CEO Update | Monday 22 July

In a week that will see a change of UK Prime Minister, I was delighted to be able to provide a positive and optimistic boost for the UK economy in launching a joint report with the Alliance of Regenerative Medicine (ARM), titled Leading Innovation: The UK’s ATMP landscape, which shows the UK’s globally leading position in advanced therapies, which includes the development of potentially transformative cell and gene therapies.


Key highlights from the report include: financings for Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products (ATMPs) companies grew 66% from £473m to £785m between 2017 and 2018 and stand at £347m for 2019 year to date; more than 70 ATMP developers are active in the UK, including 56 headquartered in the country; and ninety-three ATMP clinical trials are ongoing in the UK, including 27 sponsored by UK companies.


From left to right – Henny Braund, Steve Bates OBE, Keith Thompson, Janet Lambert and Stephen Hansen.


We had a fantastic panel discussion in London with Janet Lambert, CEO of the Alliance of Regenerative Medicine, Henny Braund, CEO of Anthony Nolan, Keith Thompson, CEO of the Cell and Gene Therapy  Catapult,  and Stephen Hansen, Associate Editor of BioCentury. I’d like to thank the Chair of the BIA’s Cell and Gene Therapy Advisory Committee, Sven Kili, for his opening remarks, as well as Minister for Innovation Baroness Nicola Blackwood and Daniel Zeichner, MP for Cambridge, who hosted and joined us for a celebratory reception in the House of Commons.


From left to right – Janet Lambert, Steve Bates OBE, Baroness Blackwood and Daniel Zeichner MP


My take is that the UK has already played a major role in the development of cell and gene therapies, establishing itself as a leader in this field. The UK has put in place a great strategy focusing on the right infrastructure, talent, and regulation as well as having a positive business environment. We are well set as an ecosystem to continue to be a leader in this space, and have a really strong academic, translational and third sector heritage that nowhere else on the globe can match.  We now need the commitment from all parts of the ecosystem to turbo charge the growth of the industry and adoption of these treatments to enable patients to benefit from them.


If that isn’t a platform any optimistic incoming administration doesn’t want to back, I don’t know what is. And if you are awaiting tomorrow’s result with interest for our sector, this article from George Freeman MP in London’s City AM is worth a read. We at the BIA will pull together a briefing on the incoming government, its new faces and priorities, and what that means for our sector in the coming week and plan to use next Monday’s Newscast as our first point of briefing to members.  


Sticking with our influencing efforts, we have just published our Quarter 2 report showing the BIA’s continued engagement with policymakers, regulatory authorities and wider stakeholders on behalf of members, from April to July 2019. I think it shows the impressive range of agendas the BIA team work and deliver on for our members and the positive impact for the sector that an effective trade association brings. I encourage you to share it with your team, and a non-member company, encouraging them to join the association. Copy me into your email so I can follow up.


If you are interested in manufacturing and logistics for our sector, the Government is investing up to £40m in match-funded testbeds and trials projects over the next two and a half yearsThis represents a great new opportunity for innovation across the manufacturing industry and its UK supply chain. Innovate UK will be holding a briefing session tomorrow (23 July) at the digital catapult in London , which is also being webcast.  


Why not take the opportunity of the slower summer weeks to book your ticket for our BioScience Forum and our Autumn Reception, our Early Bird rate closes on the 9th August. Please visit the conference website here.


If you want our latest take on Brexit our most recent webinar, recorded last Friday is now available on our youtube channel here.