CEO Update | Wednesday 23 January 2019
I look forward to welcoming the BIA community to our Gala dinner tomorrow evening. It’s the biggest night of the year in the UK biosciences calendar, with close to 700 delegates from across the sector getting together for great food, networking and dancing. We’ll be joined on the night by several VIPs, including Simon Harriss who will speak on behalf of our Charity of the Year for 2019, Action Medical Research. Simon will tell us about his daughter Lily, who was diagnosed with the rare disease BPAN when she was just 5 years old. We will also be joined by new Health Minister Nicola Blackwood as well as hearing from NHS England Chief Executive Simon Stevens. Ahead of the big event we’ll be publishing our annual finance report, Confident capital: backing UK biotech, which will provide a really positive backdrop to the evening. The report will be launched at our Strategic Technologies Event tomorrow before the Gala Dinner - be sure to keep up with the action on Twitter where we are @BIA_UK.
Brexit rolls on at Westminster. Our latest Brexit webinar – from last Friday is already a little out of date (the Boles amendment has morphed into an Yvette Cooper one for Westminster anoraks) but its still a great summary of prospects for a deal and provides detail on the no-deal planning specific to and vital for our sector. I’ll provide a fuller update on Statutory Instruments and their impact in coming weeks – especially once it becomes clearer next week if there is appetite in the UK Parliament to vote positively for any form of Brexit, or agree to rule out no-deal, or seek a delay!
One important development for our sector is that the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) is conducting a ‘deep-dive’ survey to understand in more detail the number of clinical trials that might be impacted by any possible disruption to clinical trial supplies in a no-deal Brexit scenario. Letters sent to clinical trial sponsors last week include a link to the online survey and a list of trials for which they are the sponsor. All information received will assist the DHSC’s planning for the UK leaving the EU. The email may have gone to the wrong email address so it may be worth checking by email with the Department at IMP@DHSC.gov.uk for queries regarding continuity of clinical trial supplies.
The deadline is fast approaching for our early-stage entrepreneurs’ workshop, PULSE, which runs 18 - 20 March 2019. Applications are open until 15 February. The workshop will be held at the Francis Crick Institute with sessions run by experienced life science professionals and seasoned entrepreneurs. There is space for 25 up-and-coming life science entrepreneurs to participate. They will come from different stages of early-stage research commercialisation to pre-seed investment from around the country. If you are looking for help, advice or pitching practice for your entrepreneurial journey, apply now through the website. The workshop is completely free to all delegates. We thank our kind supporters; Horizon, LifeArc, Johnson & Johnson Innovation and MedImmune. This scheme complements other BIA activity to increase networking, community and through career development like the BIA Manufacturing Advisory Committee LeaP programme, the 2019 cohort of which kicked off last week at BIA HQ. We had a massive oversubscription so two parallel programmes will run this year, resulting in a total of over 40 next generation leaders being developed currently through LeaP.
Finally if you aren’t coming to the Gala dinner (and especially if you are ) do take time to discover more about our charity partner this year, Action Medical Research. They have a mission to fund the very best research into childhood diseases and we’re delighted to be able to support them. The silent auction which will conclude at the Galas Dinner is now open so please click here to register and view the lots. Goodies available in the auction include artwork signed by British artist Tracey Emin and print works by Salvador Dali. With our latest technology you don’t have to be in the room to bid, so please make a few moments to support a wonderful cause.
I look forward to seeing many of you tomorrow.