conference site to find out more.


In funding news, a £22 million competition for Digital Innovation Hubs has gone live. The competition is funded through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund and will establish up to five Digital Innovation Hubs with a focus on curated, disease-focused datasets, clinical trials and real-world evidence. The competition is for organisations interested in becoming a Digital Innovation Hub and industry partnerships are encouraged. More information can be found here.


 At the London School of Economics last week, Minister for Research and Innovation, Chris Skidmore MP delivered the first in a series of speeches about how the UK can best achieve its ambition to invest 2.4% of GDP in R&D by 2027. He acknowledged that achieving this goal would require significant investment and, while fostering homegrown talent will be key to achieve the target, attracting and maintaining international talent will also be essential. A series of speeches well worth watching.


BIA CEO, Steve Bates OBE, pictured here with (L-R) Dr. Fraser Brown, Dr. Ian Fotheringham (Ingenza’s Managing Director), Dr. Alison Arnold and Dr. Franck Escalettes at Ingenza at the Roslin campus.


I’m looking forward to the Life Sciences Council  Spring meeting with Ministers this week and had a great trip to Scotland last week visiting BIA members, Synpromics and Ingenza at their relatively new homes on the Roslin campus. It was great to speak with investors and managers at the Epidarex meeting, lovely to see all involved in fine fettle.


I hope you can join us at a webinar this week.