CEO Update | Monday 29 July

In his first speech outside No 10 Prime Minister Boris Johnson directly referenced Gyroscope, a great British success and BIA member company.


Gyroscope is developing a gene therapy for blindness and has directly benefitted from the UK Life Sciences Industrial Strategy. Thanks to Innovate UK grant funding, last year Syncona-backed Gyroscope partnered with North East-based CPI, UK SME Freeline  and NHS Blood and Transplant to develop a shared scalable suspension platform for the cost effective manufacture of novel adeno-associated viral (AAV) gene therapies.


The major challenge facing commercialisation of gene therapies globally is the manufacture and supply of products at a commercial scale. Thanks to this public-private partnership, Gyroscope and Freeline will develop a proprietary, serum-free, scalable, suspension-based manufacturing platform in the UK, which will improve product quality, safety, robustness and reduce the costs of goods at commercial scale for an emerging global industry.


A successful outcome will address a significant manufacturing challenge for Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products (ATMPs), strengthen the UK position as a leader in scientific innovation, offer scope for investment and employment in UK Pharmaceutical manufacturing and bring healthcare benefits to patients.


It's with this story that we’ve introduced our sector to the new Government and and the many new ministers in new roles. The Prime Minister’s initial words have given confidence to the life sciences sector that it will be a priority for this Government, and we trust he is prepared to take bold actions to support UK entrepreneurs and prepare our economy for the future.

In letters to key members of the Cabinet, we’ve stressed member priorities – R&D tax credits, Innovate UK schemes like the Biomedical Catalyst, the need for a simple and responsive immigration system and concerns about a no-deal Brexit. We have today republished our guide to the Government which explains the key ministerial appointments for our sector.  You can read the guide here.


It was great to see so many of you at the joint ABPI and BIA Brexit Lead Network event last week, we were able to write to Steve Oldfield with some detailed follow-up on members’ issues.

The nomination process for the BIA Board is now open  This year, there are five places up for election - four for 'Corporate' members and one for 'Other' members. The elections will take place during September and into October and, pending approval at the AGM in the Autumn, those elected will join the BIA's Board commencing 1 January 2020 and will serve a three year term.

Nominations must be received by close of business on Thursday 12 September 2019.Please notify any of your colleagues who you think may be interested and qualify with the following criteria.  (Eligibility for Corporate Members is that nominees shall, at the time of their election, be Chief Executive Officers, or divisional chiefs (or their equivalent) or chairperson of a Corporate member company (except in the case of a Corporate Member which is a UK branch or subsidiary of a foreign corporation, in which case a senior representative of the UK branch or subsidiary may be appointed). Within the 'Other' Member category nominees shall, at the time of their election, be employees of either an Associate Member company or a Network Member company.) Only one representative from any member company may be appointed to the Board. Any questions please to Nick Gardiner, Company Secretary


Finally sad news to pass on that Chris Hewitt has died. Well known in the UK bioprocessing community he established the Centre for Biological Engineering at Loughborough, and was an incredible mentor who helped develop some of the most talented PhD graduates to the sector. A great shock and a real loss.  Our condolences to his family and friends.