Guest Blog | The Versus Arthritis charity partnership with the Bioindustry Association

In 2019, the Bioindustry Association (BIA) announced Versus Arthritis would be their 2020 charity of the year.

The aim of our partnership was to develop a strategic relationship with BIA and the life science industry.

Our aim was to spread awareness, promote musculoskeletal research, build relationships to help develop improvements for people with arthritis and raise funds for vital research.

What have we achieved?

We’ve taken part in a variety of activities which have involved promoting our ground-breaking research on pain, our drug discovery work and the importance of working with patients to gain insight. 

As an organisation we are passionate about raising awareness and doing more to help people with arthritis.

Sharing experiences and overcoming challenges

At the BIA’s annual gala dinner, one of our Patient Insight Partners, Jane Taylor, shared her experiences of living with arthritis.

The gala raised over £22,000 for Versus Arthritis and allowed us to connect with leaders from across the bioindustry, raising awareness and funds for the research we lead and the support services we provide to help do more for people with arthritis.

The coronavirus pandemic was an unprecedented challenge. However, we successfully adapted and delivered a series of virtual events.

Our Director of Research, Stephen Simpson, joined representatives from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) to share how the pandemic had affected Versus Arthritis and how we’ve worked in collaboration to adapt. Watch the webinar here.

Why does insight and feedback matter?

In October, we led a panel at BIA’s Bioscience Forum on ‘Why working with research charities is good for your bottom line’.

Our Director of Research, Stephen Simpson, was joined by Lisa Broad from Eli Lilly, Will Dixon from the University of Manchester and Helen Crampin from Innovate UK.

The panellists discussed their experience with cross-sector collaboration, highlighting the considerable insight that charities typically hold, as we amplify the voices and experiences of people with arthritis, ensuring services, research and products meet their needs.

Following this panel, our research engagement team led a webinar on our development of patient and public involvement in collaboration with the Centre for Epidemiology at the University of Manchester.  Watch the webinar.

Research changes lives

 In December, we were involved in BIA’s bioProcessUK conference. Frances Borrer, one of our patient insight partners, spoke on a panel about the impact that medical research had had on her ability to manage rheumatoid arthritis.

Frances’ inspiring presentation titled ‘I’m a Believer’ focused on her experience of being diagnosed as a young woman and how anti-TNF changed her life.

Learning more together

We’ve loved working with BIA this last year and have appreciated their support as we’ve adapted our plans due to COVID-19.

BIA have generously provided us with a platform to share our work and knowledge and to raise awareness of arthritis.

As we look ahead to the future, we’re excited to continue working with BIA and the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC).

Our aim is to bring research charities and BIA’s members closer together in 2021 and we’re looking forward to continuing to work in partnership to keep people with arthritis at the centre of our research, do more to develop of better drugs and treatments and promote the latest self-management advice.