CEO Update | Monday 15 July 2019

Last week we held our 19th annual BIA Parliament Day, bringing over 30 biotech sector leaders to Westminster to meet MPs, civil servants and NHS senior leadership. It was a great opportunity to highlight the value of the sector to key senior stakeholders and also for our members to learn more about what is going on in the machinery of government. Thank you to all members who helped make it such a success.


In the course of the day, we met, amongst others, Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, Nina Pinwill, Head of Commercial Operations at NHS England, the Rt Hon Sir Norman Lamb MP, Chair of the Commons Science and Technology Committee and Caroline Nokes MP, Minister of State for Immigration. We were also hosted by Lord O’Shaughnessy, the former Life Sciences Ministers, for lunch in the House of Lords, during which he noted the great strides in scientific advancement and the importance of the industry to the UK economy and NHS patients. Below is a photo  from the day and more photos can be found here.



Caption: BIA staff and Parliament Day before attending a meeting with Home Office officials. Photo credit Peter Ryan.  


I was also busy last week flying the flag for the sector in the financial community as well as among politicians. We were at the London Stock Exchange (LSE) on Wednesday for the fifth annual Future of Healthcare Investor Forum, where we were industry partner to co-hosts the London Stock Exchange & MedCity, and sponsors Consillium, JP Morgan and Numis.  It was great to have lots of BIA members presenting on panels, including Oxford Biomedica, Sensyne Health, and Horizon Discovery. We also had Health Secretary Matt Hancock deliver the keynote address, and great to hear him recognise the life sciences as a key pillar of the economy and highlight the importance of R&D tax credits in UK’s competitiveness.

On Thursday we held our Summer Reception at Tower Bridge. Guests enjoyed the opportunity to network in one of London’s most iconic landmarks and take in the fabulous views of central London. The event was a sell out and a good time was had by all. . I’d like to pass on our thanks to our event sponsors Herbert Smith Freehills - to see photos of the evening, please follow this link.


You may have seen press coverage of a UK Government announcement last week an initiative to encourage the development of new antibiotics.  A new trial will be led by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and NHS England and NHS Improvement, into a ‘subscription’ style model that aims to pay pharmaceutical companies upfront for access to drugs based on their usefulness to the NHS.

Precise details of how the scheme will work were not released, which makes it harder for organisations like ours to convince global investors to support UK companies that might take advantage of this new model, but there is a new email address at NICE, for companies who may have a product to be considered under the new scheme. It is

I encourage companies developing anti-microbial resistance (AMR ) agents (and investors who may wish to support them) to enquire about the details via this email. As Health Secretary Matt Hancock MP said in the announcement the “The NHS is in a unique position to take a global lead in testing new payment models. We will take the lead, but this is a global problem and we cannot succeed alone.” Health Minister Nicola Blackwood explained “this project is an important step but it will only address global market failure if other countries do the same, which is why we want to involve as many countries as we can and share our learning from this work.” It’s positive to see the UK continue its commitment to this global agenda and send a signal to the rest of the world that this country is prepared to pioneer new market models to stimulate investment in these vital medicines.

We are now a week away from learning whether Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt will be the new leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. When the winner meets the Queen to be asked to form a Government, it will be 99 days until the 31 October Brexit deadline. For the latest on what we know about Brexit and the no-deal plans  join us this Friday afternoon for our monthly Brexit webinar. Register here and you can go into your holidays fully Brexit (if not beach) ready.  


At a recent BIA Science and Innovation Advisory Committee (SIAC) workshop, one of the key questions posed to the funding bodies present was how can industry best influence sector funding strategy – now is your chance! The Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC) is seeking applications to join their Strategic Advisory Teams to start in January 2020. Closing date is 23 August 2019 at 16.00. Full details and an application form can be found on their website – please make the most of this great opportunity to represent our sector.


On Thursday 18 July, the BIA and the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine (ARM) will be launching a joint report in central London. Do keep an eye on the BIA and ARM twitter feeds on Thursday and I will go into more detail in next week’s blog following publication.