CEO Update: Monday 8 January

It’s been a busy and exciting start to 2018 for me, as I’m currently in San Francisco leading a BIA delegation to the annual JP Morgan Week and Biotech Showcase, both of which kicked off here today. We will be using this opportunity to fly the flag for UK bioscience and highlight our strengths to an international audience.

Alongside Genomics England and MedCity, we will be co-sponsoring a panel discussion ‘Generation Genome and Industrial Strategy: Leveraging UK Leadership in Genomics’ taking place this afternoon at 2pm (10pm UK time). The panel will bring together representatives from Genomics England, technology partners, SMEs and the venture community to debate the opportunities and challenges that will shape the growth of the UK’s genomics industry and its impact worldwide.  We will then be heading to the UK Department for International Trade’s networking event this evening to connect with US life science companies, renowned expats, and key opinion leaders from industry.

This is one of the largest and busiest gatherings in the bioscience calendar and we will be updating members on highlights from the week and key points of interest in due course.

After a restful Christmas break, the BIA team hit the ground running last week with the launch of our new best practices guide for communicating R&D to investors and the public. The guide, which is an update to previous versions published in 2001 and 2006, has been produced in consultation with our membership and the investment community, and with the support of Consilium Strategic Communications, Instinctif Partners and Simmons & Simmons. It aims to ensure that investors and the wider public are well informed and confident about bioscience, as this is crucial to the success of individual companies and the sector as a whole. Make sure to download the guide and share it with your network.

On Thursday, I had a positive inaugural meeting with Sir Mark Walport, CEO Designate of UK Research and Innovation. We discussed a number of topics of mutual interest, including UKRI’s core objectives, tech transfer, patient capital, and the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF). There is ambition for the ISCF to be a long-running programme and the recently announced “early diagnosis” pathway will be of particular importance to BIA members. UKRI will be formed in April this year and it was great to meet Sir Mark to establish an important relationship.

In funding news, KTN will be holding a number of briefing events over the next few weeks covering Innovate UK's £19m sector competition for health & life sciences and emerging & enabling technologies, which opens on January 22nd. There will also be a webcast if you can’t attend a briefing event in person. Full details of both the competition and the briefing events can be found here.

It was fantastic to see the launch of the £10m Future Vaccine Manufacturing Hub in late December at Imperial College London, funded by the Department of Health and the EPSRC.  The hub will support collaborative research with national and international partners and will keep the UK at the forefront of the fight against infectious disease outbreaks across the world.

In events news, January’s Brexit briefing webinar will be taking place on the 19th at 4pm. The webinars were highly popular last year, and we had very positive feedback, so I’d urge you all to tune in and catch up with the latest developments and key things to look out for in 2018. You can register here. You can also watch our previous webinars in the Brexit briefing series on our YouTube channel.

And finally, the unmissable BIA Gala Dinner is now right around the corner. Taking place on January 25th in the Brewery, it promises to be a highlight of the bioscience calendar. If you haven’t yet bought a ticket, there are a small number still available, which you can purchase here.



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