CEO Update | Monday 4 February 2019

I hope this week that you have been heartened by the news that the first child has been given pioneering CAR-T cancer therapy on the NHS.  We also saw announced the death of Dr Stewart Adams, the 95 year old Boots scientist who pioneered the painkiller ibuprofen in the East Midlands in the late 1950s and early 1960s (by curing his own hangover, no less). As Professor Kevin Shakesheff, from the University of Nottingham, said "He is remembered for his successes in creating one of the most important painkillers in world but, as with many inspirational people, he had to bounce back from failures in earlier clinical trials before he and his team created ibuprofen. His life is a reminder to everyone in Nottingham that we can change the world through the work we do in our local companies, hospitals and universities." From penicillin right up to the tailored cell and gene therapies of the modern day it’s great to see the UK continuing to be on the cutting edge of science, shaping medical history. We take great pride in our members who are helping to make this happen.


I hope you will all be joining us for the Committee Summit on 14 February. As well as an opportunity to find out what all the BIA’s advisory committees are working on in 2019, we have an excellent panel lined up to discuss this year’s spending review, which will determine government spending for our sector from 2019-23. Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner will chair the panel of representatives from HM Treasury, UKRI, Innovate UK, and BBSRC. This is your opportunity as BIA members to shape the sector’s message to government as we head into this critical year. See the events page for more details and to register.


BIA members are looking forward to presenting in New York next week and in May this year we will be bringing a UK delegation to the MIXiii Biomed conference in Tel Aviv, in partnership with the NHSA and the UK Israel Tech Hub.  BIA members can join our official UK stand as part of a high-profile UK delegation with knowledge and expertise in the Israeli market. Israel is a life sciences powerhouse, being the world leader in the number of medical device patents per capita, and second in biopharmaceuticals. It has over 1,400 healthcare start-ups and is #1 in terms of R&D spend as a percentage of GDP. BIA members interested in joining our delegation should contact BIA Membership and Business Development Manager, Michael McGivern.


Looking further ahead to the BIO conference in the summer, UK life sciences companies and organisations that want to register for a pod on the UK Pavilion at the BIO International Convention 3-6 June 2019 in Philadelphia need to apply to the Department of International Trade by Thursday 8 February this week, for the chance to get company profile on the UK Pavilion and use meeting space on the stand. You can contact DIT for more information.


Health Data Research UK has announced the winners of ten innovative data solutions to healthcare challenges, which are set to receive a share of £3m. The projects are funded through UKRI’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. Each of the ten funded initiatives will show how technology and data solutions can improve lives and speed up innovation in the NHS and UK life sciences.


On Brexit I expect more information on no-deal planning to flow from the government this week – several Statutory Instruments relevant to our sector are either expected to be published or debated in parliament this week and we’ll update on the specifics next week. The next BIA/ABPI Brexit Lead Network takes place on 25 February.  As with previous meetings, this meeting is for members of ABPI and/or BIA and is intended for those leading Brexit activity within companies. You can register here. The MHRA have also asked that I remind relevant companies to complete the grandfathering of their CAPs. For more on this you can contact BIA Brexit Lead Laura Collister. Be sure to tune in to our Brexit briefing webinar on 15 February also. 


If your business benefits from Horizon 2020 funding (something I know members have mixed experience of) the UK Government is urging you to register their details on an online portal so that you can continue to receive funding if the UK leaves the EU with no deal. While many organisations have registered, thousands are yet to sign up. The Government is committed to underwriting Horizon 2020 funding if needed, but recipients need to register to receive updates. More info here.


Continuing on no deal Brexit, if your company imports or exports endangered animals, plants or their products under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), you should read the Government’s guidance on how this trade would be affected if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.


Whilst much of the news from the North East this week has focused on goings-on at Nissan, people may have overlooked the fact that BIA member Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies has announced the inception of a new “Centre of Excellence in Bioprocessing 2.0” in the UK. The Centre will be led and funded by Fujifilm in partnership with the University of Edinburgh, the University of Manchester, and the University of York, with the aim to address challenges and opportunities in bioprocessing. It’s great to see global companies continuing to invest in the UK’s excellent bioscience and manufacturing base.


Until next week



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