CEO Update: Tuesday 12th September

It’s a new term with a new look here at the BIA. Not just a new look Newscast but the BIA’s new website has now gone live. A significant update being cleaner, sleeker, and more user-friendly than our old site, with new member functionality. From next week, members will be able to upload their available job listings and news updates directly to the site for the BIA team to approve and publish, which will be given better profile across the BIA site. Do please familiarise yourself with the new site, and let us know what you think.

Late last month we saw the publication of the Government commissioned Life Sciences Industrial Strategy, authored by Sir John Bell. It was great testament to the standing of our Association that BIA Chair, Jane Osbourn was asked to introduce Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Business Secretary Greg Clark at its launch at Birmingham’s Institute of Translational Medicine. This significant document ensures continued government focus on our sector as a priority, sets some strategic priorities aligned with our BIA vision, explains the opportunity in the UK for global investors and provides some practical paths for member companies for some of our challenges in financing, access to the NHS.  We’ve produced a handy briefing on the strategy which you can download here.

Alongside the strategy the government also announced a raft of new sector investments, including a £13m funding competition for a medicines manufacturing centre, a £66m investment in a vaccines development and manufacturing centre, a £30m investment in cell and gene therapy treatment centres, a £12m cell and gene therapy investment in Stevenage and £25m to support SMEs and boost innovation. It’s encouraging to see that the government is moving proactively to support the future of UK bioscience by investing in the necessary facilities and infrastructure for the sector to continue to flourish.

The BIA will continue to actively engage with government to ensure that this strategy is implemented effectively, with plans to translate it into a sector deal this year, and I’m confident that with the publication of the LSIS, the UK is moving further along the path to becoming the third global cluster for Life Sciences.

What’s more the author of the strategy, Professor Sir John Bell, will be the keynote speaker at this year’s UK Bioscience Forum on Thursday the 12th of October. I look forward to seeing you there.

On Brexit, I’ve been encouraged by the latest UK government Brexit proposition paper on ‘Collaboration on science and innovation’ which recognises in no uncertain terms just how valuable scientific collaboration between the UK and the EU has been, and how important it is that this relationship is not only preserved, but built upon going forward. The next logical & crucial step would be to secure the continued mobility of UK and EU scientists, as this is key to maximising the future health, well-being, and economic prosperity of Europe.

I’m looking forward to seeing over 100 of you at our Oxford Networking lunch on Thursday and finally, I’d like to congratulate The Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst on their 5th birthday! They’ve released a review - ‘Five Years of Innovation with Impact’, which you can find here. Our Manufacturing committee are meeting there this week and it has become a key Bioscience location in a few short years.