CEO Update|Monday 18 November 2019

It’s great to see that Vertex, the manufacturer of life-changing drugs for patients with cystic fibrosis, has struck a deal with the Welsh Government, giving patients access to Orkambi and Symkevi. This means that NHS patients across the whole of the UK can now benefit from these life-saving drugs. In the last few months access has been agreed in Scotland, Northern Ireland, England, and now Wales. These announcements highlight that the NHS is committed to innovation and being at the cutting edge of medicinal products. Read a summary of  five deals between companies and NHS England this year here.

Excellent funding news for the North of England this week, as The Northern Health Science Alliance (NHSA) and MedCity have been awarded £4.5m from Research England to scale up activities to promote UK life sciences. This new partnership, which will cover a population of 34 million, brings together leading universities, NHS teaching trusts, and Academic Health Science Networks, to improve the visibility of UK life sciences expertise on an international stage. Target markets for developing partnerships on research collaboration, knowledge exchange, clinical trials and technical co-operation include Japan, China, South Korea, Israel and the Commonwealth.

If you are coming along to our bioProcessUK Conference you will have the opportunity to explore the Northern biotech hubs around Liverpool. You will also get the opportunity to join an afternoon tour to some of Liverpool’s leading manufacturing sites.

Avid readers of this blog will know that the BIA is strengthening our global alliances and this week I am looking forward to visiting Shanghai to attend the 6th Biocentury Bayhelix China Healthcare Summit. We have six BIA members presenting at the UK and Global Biotech Tracks and we will continue to help our members reap the benefits of this international collaboration.

Out this week –  the latest report from The Scale Up Institute. The five-year review highlights significant progress, with an increasing number of scaleups in the UK and more capital for them to grow, but it is also clear that there is much more to be done. We have worked with The ScaleUp Institute from the very beginning and look forward to continuing with their journey.

Closer to home, both the General Election and Brexit deadline stay on our radar. If you haven’t already, I recommend reading our Biotech Manifesto, which we hope to see reflected in the party manifestos in the coming weeks. One for your calendar, this Friday 22 November, we will be hosting the latest of our Brexit Briefing Webinars, be sure to sign up here.

Excitement continues to build for our bioProcessUK Conference which is taking place later this month. Huge congratulations to Sharon Grimster of ReNeuron and Dr Sarah Goulding of the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN), who will be awarded the prestigious Peter Dunnill award and Richard Wilson impact award respectively at the conference. I look forward to seeing you all there. 




Steve Bates

Chief Executive Officer


Since his appointment as Chief Executive of the BioIndustry Association in 2012, Steve has led major BIA campaigns for, amongst other things, improved access to finance, the refilling of the Biomedical Catalyst, anti-microbial resistance and the opportunity the sector presents to generalist long term investors. Steve champions the adaptive pathway approach to the licensing of new drugs, the need for Early Access and is particularly proud of the working relationship the BIA has established with the UK’s leading medical research charities.

A founder member of United Life Sciences, a strategic partnership representing over 1000 life science and healthcare member companies across the UK and internationally, Steve attends the UK’s Ministerial Industry Strategy Group, and sits on The Royal Society's Science, Industry and Translation Committee.

Beyond the UK Steve is a member of EuropaBio’s Board and its National Association Council and is a founder member of the International Confederation of Biotech Associations. An expert and regular commentator on the sector in the media and at industry-leading conferences Steve has worked both in biotech (as Senior Director at Genzyme UK and Ireland) and at the highest levels of UK government (as Special Advisor to John Reid, MP, during his time in Tony Blair’s government) for over 15 years. Steve was awarded the OBE in January 2017.