CEO Update | Monday 4 March 2019

Fantastic member news came out this morning – Nighstar Therapeutics (who feature in our Cell and Gene Therapies Explainer) have reached an agreement to be acquired by Biogen Switzerland Holdings for $877 million. Nightstar was founded and built by BIA member Syncona Ltd, an industry leader focussed on building and funding global life science leaders. This valuation represents a 4.5X multiple on Syncona’s initial investment in Nightstar and is a resounding endorsement of Syncona’s business model, demonstrating the fantastic returns obtainable through long-term commitment to companies. You can read more about this great news here.


Today is the first working day of the European Medicines Agency being outside the UK.  Whilst it is in the process of becoming fully operational in Amsterdam, it is now no longer based in the UK. The agency was located here for 24 years from 1995 til 2019. They have released this video looking back on their time in London and they have thanked the London community for their gracious hosting over the last few decades. We wish all at the EMA the very best of luck as they transition to their new space in Amsterdam.


MHRA's no-deal regulations go to Parliament this week. The draft Human Medicines (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 and Draft Medicines for Human Use (Clinical Trials) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 will be in the House of Lords on Thursday.  BIA is advocating for the regulations to be agreed, but for the Government to commit to reviewing them immediately in the event of a no-deal situation. We’ll continue to watch this situation closely and update membership next week.


Government recently wrote to marketing authorisation holders with operational details about shipping routes between the EU and the UK and warehousing capacity for additional buffer stock.  Information has been provided for companies to register.  There is no obligation to utilise the capacity, but companies should register now if they think they may need it.  If you have not received the letter and think that you should have please contact


Registration is now open for the next BIA/ABPI Brexit Lead network on the morning of 9 April.  The event is for members only. You can register for the event here. Registrations are also open for this month’s webinar, which takes place 22 March. Wednesday 20 March marks 1000 days since the referendum took place, with Brexit Day drawing closer and closer. If you missed February’s webinar you can catch up on YouTube here or with our new podcasted version here if you’re on the go.


Continuing our policy work to increase the supply of long-term patient capital into our sector, we have responded to two consultations on fund regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). We have asked them to focus on investment in innovative enterprises and called for rule changes to enable the creation of more life science collective investment vehicles of the scale to support biotech companies as they grow in the long-term. You can read our submission here.     


International Women’s Day takes place this Friday and we’re looking forward to welcoming lots of our members on Thursday to our first Women In Biotech event of 2019. You can register for a place here. This event will focus on what it takes to build a good board, what makes a good Non-Executive Director and what a CEO wants and needs from their board members, all through the lens of improving the representation women in these top executive positions. Do register and join us for a great discussion and plenty of opportunities to network.


Later this month we’ll all be welcoming upcoming life science entrepreneurs to our PULSE event in conjunction with The Crick – applications are now closed and we have a great bunch of vibrant and enthusiastic players joining us for what promises to be a great event. Though the places for the workshop are full, do feel free to join us for our Future Industry Leaders Networking drinks from 17.30 on 19 March.


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