CEO Update|Monday 09 December 2019

Last week I visited the Bristol Haematology and Oncology Centre, a specialist non-surgical treatment centre for people with cancer, and for people who do not have cancer but require specialist radiotherapy or haematology services. I was given a tour of the hospital facilities and spoke to staff about how they find working in such an innovative workspace. I then visited the NHS Blood and Transplant facility in Filton, home to the largest blood processing facility in Europe and it was fascinating talking to people on the ground and hearing the opportunities that they see in this space.

I finished my tour with a visit to member company eXmoor pharma concepts at the University of West England innovation campus, they are a technical and strategic consultancy in biopharmaceuticals, secondary pharmaceuticals and cell & gene therapies. eXmoor has been a great supporter of our BIA MAC Leadership Programme and you can find their testimonial on the benefits of being involved in the programme on our website.

Staying on the visits theme, I attended the BioCentury and Bayhelix China Healthcare Summit in Shanghai a few weeks ago and was also able to see the exciting developments taking place at the Wuxi I-campus. You can read a more comprehensive blog on what I did in China here.

I am delighted to announce that Versus Arthritis will be the BIA’s Charity Partnership of the Year for 2020.

Versus Arthritis works both to develop treatments and to provide support to those with the condition. Health charities are a key component of the UK’s life sciences innovation ecosystem; their research is driven by patient insight and also provides deep scientific and clinical disease expertise that UK SMEs can learn from and partner with.

I look forward to celebrating the official launch of our partnership at our Gala Dinner. If you’d like to find out more on what this partnership entails please visit our website.

I was delighted that BIA Chair, Dr Jane Osbourn OBE received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Scrip Awards 2019. Jane is a true trailblazer and has made an enormous contribution to our sector and I’m delighted that her work was recognised.

It was also great to see Mogrify receive the MSD’s Innovation Award. Mogrify, which specialises in cell therapy, has developed an exciting bit of tech which makes it possible to transform any human cell type into any other, without going through a pluripotent stem cell or progenitor cell state. This could be used to develop new cell therapies to address a range of conditions.

The 2019 Scrip awards was a hugely successful night for a number of our members. It was great to see LifeArc, CRUK, Takeda and AstraZeneca, receiving awards.

Staying on BIA member success, Congenica and Cambridge Cancer Genomics were named as one of the ‘Top 10 AI in Healthcare Start-ups’. Artificial intelligence (AI) is incredibly prominent right now in our sector and both these brilliant companies are at the forefront of the innovative benefits AI can provide.

Now for the thing that is on most people’s mind – the General Election. The UK will go to the polls this Thursday and we will wait to see who forms the next Government; if the result is a hung Parliament this might take a while longer.

Due to this, there will be no Newscast next Monday, instead we will be sending it out later in the week when we will have more of an idea of what our new Government is going to look like.  Whoever forms the next Government, Brexit and the impending deadline of January 31 for the Withdrawal Agreement to be ratified will be at the top of any Prime Minister’s to-do list. Please come along to our BIA/ABPI Brexit Lead Network webinar on 17 December to find out more.


Steve Bates

Chief Executive Officer


Steve Bates has been the CEO of the UK Bioindustry Association since 2012. He currently chairs the International Council of Biotech Associations and has been a Board member of Europabio since 2015. Steve is the visible face of the vibrant UK life sciences industry to government and media. He sits on the UK’s Life Sciences Council and Life Sciences Industrial Strategy Implementation Board. Steve has championed with government effective industrial incentives like the Biomedical Cataylst which have crowded-in private sector investment into UK SMES. He has forged links for the sector across the USA, Europe and in China. In his time at the BIA Steve has developed new member groups focused on cell and gene therapy, genomics and engineered biology. A strong advocate of partnership working, Steve champions sector collaboration with research charities and academia. Proud to lead an organisation with a diverse Board with over 40% female representation, Steve is committed to next generation talent and developing the skills needed for the sector to flourish. Before the BIA, Steve worked for Genzyme and as an advisor to the UK Government of Tony Blair. He was made OBE for services to innovation in 2017.