CEO Update: Monday 23 October

I’m very pleased to start the week by congratulating the new members who have been elected to the BIA Board. The four corporate places on the Board will be filled by Jane Dancer of F-star, Jackie Hunter of Benevolent AI, Kyriacos Mitrophanous of Oxford Biomedica, and Keith Thomson of the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult who was re-elected. We also had one other Board place up for election, which will be filled by Sue Charles of Instinctif Partners. These new appointments build on the existing strength of the BIA Board and broaden our expertise as the association continues to take on the challenges presented by Brexit to ensure that our members can grow and be successful. Congratulations to all the new board members, and thank you to all the candidates who put themselves up for election, as well as to everyone who voted.

The Government’s new UK Research and Innovation organisation (UKRI) is also recruiting council members, for each of the nine research bodies that it aims to bring together from next year. It is currently looking for candidates with expertise in research and innovation from a range of professional backgrounds to support the UKRI in its mission to be the single, strong voice of UK research and innovation. This is a great opportunity to play a key role in a new and promising government organisation that will directly affect our sector, and I urge any interested individuals to find out more and apply.

As some of you may be aware, Innovate UK will be launching a pilot innovation loan scheme intended to offer repayable funding, through funding competitions, to SMEs that are in later-stage R&D projects that can demonstrate a clear route to commercial success. To further explain the rationale behind the loan scheme, which will sit alongside existing and successful Innovate UK grant schemes such as the Biomedical Catalyst, and how they fit into the current funding landscape, KTN will be hosting a series of events across the country to introduce the pilot programme.

In other financial news, HMRC is hosting a webinar on the incentive tax relief for companies holding qualifying IP rights, called the Patent Box, on 1 November 2017 between 12 and 1pm. The rules, including the qualifying criteria, will be discussed as well as the records that need to be kept and an overview of how to approach the computation. You can register here.

Last Friday we ran the latest BIA Brexit webinar in our monthly series. I gave an update on government policy, progress of working groups, and the key points of interest for our sector. If you weren’t able to tune in, the full video has been uploaded to the BIA YouTube channel.

In other Brexit news, thank you to those members that submitted information and case studies for inclusion in the joint submission with the ABPI to the Migration Advisory Committee’s consultation on Brexit and the movement of people.  We are currently in the finalisation stage and it will shortly be submitted.

Last week I also attended a reception for a trade delegation from San Diego. This was a useful opportunity to strengthen connections with another global biotech cluster and for the UK to showcase its expertise at a time when our international profile is more important than ever.

Tomorrow I’ll be heading to Parliament as I’ve been invited to give oral evidence to the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee, as part of their inquiry into Life Sciences and the Industrial Strategy, alongside representatives from the AMRC and the ABPI. Opportunities like this to engage with Government are vital in ensuring that this strategy can pave the way for an impactful sector deal that will deliver the BIA’s vision to establish the UK as the third global cluster for life sciences.

In events news, we are supporting the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine’s upcoming 5th annual European Advanced Therapies Investor Day on the 9th of November in central London. This event is the largest annual EU investor conference focused on cell and gene therapy, and will feature a full day of presentations and panel discussions by prominent companies in the field, leading investors, and regulatory experts from the EU and beyond. For more information and to register for the event, please go to ARM’s website.

Finally, I’d like to remind you all that bioProcessUK 2017 is on the horizon, taking place in Cardiff City Hall on 29-30 November, with a pre-conference networking evening on the 28th at Cardiff Castle. This annual event is a fantastic opportunity to catch up with the latest developments within bioprocessing, to promote your organisation, and to network with delegates from across the sector. Last year we saw over 300 attendees, so make sure to register before it fills up.




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